House Bill 3642
117th Congress(2021-2022)
Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act
Became Law
Became Law
Became Public Law 117-38 on Aug 25, 2021
Overview
Text
H. R. 3642 (Introduced-in-House)


117th CONGRESS
1st Session
H. R. 3642


To award a Congressional gold medal to the 369th Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters”, in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service during World War I.


IN THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

May 28, 2021

Mr. Suozzi (for himself, Mrs. Beatty, Mr. Espaillat, Ms. Adams, Mr. Aderholt, Mr. Aguilar, Mr. Allred, Mr. Amodei, Mr. Arrington, Mr. Auchincloss, Mrs. Axne, Mr. Babin, Mr. Baird, Mr. Balderson, Mr. Barr, Ms. Barragán, Ms. Bass, Mr. Bera, Mr. Bergman, Ms. Herrera Beutler, Mr. Beyer, Mr. Bishop of Georgia, Mr. Blumenauer, Ms. Bonamici, Mr. Bost, Ms. Bourdeaux, Mr. Bowman, Mr. Brendan F. Boyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Brady, Mr. Brown, Ms. Brownley, Mr. Buck, Mr. Burchett, Ms. Bush, Mrs. Bustos, Mr. Butterfield, Mr. Carbajal, Mr. Cárdenas, Mr. Carson, Mr. Carter of Louisiana, Mr. Cartwright, Mr. Case, Ms. Castor of Florida, Mr. Castro of Texas, Mr. Cawthorn, Ms. Cheney, Ms. Chu, Mr. Cicilline, Ms. Clark of Massachusetts, Ms. Clarke of New York, Mr. Cleaver, Mr. Cline, Mr. Clyburn, Mr. Cohen, Mr. Cole, Mrs. Watson Coleman, Mr. Connolly, Mr. Cooper, Mr. Correa, Mr. Costa, Mr. Courtney, Ms. Craig, Mr. Crist, Mr. Crow, Mr. Cuellar, Ms. Davids of Kansas, Mr. Danny K. Davis of Illinois, Mr. Rodney Davis of Illinois, Ms. Dean, Mr. DeFazio, Ms. DeGette, Ms. DeLauro, Ms. DelBene, Mr. Delgado, Mrs. Demings, Mr. DeSaulnier, Mr. Deutch, Mrs. Dingell, Mr. Doggett, Mr. Michael F. Doyle of Pennsylvania, Mr. Duncan, Mr. Dunn, Ms. Escobar, Ms. Eshoo, Mr. Estes, Mr. Evans, Mr. Feenstra, Mr. Ferguson, Mr. Fitzpatrick, Mr. Fleischmann, Mrs. Fletcher, Mr. Foster, Mr. Fortenberry, Ms. Lois Frankel of Florida, Mr. Gallego, Mr. Gallagher, Mr. Garamendi, Mr. Garbarino, Mr. García of Illinois, Ms. Garcia of Texas, Mr. Golden, Mr. Gimenez, Mr. Gohmert, Mr. Gomez, Mr. Gonzalez of Ohio, Mr. Vicente Gonzalez of Texas, Miss González-Colón, Mr. Gosar, Mr. Gottheimer, Ms. Granger, Mr. Green of Texas, Mr. Grijalva, Mr. Grothman, Mr. Guest, Mr. Hagedorn, Mr. Harder of California, Mrs. Hartzler, Mrs. Hayes, Ms. Herrell, Mr. Higgins of New York, Mr. Himes, Mr. Hill, Mrs. Hinson, Mr. Horsford, Mr. Hudson, Mr. Huffman, Mr. Huizenga, Mr. Issa, Ms. Jackson Lee, Mr. Jacobs of New York, Ms. Jacobs of California, Ms. Jayapal, Mr. Jeffries, Mr. Johnson of Ohio, Mr. Johnson of South Dakota, Mr. Johnson of Georgia, Mr. Jones, Mr. Jordan, Mr. Joyce of Ohio, Mr. Kahele, Ms. Kaptur, Mr. Katko, Mr. Keating, Mr. Keller, Mr. Kelly