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North East premiere for WW2 hidden heroes’ documentary

10th May 2019

A documentary telling the remarkable story of the only World War Two all-female African American unit to serve overseas, will have its North East premiere next week.

Hosted by Northumbria University’s Institute of Humanities, in collaboration with the Embassy of the United States of America and Lincoln Penny Films, this is the first time the film, The Six Triple Eight: No Mail, Low Moral, has been screened in the region.

It tells the story of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion of the U.S. Women’s Army Corps, who were stationed in Birmingham, England in 1945.

The unit improved morale by clearing a two-year backlog of more than 17 million pieces of correspondence between millions of American military personnel serving in the European theatre and loved ones back home.

In doing so, the 6888th challenged racial and gender stereotypes and contributed to the transformation of the U.S. military following the war.

The screening takes place on Tuesday 14 May and will be followed by a Q&A session with Elizabeth Helm-Frazier, co-producer of the film and herself a veteran, moderated by Brian Ward, Professor in American Studies at Northumbria University.

Professor Ward said: “As a leading centre for American Studies in the UK, with a strong tradition of teaching and research on both African American history and Anglo-American connections, it’s fitting that Northumbria is hosting this event.

“The film also reminds us of important local connections to the Allied war effort. The ‘Skylighters’, the US Army’s 225th AAA Searchlight Battalion, was stationed in Newcastle for 6 months in 1944 as it prepared for the D-Day landings.”

The event runs from 6.30pm to 8pm on Tuesday 14 May, Lipman Building, Room 031, Northumbria University, NE1 8ST.

The event is free but tickets must be booked in advance here. 

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Department of Humanities

Humanities at Northumbria is composed of three subject teams: History, Literature & Creative Writing, and English Language & Linguistics, and is also developing strengths in the fields of American Studies and Heritage Studies.

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