Being Gene Bullard
ANNETTE TELLS TALES A Black American Teen Exits Jim Crow Georgia for an Alternate Universe in Which He Can Be Himself. And What a Self.
Dave Garroway (L) and Eugene Bullard (R) on The Today Show, 1959. Photo: US Air Force.
NBC TV, December 22, 1959: Today Show host Dave Garroway could hardly believe his luck. Here was a great story, and it had been right under his nose in the form of the little man who operated one of the elevators he took each day to work at NBC in New York. Show producers had noticed all the medals the elevator operator wore, and someone had finally taken the time to listen to his stories, and ask questions.
Now, Gene Bullard, originally from Columbus, GA, was telling his amazing story (part of it, anyway) to an astonished national audience. It wasn’t the first time he had told anyone. But it was the first time he had been heard by so many of his fellow Americans.
Two months before his interview on NBC, in an event that drew almost no attention, Eugene Bullard received his fifteenth decoration from the French government, on his 64th birthday, at a ceremony in New York. The French consul pinned a medal to him marking Bullard a chevalier (knight) of the Legion of Honor. In attendance, among others, was Bullard’s old friend Charles Boyer, the famous movie actor.
Moved by the ceremony, Eugene Bullard remarked, “I have served France as best I could. France taught me the true meaning of liberty, equality, and fraternity. My services to France can never repay all I owe her.”
A few months after his appearance on TV, which led to hundreds of letters to NBC expressing excited appreciation, Eugene Bullard, in an unrelated event, was in the Honor Guard who received General and Mme. Charles De Gaulle on an official visit to New York in 1960. General De Gaulle recognized and warmly embraced NBC's elevator operator.
Nobody noticed Gene Bullard at this event either, except the photographer and reporter for the New York Amsterdam News, a Black-owned newspaper for a Black audience. Even the newspaper, although proud, and happy to report on the Black Frenchman from Columbus, Georgia, always seemed a bit mystified about the significance of Eugene Bullard.
Preface: Mrs. Connell Is Ahead of Her Time, 1960
Louise Fox Connell, a white woman, author and member of a Unitarian Church in New York, was introduced to Eugene Bullard, and wanted to help him write his memoir. She had long been active with organizations that fought anti-semitism and racism, including the NAACP. As well as searching for a ghost writer, she volunteered to serve as Gene's editor. She paid for a typist for the project. Then she spent the next decade trying to find a publisher for Eugene Bullard's story. And she explicitly refused to be paid for any of her work, “now or at any future time.”
One day, Louise Connell sent the Amsterdam News clip about the Legion of Honor ceremony to Eleanor Roosevelt. In turn, Mrs. Roosevelt wrote about Eugene Bullard in her column, My Day.
So I'm going to tell you that Eugene Bullard's story was soon published, and made into a major motion picture, right?
After the Roosevelt column and the NBC appearance, Connell sent a press release about Bullard's life, and his impending honor as a member of the Honor Guard for General De Gaulle. Only the Amsterdam News paid any attention, as usual. A writer whom Connell was trying to interest in working on Bullard’s memoir mocked her for the “Gawd-awful publicity release”, adding, “I can’t believe much of it, especially the color guard.”
But Eugene Bullard's story was true.
Why Eugene Bullard never became an American celebrity is a story about racism, of course, but it's also about timing, and a story about arrogant, boring, closed-minded, and elitist gatekeepers who couldn't get their heads around the extraordinary story of someone who was working class and didn't rise through Establishment channels, and the modesty and determination of Louise Connell.
I don’t think Louise Fox Connell would have wanted me to center her, even for a moment, in a story about the remarkable Eugene Bullard. But tough. Like another white woman who worked for racial justice, Virginia Durr (who once chucked in the bin a letter from President Lyndon Baines Johnson praising her huge role in supporting civil rights), Louise was interested in accomplishing change, not in grabbing credit.
But we should know about Louise Connell. Seek out the quiet people, the helpers. Don't let the blowhards take all the credit for everything.
A New Story Gets Told! Again.
Lots of people have written short pieces about Eugene Bullard. Most of them are about his service in World War I, so he tends to be seen as a curiosity. But there's so much more to his story, and his importance. That’s why I am writing about him at Non-Boring History, even though his story is far better known than most of those I feature.
I'm basing this post on historian Craig Lloyd’s superb 20 year old biography, Eugene Bullard: Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris (University of Georgia, 2000), which, despite the inadequate title, really brings out why we should be interested in Gene Bullard.
Bullard's ability to transcend racism began with leaving the United States, and emphasizes, as historian Craig Lloyd writes, “what American Blacks have always known, but whites have often denied or forgotten.”
