Black Jack Pershing: Love and War

The award-winning documentary “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” tells the story of World War I General John J. Pershing’s life and the personal tragedy so painful Pershing could never speak of it.

Black Jack Pershing: Love and War – is an important, dynamic, entertaining documentary featuring a man and his life which was pivotal to America’s successful campaigns during World War 1. The story and history as developed by Barney McCoy adds to our understanding of American history accurately and poignantly, and exemplifies the power of filmmaking.  -Ron Hull, Nebraska Public Broadcasting

When America entered WWI in April of 1917 its military was hardly prepared for war. There were roughly 220,000 U.S. soldiers and officers. America’s troops initially lacked the training needed to effectively fight a veteran German army that used modern warfare tactics.

US Infantry In The Argonne Forest
In the fall of 1918, more than a million U.S troops fought German forces in the deciding WWI battle of the Meuse-Argonne in France. Photo: National Archives and Records Administration.

Germany’s high-powered artillery, poison gas, machine guns, fortified defensive positions and fighter planes exacted a heavy toll on U.S. troops. The Americans fought German troops with French, British, Canadian, Australian and other allied forces in deadly combat along 400 miles that comprised the Western Front.

General John J. Pershing was appointed by President Woodrow Wilson to command the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe. His nickname was “Black Jack.”

Commanding U.S. troops against overwhelming odds would be the greatest challenge of Pershing’s military career. Twenty months after America joined the fight, Pershing and two million troops helped turn the battle tide. Germany was forced to surrender on November 11, 1918.

Pershing June 1917 Library of France
General John J. Pershing arrived in France and is greeted by French Army officers in June of 1917. Photo: Library of France.

Black Jack_ John Pershing LW2018 (Promo) from CoJMC on Vimeo.

All rights reserved, 2017 Painted Rock Productions, LLC  

PershingLoveandWar@gmail.com

 

On the road with “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War”

The “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” tour’s next stop will be Monday at 7 p.m. at York College in York, Nebraska.

I will share the documentary discussion with friend and Pershing historian Tim McNeese. Tim is an associate professor at York College, has authored more than 100 history books, and is one of the experts I interviewed in my Pershing documentary.

Sidney Nebraska Hornicek72dpiSaturday, I had the pleasure of screening my documentary for residents in Sidney, Nebraska where I was graciously hosted by Humanities Nebraska and the Cheyenne County Visitors Committee.

Afterward, I met the granddaughter of Nebraska WWI veteran John Hornicek who shared with me some WWI photos of her late grandfather. He was one of the 2-million U.S. military personnel who served in Europe during the war.

Hornicek served in France as a medic for the U.S. Army during the Great War. He later specialized in treating several American, French and British allied soldiers at a hospital in Paris who were exposed to chemical weapons the Germans introduced and used widely in the war. You can see Hornicek’s military dog tag in the upper right corner of the photo above.

On my way back from screening my documentary in Sidney I stopped by Fort McPherson National Cemetery and paid my respects to several graves of soldiers who served under Pershing in WWI.

Fort McPherson Cemetery Nebraska 72dpiThe cemetery rests in the gently rolling hills south of Maxwell, Nebraska on the former site of Fort McPherson, a U.S. Army facility established in 1863 to protect the settlers who moved west across the state on the Oregon Trail.

The military abandoned the fort in 1880, leaving behind this plot of 20 acres which was dedicated as a national cemetery in 1873.

Today, the national cemetery is the final resting place for soldiers who fought in the Indian Wars, the Civil War, World Wars I and II, and more recent conflicts.

Some of those buried here served under “Black Jack “Pershing’ in the Indian Wars and WWI.

Hope you’ll join us Monday night in York to learn more about America’s historic efforts under General Pershing’s command during the Great War.

Click here to learn more about future screening dates and places for “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” and to learn how to schedule a screening of the documentary in your town.

PBS, NET and Painted Rock Productions launch school learning guide for General John “Black Jack” Pershing

Pershing_Learning_Guide_Website
This is a photo of the student learning guide that features interesting tips and background on WWI General John J Pershing. The learning guide was produced by Painted Rock Productions, NET Nebraska and PBS.

Just in time for the 100th anniversary of the World War I armistice. A new online multimedia learning guide for “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” is available for school grades 9-13.

The learning guide is produced by Painted Rock Productions, NET, Nebraska’s PBS and NPR station, and PBS Learning Media.

