“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” Thursday, Nov. 8 in San Antonio

San Antonio Pershing

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” makes it’s San Antonio premiere this Thursday,  Nov. 8 in a private screening at the San Antonio Country Club.

Pershing has quite a historic connection with San Antonio. In February 1917, Maj. Gen. John J. Pershing became commander of the American Expeditionary Forces (AEF) with headquarters at Fort Sam Houston in San Antonio. Pershing immediately began preparing Fort Sam Houston for the coming World War I conflict.

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In 1917, while in command at Fort Sam Houston, Pershing rode in a car in the Battle of Flowers Parade for Fiesta. Gen. John J. “Black Jack” Pershing (right) rides with Ayers B.G. Hutchinson and Texas Gov. James E. Ferguson in the 1917 Battle of Flowers Parade. Photo: UTSA Libraries

In addition to his military duties, Pershing advised and assisted San Antonio civilian authorities. He spoke to any audience that invited him and educated them on the proper duties of a citizen in wartime. He supported the drafting of all-bodied men and convinced Texas Governor James Ferguson to argue his case for a draft before the Texas congressional delegation. After notification on May 2, 1917, that he would be in charge of the American Expeditionary Forces in Europe, Pershing left for Washington, D. C.

Two months later Pershing arrived in Europe to command U.S. troops in WWI combat against Germany.

Here’s another enduring Pershing legacy involving San Antonio and Fort Sam  Houston:  ‘Pershing’s Chinese’ leave mark on history, Fort Sam Houston

Pershing Chinese Laborers 2

In the deeper article link above, you’ll read about Pershing’s efforts after WWI to get Congress to pass legislation allowing Chinese laborers who were loyal to America during the Mexican Pancho Villa Punitive Expedition and WWI to remain in the U.S., and later to be able to bring their families to America from China.

Pershing Chinese Laborers 1

Thanks in part to Pershing, San Antonio had the largest Chinese population until the early 1950’s.

My thanks to Phil Bakke for inviting me to screen my documentary in San Antonio.

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