Women of U.S. Army’s only all-black WWII unit highlighted in new documentary

Kaylah Jackson
February 05, 2019 - 1:09 pm

(Photo courtesy of Department of Defense)

The historic story of the U.S. Army’s first and only all-black, all-female WWII unit got a lot of attention last year when a monument at Fort Leavenworth was erected in their honor.  And now, the contributions of these ground breaking women are being told in a new motion picture.

Jim Theres, an Army veteran, and producer of the film “The Hello Girls” (which told the story of the 223 American women sent to France as an integral part of the WWI war effort) was showing his documentary at the 2018 Association of the Army Convention when he was approached about the women of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion.

Related: They served before they could vote: The Hello Girls

The 6888th were a group of over 700 African American women who volunteered to serve in the Army, helping redirect and clear a mail backlog overseas in Europe during WWII. The unit was commanded by Charity Adams Early, the first black women to be an officer in the Women’s Army Auxillary Corps.

“Charity Adams was given the same training, was given the same opportunity and she performed as well as anyone else,” said Theres.

Shortly after the monument dedication ceremony in Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, Theres got to work with the rest of the 6888th committee securing interviews for the film. Edna Cummings, an Army veteran herself, has been working with Theres, vehemently.

(Photo courtesy of National Archives and Records Administration)

Cummings is one of the key producers and says this film is only a point in a long line of goals for the team who is determined to ensure the women of this unit gain recognition for their efforts during WWII.

Related: U.S. Army’s only all-female, African American WWII unit honored with monument

“As a Black female Army officer, I also empathize with Major Charity Adams and had similar experiences, not being saluted, extend military courtesies, people not wanting to work for me, etc.,” said Cummings. “Hopefully now these type of events are the exception and not the norm.”

The team has gone above and beyond to capture multiple voices for the documentary. Just last year, Millie Dunn Veasy, a member of the unit passed away and the production team has been even more diligent in interviewing the last few surviving members of the 6888th for the film.

Related: Member of all-black female WWII battalion dies at 100

Theres says you’ll hear and see “five of the six surviving women who were at the November 30th unveiling and dedication of the monument. They're all 95 or above, doing well, looking great…you’ll hear from Stanley Early, the son of Charity Adams, you’ll hear from Charity herself.”

Watch a teaser trailer of the documentary below:

For Edna Cummings, who spent twenty plus years in the military, working on this project has been special on a personal level.

“It’s been inspirational but very reflective because it puts things in perspective, said Cummings. “If they did it, then I can, whatever it is. Whatever that challenge is, it can be overcome with hard work and a little patience and determination.

The documentary is unique, too, in that the three key producers are all veterans, which Theres' says make telling this history even more special.

"It is an honor to be able to share these stories. Hopefully, people pause a minute and look backward and know there's some additional inspiration to be found and its through stories like this," said Theres.

The documentary is set to premiere this month with additional showings in March:

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