Hellfighter is an American story, 4 generations in the telling. Through the real life story of Needham Roberts, “Hellfighter” weaves a fictionalized story of his son and grandsons’ journey to the town of Needham Massachusetts. It tells the story of one of the country's most decorated military regiments. The 369th Infantry Regiment, formerly known as the 15th New York National Guard Regiment and commonly referred to as the "Harlem Hellfighters", was an infantry regiment of the New York Army National Guard during World War I and World War II. In World War I through the heroism of Henry Johnson and Needham Roberts they gained their iconic name.
Unlike all of the other soldiers in the war, the Hellfighters and all soldiers of color were not just fighting the enemy on the other side of the battle line. They had to contend with the hatred and bigotry of their own government. They were fighting for full acceptance into the American dream.
The play is designed to give perspective on the long and little known struggle of how people of color have had to endure the deep any systemic struggles that have consistently impeded our accent into the American Middle Class.
Military Service and Benefits
Acquisition of Wealth
Housing Access and Quality
Educational Access and Opportunity
Law Enforcement Practices and Policies
Hellfighter paints a landscape that shows how heroism was met by unprecedented amounts of hate on the homefront in the years just after WWI. In every decade of the 20th century there was at least one major moment that conspired to undermine the strides that people of color had made.
For those in the country who do not believe in "systemic racism", this performance is a glimpse of how much you do not know.
It is designed to give the audience a longitudinal view of the struggles African Americans (and others) have faced in their effort to attain the American dream. From military indignity to race massacres. From redlining, to neighborhood segregation and modern-day bigotry; Hellfighter is the story of how one family fought for us all.