On December 12, 1917, the famous 369th Colored Infantry Regiment of Harlem — known as the Harlem Hellfighters — set sail for Europe from Hoboken, New Jersey.

Manhattan Casino

Manhattan Casino interior.

They were heading into battle in World War I.  Many would never return.

Prior to embarking, the regiment was given a farewell party at the Manhattan Casino hosted by A’Lelia Walker — heiress to Madam C.J. Walker’s beauty products fortune — and James Weldon Johnson.

The Manhattan Casino, a large ballroom across the street from the Polo Grounds in upper Harlem, was also the destination of choice for music, dancing, and black basketball.