Lloyd is referring to an understanding that slavery, racism and segregation, 300 years of Black Americans being gaslit to believe in their own inferiority, have taken their toll. But, as he shows us, it's amazing to see what happens when someone like Eugene Bullard is liberated from the weight of that horrific history.
In Europe, Eugene Bullard could live fully because he was free to be himself, a statement that may surprise you in these strange times. A Black American free to be himself in early 20th century Europe? Perhaps you’re skeptical. But ask yourself: On what is your skepticism based? Knowledge? Or “common sense” assumptions?
In the absence of decent history education in 2021, quite honestly, a lot of people (across the political spectrum) are making stuff up about the past, and sometimes causing great harm.
The job of history must be confronting all our lazy assumptions with mind-blowing fact.
I think you’ll find Gene’s story pretty mind-blowing.
So. It is long past time in this post to retell the story of Eugene Bullard, to put him front and center, just as his friend Mrs. Carroll would have wished.
The Adventure Begins
The kid with the 3rd grade education (at best) had had enough. His mother was dead. His father had survived an attempted lynching, but whipped his son to humble him, to save him from becoming the kind of mouthy, independent Black man who drew the hostile attention of violent whites.
The Bullard home, a crowded little shotgun house in Columbus, a little town in southwest Georgia, in the Jim Crow era of segregation, humiliation, fear, and lynching, would have depressed anyone.
Somehow, Gene Bullard, his father's seventh child, had the confidence one day to walk away and look for a better life.
He was eleven years old.
Gene immediately discovered that he was the sort of person people liked. He would never unwillingly be alone again. He was the sort of person who never met a stranger.
Traveling through Georgia, the appealing and chatty kid found a string of Black families who jumped at the chance to support and encourage him. One woman gave him a dollar for the journey. Another, a lovely old lady on a train, offered him a home, and the opportunity to go to a Black college in Atlanta. But, while he enjoyed the attention from a string of parent figures, and was grateful to them all, Gene Bullard kept moving.
He fell in with a group of other restless spirits he met in Georgia. They were English gypsies, the Stanleys, who had come to sample life in America. The Stanleys took Gene under their wing. They taught him how to work with horses, giving him marketable skills, and intrigued the lad with their insistence that he would find England a much more congenial place for a Black person to live. He filed away this advice.
Against all the odds, Gene Bullard had the kind of natural confidence and ambition that most people only dream of. He left the Stanleys and took a series of jobs working with horses. But he was still in Georgia. And finally, after a clash with a white guy that he thought might lead to his being lynched, Gene Bullard realized he was done with the American South.
Still in his teens, he exited Georgia’s story, so he could truly create his own.
The day Eugene Bullard fled home was the day he had started to live.
And boy, did he live.
Young Gene Bullard, after qualifying as a pilot in France. Photo: Public Domain.
From Stowaway to Celebrity
Two years before the First World War began, Gene Bullard stowed away on a ship that took him to Aberdeen, Scotland. Within a single day, despite being a total stranger, he had identified Glasgow as a place of opportunity, and got himself on a train headed to the city.
In Glasgow, despite the impenetrable local dialect, Gene immediately figured out that, although Scots cheerfully referred to him as a “darky", there was no malice in the term at all: It was, to them, a descriptive word.
To Gene's joy, in this almost entirely white nation in 1912, he discovered that, here, racism just wasn't the issue it had been his whole life. This was a revelation.
“Within twenty-four hours,” he later wrote, “I was born into a new world.”
Gene, chatty and friendly, fit right in with the working-class folk he met in Glasgow's streets. They were delighted to give the American aid and advice. They showed him where to get good food, cheap. They helped him find cheap, clean lodgings. They suggested he become a street performer (he filed that advice away, too, but he wasn't ready for that yet) Instead, he found work as a lookout for men gambling on the street, who paid him to keep a vigilant eye for the police.
In the evenings, Gene took night classes to catch up his education.
These classes would have been an impossible dream in Columbus, Georgia. But Gene Bullard had arrived at a time when things were looking up for working-class people in Scotland, and that included adult education.
Scotland could not, however, satisfy Eugene Bullard's ambition. By the end of the year, he had taken a train to Liverpool. Again, he found a boardinghouse, and a job, this time a union job as a dockworker, but he found the work grueling, so he quit to work transporting fish on a wagon. It was okay, but didn't give him enough time for personal development.
And then, at an amusement park in nearby Birkenhead, Gene saw an opportunity. He watched customers pay to chuck soft balls at a man sticking his face through canvas. Gene argued with the stallholder that his face, his dark skin, would add novelty to the game. He was hired.
If this seems demeaning to us, know that Eugene Bullard would have laughed at our delicacy. The job was his idea. He didn't care, not in this place where he was free from constant racist attacks. The amusement park job paid well, and it allowed him to make a living by only working weekends.