“The learning guide is a great way, through old films, photographs, voice recordings, and more to learn more about General John J. Pershing and America’s historic role in World War I,” said Barney McCoy, producer of the award-winning documentary “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War.”

The educational website features several multimedia sections that chronicle Pershing’s life-  from his youthful days in post-Civil War Missouri to his command of African American soldiers in the Spanish-American War and ultimately as commander of the American Expeditionary Forces.

Under Pershing’s command of  U.S. troops, America helped turn the Allied battle tide against Germany and helped force an end to WWI in November 1918.

Pershing little girl2
General John J. Pershing visits with a young French girl in France during World War I. Years earlier, Pershing’s three daughters and wife died in a fire at the Presidio in California while Pershing led U.S. troops patrolling Texas’ border with Mexico after reports that revolutionary General Pancho Villa might invade the U.S.  Photo: National Archives and Records Administration

The American soldiers, nicknamed “Doughboys” are credited with helping win the Great War and were welcomed home as true heroes. Pershing was promoted to the rank of six-star general. Many historians consider him one of the American architects of the modern army, with its ability to cross oceans and represent a truly global power.

Pershing never forgot the soldiers who fought and died under him. In the decades after the Great War, he helped create and dedicate several monuments and burial grounds in Europe to honor the tens of thousands of American soldiers who fought and died in combat. To learn more about Pershing and World War I click on this link.  

 

 

Reel Time Film Festival: Black Jack Pershing a finalist

 

Pershing Title BJP_titlegraphic awards 5 2 18

Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” has been named a finalist in the 2018 Reel Time International Online Film Festival.

Reel Time International Online Film Festival judges include the festival’s volunteers, staff, and industry professionals from around the world who selected this year’s finalists. On July 1st, the public will be invited to watch excerpts of the finalists’ videos on the film festival’s YouTube channel and vote for their favorites online.

The Australia-based film festival wants the Reel Time International Online Film Festival to stay true to its name – International and Online. This “means it doesn’t matter where in the world you are, you can view it,” says the festival’s website. “It’s not just about picking finalists and winners – it’s about networking,” and the festival’s mission is to support film finalists in their filmmaking journeys by helping them connect in the film industry.

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” chronicle’s the life of World War I General John J. Pershing. It was directed by Bernard “Barney” McCoy, a professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CoJMC professor of practice Luis Peon-Casanova was the documentary’s primary videographer.

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” is a co-production of Painted Rock Productions and NET, Nebraska’s PBS station. Production support for the documentary was provided by CoJMC, Humanities Nebraska, UNL’s Research Council, Lowell Vestal, Sandra Pershing, and the Hitchcock Foundation.

For more details contact: PershingLoveandWar@gmail.com

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” wins national Sigma Delta Chi Award

SDCAwardPershingLogo

Today, the Society of Professional Journalists announced that Bernard “Barney” McCoy, Luis-Peon Casanova, Paul Pytlowany, and Christine Lesiak are recipients of this year’s national Sigma Delta Chi Award for excellence in journalism for the documentary “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War.”

The Sigma Delta Chi Awards date back to 1932, when the Society first honored individuals for contributions to journalism. The awards recognize the best in professional journalism in categories covering print, radio, television, newsletters, art/graphics, online and research. The Sigma Delta Chi Awards banquet will be held at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on June 8.

Pershing 1921 Lincoln Portrait 200“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” tells the life story of Gen. John J. Pershing whose roots ran deep in 20th century America. He commanded 2 million U.S. troops that helped win World War I and changed the world. America became a global superpower, and Pershing rose to be his nation’s highest-ranking military officer. But hidden beneath Pershing’s iron exterior was a man who endured great personal tragedy and heartbreak.

BarneyMcCoy (HS) 411x480_0 Bernard “Barney” McCoy, producer of the documentary, is a professor of broadcasting in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

Luis 411x480_0 Luis Peon-Casanova, primary videographer on the project, is an assistant professor of practice in broadcasting in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

LesiakChristine 411x480_0 Christina Lesiak, an award-winning story consultant on the project, is an executive producer at NET, Nebraska’s PBS station.

 

PytlowanyPaulHS 411x480_0

Paul Pytlowany, primary video editor on the project, is a senior videographer and production manager at CBS Detroit

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” is a co-production of McCoy’s Painted Rock Productions and NET,  Nebraska’s PBS station. Production support for the documentary was provided by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications. It received funding from Lowell Vestal, Sandra S. Pershing, Humanities Nebraska, University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Research Council, and the Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation.

