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.
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.