of Pennsylvania, Ms. Kelly of Illinois, Mr. Kelly of Mississippi, Mr. Khanna, Mr. Kildee, Mr. Kilmer, Mr. Kim of New Jersey, Mrs. Kim of California, Mr. Kind, Mr. Krishnamoorthi, Ms. Kuster, Mr. LaHood, Mr. Lamb, Mr. LaMalfa, Mr. Lamborn, Mr. Langevin, Mr. Larsen of Washington, Mr. Larson of Connecticut, Mr. Latta, Mrs. Lawrence, Mr. Lawson of Florida, Ms. Lee of California, Mrs. Lee of Nevada, Mrs. Lesko, Mr. Levin of Michigan, Mr. Levin of California, Mr. Lieu, Ms. Lofgren, Mr. Lowenthal, Mr. Lucas, Mrs. Luria, Mr. Lynch, Mr. Malinowski, Ms. Malliotakis, Mrs. Carolyn B. Maloney of New York, Mr. Sean Patrick Maloney of New York, Mr. Mann, Ms. Manning, Mr. Mast, Ms. Matsui, Mrs. McBath, Mr. McCaul, Ms. McCollum, Mr. McEachin, Mr. McGovern, Mr. McKinley, Mrs. Rodgers of Washington, Mr. McNerney, Mr. Meeks, Ms. Meng, Mr. Meuser, Mrs. Miller of Illinois, Mrs. Miller-Meeks, Mr. Moolenaar, Ms. Moore of Wisconsin, Mr. Moore of Alabama, Mr. Morelle, Mr. Moulton, Mr. Mrvan, Mr. Mullin, Mr. Murphy of North Carolina, Mr. Nadler, Mr. Neal, Mr. Neguse, Mr. Nehls, Mr. Newhouse, Ms. Newman, Mr. Norcross, Ms. Norton, Mr. Norman, Mr. O'Halleran, Mr. Pallone, Mr. Palazzo, Mr. Palmer, Mr. Panetta, Mr. Pascrell, Mr. Payne, Mr. Perlmutter, Mr. Peters, Mr. Pfluger, Mr. Phillips, Ms. Pingree, Ms. Plaskett, Mr. Pocan, Ms. Porter, Mr. Posey, Ms. Pressley, Mr. Price of North Carolina, Mr. Quigley, Mr. Raskin, Mr. Reed, Miss Rice of New York, Mr. Rice of South Carolina, Ms. Blunt Rochester, Mr. Rogers of Kentucky, Ms. Ross, Ms. Roybal-Allard, Mr. Ruiz, Mr. Ryan, Ms. Sánchez, Mr. Sarbanes, Ms. Scanlon, Ms. Schakowsky, Mr. Schiff, Mr. Schneider, Mr. Schrader, Ms. Schrier, Mr. Scott of Virginia, Mr. David Scott of Georgia, Ms. Sewell, Mr. Sherman, Ms. Sherrill, Mr. Sires, Ms. Slotkin, Mr. Smith of Washington, Mr. Smith of Missouri, Mr. Smucker, Mr. Soto, Ms. Spanberger, Mrs. Spartz, Ms. Speier, Mr. Stanton, Ms. Stefanik, Ms. Stevens, Ms. Strickland, Mr. Swalwell, Mr. Takano, Ms. Tenney, Mr. Thompson of Mississippi, Mr. Thompson of Pennsylvania, Mr. Thompson of California, Ms. Titus, Mr. Tonko, Mr. Torres of New York, Mrs. Trahan, Mr. Trone, Mr. Turner, Mr. Upton, Mr. Van Drew, Mr. Vargas, Mr. Veasey, Mr. Vela, Ms. Velázquez, Mr. Walberg, Ms. Wasserman Schultz, Ms. Waters, Mr. Welch, Mr. Weber of Texas, Mr. Wenstrup, Mr. Westerman, Ms. Wild, Ms. Williams of Georgia, Mr. Yarmuth, Mr. Young, and Mr. Zeldin) introduced the following bill; which was referred to the Committee on Financial Services, and in addition to the Committee on House Administration, for a period to be subsequently determined by the Speaker, in each case for consideration of such provisions as fall within the jurisdiction of the committee concerned