For more information contact: PershingLoveandWar@gmail.com

All rights reserved. 2017 Painted Rock Productions, LLC 

11 things you probably didn’t know about John J. Pershing

11 things about General John J. Pershing Pershing from CoJMC on Vimeo.

Youngest pershing
A young John Pershing from his childhood days in Laclede, Missouri. Photo: Library of Congress

1. Pershing’s hometown of Laclede, Missouri, was invaded by Confederate bushwhackers just before his 4th birthday. The guerillas were hunting for his father, who flew the Union flag above his general store.

2. Before entering the U.S. Military Academy at West Point in 1882, Pershing taught African-American students at Prairie Mound School in Missouri.

3. In 1885, Pershing was promoted to first lieutenant and became one of the first white officers to command African-American soldiers in the 10th Cavalry. His nickname originated from his command of the segregated regiment but later came to signify his stern demeanor.

pershing-1886-1889-e1522515135132.jpg

4. In 1898, Pershing led 10th Cavalry Buffalo soldiers up San Juan Hill during the Spanish-American War. Pershing’s gallantry in the Battle of San Juan Hill caught the attention of Teddy Roosevelt, who also fought his way up San Juan Hill with his “Rough Riders” regiment. After Roosevelt became president, he promoted Pershing to brigadier general over 800 more senior officers.

Pershing Buffalo_soldiers1 (1)
John Pershing commanded African-American Buffalo Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry in Montana in 1886 and again in the Spanish-American war in the late 1890’s. The bravery and courage shown by the men of the Tenth Cavalry earned them Pershing’s respect and admiration. He often praised the black soldiers to others, an unusual thing to do at the time.

5. For much of the early 1900’s, Pershing served in the Philippines. There he commanded U.S troops in several Moro Rebellion battles involving warring Moro (Muslim) tribes. Before Pershing returned to the United States in 1913, he was military governor of the southern Philippines’ Moro Province.

Composite Philippines
Pershing spent more than a decade commanding U.S. troops against Muslim Moro rebels in the Philippines during the early 20th century. During that time Pershing was promoted to brigadier general and later served as governor of the Philippine’s Moro province.

6. In 1915, Pershing’s wife, Frances, and three daughters perished in a fire at the Presidio in San Francisco. At the time, Pershing was patrolling the Mexican border against a rumored invasion by Mexican Revolutionary General Francisco “Pancho” Villa. Pershing’s son, Warren, was the fire’s only survivor. The boy subsequently was cared for by Pershing’s sisters who lived in Lincoln, thus continuing the general’s connection to Nebraska.

In 1915, Pershing’s wife Frances and the couple’s three daughters, Mary, Ann and Helen, died in a house fire at the Presidio in San Francisco. At the time, General Pershing was stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas.  The Pershing’s 5-year-old son Warren was the fire’s only survivor. John Pershing was so devastated by the tragedy he never spoke publicly about it for the rest of his life. Photo: San Francisco Public Library

7. After World War I, Pershing was promoted to General of the Armies and became the only active-duty six-star general in U.S. history. George Washington also was a six-star general but wasn’t given the promotion until the U.S. bicentennial in 1976.

8. In 1932, Pershing won the Pulitzer Prize for history for his two-volume book set, “My Experiences in the World War. In his acceptance speech, he recognized 1922 Pulitzer Prize winner Willa Cather – who was his mathematics student when he taught at Nebraska.

9. Pershing was a mentor to a generation of U.S. Army generals who led the United States in World War II. They include George S. Patton, Dwight D. Eisenhower, George C. Marshall and Omar Bradley. Pershing Mentor

10. In 1946, at 85, Pershing secretly wed French-Romanian portrait artist Micheline Resco in his Walter Reed Hospital apartment. Resco was 35 years his junior. The couple met in Paris in 1917 when Pershing arrived to command troops and exchanged love letters over 30 years.

RescoMarriage
French artist Micheline Resco was more than 30 years younger than Pershing when the couple first met in 1917. They were secretly married 29 years later about two years before Pershing’s 1948 death.

11. While at Nebraska, Pershing earned a law degree, taught mathematics and formed a crack drill team that later became the nationally known Pershing Rifles. He also taught fencing to future bestselling authors Willa Cather and Dorothy Canfield Fisher.

