When you think of World War II veterans, do Black women come to mind?

Historians say they should. Some 855 Black women were members of a unit known as 6888.

Odessa Taylor was one of them.

What You Need To Know

  • NYC-based historian John Monsky returns on the eve of Veterans Day with "The Eyes of the World: From D-Day to VE Day." In a must-see program for history lovers, Monsky captures the dramatic final 11 months of World War II in Europe

  • This musically driven, multimedia experience tells the story of those who served and sacrificed for our country, including the young men who landed on the beaches of Normandy and the all-Black 761st Tank Battalion

  • Music supervisor Ian Weinberger conducts the Orchestra of St. Luke’s
  • Veterans from all over the country are flying into NYC on the eve of Veteran's Day for this historic event

“Everything about World War II always talks about men, nothing about women. Even Black encyclopedias, they were just omitted,” James Marshall says. “These were young ladies when you see their faces. They did a phenomenal feat.”

Marshall is deeply proud of his mom’s service with the Women Army Corp. They made history as the only Black female unit to serve overseas during World War II.

Marshall will be part of a very special event at Carnegie Hall on November 10, in honor of the nation’s veterans.

“The Eyes Of The World: From D-Day to V-E Day” will be a musically driven, multimedia experience that tells the story of those who served.

And there will be some of star power at the event.

The Orchestra of Saint Luke’s will be conducted by Ian Weinberger, the associate musical director of “Hamilton” on Broadway.

"If i’ve done it correctly, you, the listener, will have something else to latch on to other than just the words and the images. That’s where my theater background comes in,” Weinberger says.

John Monsky is the driving force behind this tenth annual event. 

The  historian has an impressive life-long collection of flags - and he created this  show as  a love letter to those who have protected and defended old glory.

“One day my dad said, ‘I’m going to take you over to meet a real war hero.’ So I dressed up and I met Hal Baumgarten, grew up in the Bronx, right here,” says Monsky. “He was a great baseball player and a Jew, and when he landed on Omaha Beach he took five bullets.”

Monsky is a great storyteller and during the event he will share this and other stories of World War II heroes, who have been left out of history books — like the Black soldiers with the 320th Balloon Battalion who stormed the beaches of Normandy.

"We look a little deeper, so we look for Black Americans, women — where are they in these stories? They’re there, they’ve always been there, but we didn’t always look,” Monsky adds.

“The Eyes of the World” event at Carnegie Hall couldn’t come at a better time; 16 million soldiers served during World War II. It’s estimated that some 245 veterans from that era pass away every day, according to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. 

There are only seven surviving members of the 6888.

Odessa Taylor from St. Louis died in 2017 at the age of 94, but members of the military are trying to get them recognized with a Congressional Gold Medal.

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Patricia Jackson-Kelley is the president of the National Association of Black Military Women and she's also flying into New York from California for the historic event which will honor the 6888 unit.

"I’m so proud of them, first of all, being a woman. I stand on their shoulders." she adds.

"When you look around, there’s a lot of things that Afro-Americans have done that have been erased from history or not recorded for the mere fact that they’re Black,” she says.