Black Panthers: Here’s to the Writers and Film Makers Over the Decades

In response to the many inquiries I have received, yes, Morgan Freeman and Revelations Entertainment optioned my book, The Black Panthers, A Story of Race, War and Courage. The 761st Tank Battalion in World War II – twice. I was told by our entertainment attorney that Mr. Freeman decided to go in a different direction. The resulting documentary on the unit airs Sunday, August 20. I had no part in the production, and one can only speculate on the use of my extensive notes and sources.

A number of us have recounted the story of 761st Tank Battalion on paper and film over several decades. I welcome Mr. Freeman and his work to this special group. The unit’s saga can be told from differing perspectives. While my book is an exacting history based on primary-source material, it is told in a narrative-nonfiction style. It is the story of seizing opportunity, no matter the odds, and triumph. While I believe this is a crucial aspect of their legacy, it is not the only one. That Mr. Freeman in the documentary’s trailer mistakenly refers to the 761st as the first Black tank unit does not detract from the greater story of these men. (It was the second unit, though it was the first Black tank unit in combat. Please note, a rich blend of Black soldiers as well as both Black and white officers formed this uncommon combat battalion.) I hope readers will watch Mr. Freeman’s work unfold. For those who find their interest piqued, I encourage you take a look at the other films and narratives out there – including mine, published by Westholme. As the 761st’s motto stands, Come Out Fighting.

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