Pershing 1892 Great Photo at UNL with staff sm

  1. *Thanks to UNL Communications writer Leslie Reed who helped produce this blog post. 

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” honored with Sevareid Award

pershing-bea-and-sevareid-award 2018

Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” has been honored with an Eric Sevareid Award of Merit for documentary excellence by the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association.

The Eric Sevareid Awards are named for the North Dakota-born and University of Minnesota-educated journalist best known for his work as a correspondent for CBS Radio and Television.

Each year, the Midwest Broadcast Journalists Association presents the awards to the best work done by broadcast news operations and journalists working in small, medium and large markets in a six-state region on radio, television and online. The six-state region includes Nebraska, South Dakota, North Dakota, Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin.

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” chronicle’s the life of World War I General John J. Pershing. It was directed by Bernard “Barney” McCoy, a professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CoJMC professor of practice Luis Peon-Casanova was the documentary’s primary videographer.

The Broadcast Education Association also presented the documentary with an Award of Excellence this month at its national convention in Las Vegas, Nevada.

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” is a co-production of Painted Rock Productions and NET, Nebraska’s PBS station. Production support for the documentary was provided by CoJMC, Humanities Nebraska, UNL’s Research Council, Lowell Vestal, Sandra Pershing, and the Hitchcock Foundation.

For more details contact: PershingLoveandWar@gmail.com

 

Black Jack Pershing: Love and War honored with Broadcast Education Association’s Excellence Award

Pershing BEA award

Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” has been honored with an Award of Excellence by judges in the Broadcast Education Association’s Festival of Media Arts documentary division competition. Producer/director Barney McCoy was honored with the award at the BEA’s 2018 convention in Las Vegas, Nevada on Sunday.

Here’s what the BEA judges said:

Judge 1: “This is to me an excellent historical account of the life of General Pershing. It is both factual and personal. To get both a sense of the drive and motivation that made him great and a sense of the person, the source of his values, the loves of his life and the heartbreaks he overcame was a delight. The director has created a valuable document detailing Pershing’s history that is both significantly deep but also approachable.“

Judge 2:Very professionally produced. Good story, very engaging. I enjoyed the entire film.”

Judge 3: “Great introduction, short and straight to the point. Leaving you with the feeling of wanting to learn more about the topic/subject. Amazing Archival footage and pictures with good quality. Narrator’s voice was clear and as a viewer was able to follow and understand and very clearly.”  

BlackJackPremiereScreeningsm
Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” producer/director Bernard “Barney” McCoy is a professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln.

The competitive BEA festival received a record 1,541 entries in 15 competitions this year. BEA is the premier international academic media organization, driving insights, excellence in media production, and career advancement for educators, students, and professionals.

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” chronicle’s the life of World War I General John J. Pershing. It was directed by Bernard “Barney” McCoy, a professor in the College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. CoJMC professor of practice Luis Peon-Casanova was the documentary’s primary videographer.

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War,” is a co-production of Painted Rock Productions and NET, Nebraska’s PBS station. Production support for the documentary was provided by CoJMC, Humanities Nebraska, UNL’s Research Council, Lowell Vestal, Sandra Pershing, and the Hitchcock Foundation.

Screening of John “Black Jack” Pershing, May 17 at UNL Libraries

Pershing 1892 Great Photo at UNL with staff
First Lieutenant John Pershing with officers of the University of Nebraska Cadet Corps in 1892. Photo courtesy of Lincoln Journal Star Archives

The University of Nebraska-Lincoln Libraries Archives & Special Collections invites you to a screening and discussion of the award-winning documentary “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” at 5:30 p.m. on May 17, 2018, in Love Library’s Lentz Room (LS218).

The hour-long documentary tells the story of General John J. Pershing, a Nebraska icon and commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I. 2018 marks the 100th anniversary of WWI’s armistice. Pershing was the only active duty six-star general in U.S. history.

After the screening, the documentary’s producer Barney McCoy will answer questions, discuss Pershing’s important legacy, and his important connection to Nebraska. McCoy, a professor in UNL’s College of Journalism and Mass Communications, spent five years conducting research on the project.

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” is co-produced by Painted Rock Productions and NET, Nebraska’s PBS Station. It received funding from Lowell Vestal, Sandra S. Pershing, Humanities Nebraska, University of Nebraska–Lincoln’s Research Council, and the Gilbert M. and Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation. Production support for the documentary was provided by the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.