A movement is gaining steam to recognize a heroic Black sailor from World War II, who towed a raftload of wounded shipmates through shark-infested waters after their ship was sunk in 1942.
Social media posts over the weekend began highlighting the story of Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Jackson French of Foreman, Arkansas, who became a national hero after the destroyer Gregory was sunk Sept. 5, 1942, by Japanese warships near Guadalcanal.
The heroics of PO1 Charles Jackson French can be read in the above linked Military.com article, or read about him in a contemporaneous account as presented in a January 10, 1943 comic strip where, in a rarity for the times, a Sunday page syndicated to white newspapers featured a Black Man as a hero (and identified as “Negro” in the opening title panel):
The Military.com story naturally goes into much greater detail.
Nearly two years later True Comics would again feature a Black hero.
This time the rarity was noted in The Pittsburgh Courier, a Black-owned newspaper.
That 1944 Sunday page featuring Coast Guardsman Charles David is below.
Sam Glankoff was the artist for both Sunday strips.