A BILL

To award a Congressional gold medal to the 369th Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters”, in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service during World War I.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,

SECTION 1. Short title.

This Act may be cited as the “Harlem Hellfighters Congressional Gold Medal Act”.

SEC. 2. Findings.

Congress finds the following:

(1) When the United States officially entered World War I in April 1917, the Armed Forces were still segregated, even though African-American soldiers had served and distinguished themselves in every war since the Revolutionary War, and even the Colonial Wars preceding the American Revolution.

(2) After several years of advocacy and debate, in 1916 the State of New York authorized the recruitment of the 15th New York National Guard Regiment, which was called to Federal service on July 25, 1917, soon after arriving for training at Camp Whitman, New York.

(3) The 15th completed its basic military practice training at Camp Whitman, New York.

(4) To receive combat training, the 15th reported, on October 8, 1917, to Camp Wadsworth, in Spartanburg, South Carolina, where it experienced many incidents of racial discrimination.

(5) Consequently, the government agreed to remove the 15th from Camp Wadsworth, but, instead of receiving further training, the regiment began preparing for deployment to France in November.

(6) The 15th arrived in Saint Nazaire, France, on January 1, 1918, where it was redesignated the 369th Infantry Regiment.

(7) Partly because many White soldiers within the American Expeditionary Forces (hereinafter, the “AEF”) refused to perform combat duty with Black soldiers, members of the 369th were initially assigned manual labor tasks, such as loading and unloading supplies, and constructing roads and railroads.

(8) After receiving pressure from the 369th regimental commander about not having a combat mission, the AEF attached the 369th to the French Fourth Army.

(9) By mid-March of 1918, the 369th went to the Argonne Forest with the French 16th Division for training and soon entered the trenches.

(10) The 369th encountered its first German soldiers in combat in April, 1918.

(11) In May of 1918, Private Henry Johnson of the 369th received the French Croix de Guerre, with Palm, for extraordinary valor, becoming one of the first American soldiers to be awarded this honor.

(12) Johnson also belatedly received a Purple Heart, was awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and in, 2015, was awarded the Medal of Honor.

(13) Throughout the remainder of the spring and into the summer the 369th served at Minacourt, in the Champagne-Marne Defensive, and during the Aisne-Marne Offensive in support of the French 161st Infantry Division.

(14) As summer turned to autumn, the 369th went on to participate in the Meuse-Argonne offensive, where it captured the important village of Sechault despite sustaining severe losses.

(15) On October 14, 1918, the 369th advanced to Alsace.

(16) On November 20, 1918, the 369th reached the banks of the Rhine River as part of the French Army of Occupation, the first Allied unit to do so.

(17) The 369th was relieved of its assignment with the French 161st Division in December, 1918, and elements of the regiment sailed for New York in late January and early February, 1919.

(18) The 369th Infantry Regiment received a parade up 5th Avenue in New York City on February 17, 1919, receiving applause and cheers from hundreds of thousands of onlookers.

(19) The 369th was demobilized on February 28, 1919.

(20) Over 170 individual members of the 369th received the Croix de Guerre, many were awarded the Distinguished Service Cross, and the 369th was awarded a unit citation.

(21) It is generally believed that the 369th was dubbed the “Harlem Hellfighters” by German soldiers, who found the men to be incredibly determined and courageous in battle.

(22) The 369th was the first regiment of African Americans to deploy overseas during World War I and spent 191 days on the front line in World War I, more than any other American regimental sized unit.

(23) The 369th never lost a foot of ground nor had a man taken prisoner, despite suffering a high number of casualties.

SEC. 3. Congressional gold medal.

(a) Award authorized.—The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate arrangements for the award, on behalf of the Congress, of a single gold medal of appropriate design to the 369th Infantry Regiment, commonly known as the “Harlem Hellfighters”, in recognition of their bravery and outstanding service during World War I.

(b) Design and striking.—For the purposes of the award referred to in subsection (a), the Secretary of the Treasury shall strike the gold medal with suitable emblems, devices, and inscriptions, to be determined by the Secretary.

(c) Smithsonian Institution.—

(1) IN GENERAL.—Following the award of the gold medal under subsection (a), the gold medal shall be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be displayed as appropriate and made available for research.

(2) SENSE OF CONGRESS.—It is the sense of Congress that the Smithsonian Institution should make the gold medal received under this Act available for display elsewhere, particularly at other locations and events associated with the Harlem Hellfighters.

SEC. 4. Duplicate medals.

Under such regulations as the Secretary of the Treasury may prescribe, the Secretary may strike and sell duplicates in bronze of the gold medal struck under section 3(b), at a price sufficient to cover the costs of the medals, including labor, materials, dies, use of machinery, and overhead expenses.

SEC. 5. Status of medals.

Medals struck pursuant to this Act are national medals for purposes of chapter 51 of title 31, United States Code.