A two-fisted plea for tolerance, told simply, honestly and conscientiously, is the 42-minute documentary, The Negro Soldier, made by the War Department under the supervision of Col Frank Capra. Production was handled by a crew of 14 US Army technicians and Carlton Moss, Negro author, who scripted and plays the leading role of the pastor. Group visited more than 30 camps and reportedly took two years to complete the picture.
Facts are presented about the Negro that are not generally known to the average person. Pertinently, the role of the Negro soldier, from Crispus Attucks, mulatto hero of the Boston Massacre in 1770, to Robert Brooks, first American soldier to die in World War II. The Negro Minute Men at Lexington and Concord during the Revolutionary War – Peter Salem, who fought at Bunker Hill; Prince Whipple, who was with Washington when he crossed the Delaware, and the hundreds of other Negroes who shared the hardships of Valley Forge – are screened vividly.
In dramatic sequence the film tells of the Negro sailors who were with Perry at Lake Erie; soldiers who fought with Stonewall Jackson at New Orleans; and it also dwells on the Mass 54th Regiment of volunteers in the Civil War.
But the main part of The Negro Soldier deals with his activities during the Second World War. An enlisted man is picked up and followed through basic training, additional fundamentals, and through actual combat. These scenes, and those showing Negro WACs in training, drive home the picture’s message harder than anything else caught by the army cameras.