Gene spent the rest of the week taking boxing lessons. He won his first match, and was immediately spotted by Aaron Brown, a famous African-American boxer who was known as The Dixie Kid. Shortly after, Gene Bullard was on a train headed for London, where Brown would manage his boxing career, and serve as an affable father figure.
Eugene Bullard was definitely not alone as a Black guy in London in 1913. In the years before World War I, thousands of Black Americans were arriving in the metropolis. They were led by artists and athletes, and they were all fed up to the back teeth with racism and violence in America. An epidemic of lynching and racial violence swept the country, and especially the South. In 1913, even the new President of the United States was a white Southerner and rabid racist, obsessed with putting down Black people in every possible way.
England, as it turned out, was a land of opportunity for African Americans in the years before World War I.
Increasingly well-paid working class English people flocked to see Black American entertainers. There was nothing politically correct about their fascination or the shows they went to see, and they fed into racist stereotypes. But, hard though this is to believe, there was very seldom malice in any of it, either. It was exotic entertainment, “something different”, as the Brits say, and the word “stereotypes” had yet to be invented.
There was so much demand for Black American entertainers in the UK, white artistes were “blacking up” and mangling lyrics they didn't understand, like singing Down in Atlanta GAAAAAAA when they were meant to sing “Atlanta, Georgia”.
I see you cringing. But this is my periodic reminder that Edwardian Britain is not what you see in Masterpiece Theater, much less the modern cosmopolitan city you experienced in that one week tour of London.
England is a foreign country, and it was far more foreign in 1913. Look, it’s complicated.
But steel yourself.
Gene Bullard also performed in a slapstick show in London called (I make this not up) Belle Davis’s Freedmen's Pickaninnies.
I'll give you a moment to recover from that.
This show was named, produced and directed by African-American dancer/entrepreneur Belle Davis, who knew what sold in England, and was happy to give the people what they wanted. Her show was aimed at the kinds of working-class English audiences that, a few years later, enjoyed watching my cousin, entertainer Will Fyffe, play a kilted, tightfisted, drunken Scotsman on stage, bringing his audiences every Scottish stereotype he could think of. He had performed Shakespeare, but there was more demand for this, including among Scots. Like Gene Bullard, Will cried all the way to the bank after every performance. Sadly, I am not among those who inherited Will Fyffe’s problematic fortune. But if you guys pay me, I would at least consider slapping on a tartan frock and singing “I Belong to Glasgow”, the Scottish drunk song, which Will Fyffe made famous. Oh, wait. I did actually do that once in Los Angeles. Knowing that it wouldn't make sophisticated L.A. folk treat me with contempt is what made that performance possible. Had the audience been, say, English people who used my performance as an excuse to mock me and other Scots, I would have felt very differently.
Okay, so you're still not impressed. Look, before you call the Woke police, I offer this for your consideration: If anyone yelled racist epithets at Gene Bullard in the street in London, he could have knocked them senseless, and the police would have backed him up. How do I know? That’s exactly what happened when African-American Charles Hart punched a racist in London in 1913.
London in 1913 doesn’t loan itself to a racist/anti-racist dichotomy. In a country where class trumped race, and Black Americans were considered cool, life in London, however laden with stereotypes, was a whole lot more appealing to Gene Bullard than anything the States had to offer. There were no lynch mobs in London.
Race is complicated. It's messy. And tempting though it is to read the past through the present moment, in this place, when we do, we stop trying to understand. Embrace the complication. And for another headspinning story from the period, read this, from The Chicago Crusader, an African-American newspaper, in 2019. There's plenty more where stories like these came from.
In 1913, Gene Bullard traveled to France for a boxing match. He found he liked Paris even more than he liked London. Here, he could be just like everyone else.
So he moved. And learned to speak French.
Did I mention Gene Bullard had a natural ability with languages? He easily picked up French, then German.
Paris, meanwhile, made London look like a racist hellhole.
Bullard later wrote:
From the day I set foot in France. I became aware of the working of a miracle within me … I recaptured for the first time since childhood the sense of being just a human being. I need not try to analyze this change for my colored readers. I was suddenly free.
Corporal Eugene Bullard in French Uniform Photo: Public Domain
A few months after Gene moved to Paris, World War I began.
So, on his 19th birthday, he enlisted in the French Foreign Legion.
By July, 1915, Gene Bullard was a machine gunner at the Battle of the Somme.
He survived that most hellish of battles. But he found it traumatic to watch men lying dead and dying after he shot them. He was a kind and decent young man, who took no pleasure in wounding and killing people.
Meanwhile, Gene's father, back in Columbus, learned of his enlistment (probably in a letter from Gene, because they did get in touch.) He desperately tried to persuade the US State Department to intervene, since his son was under 21. The State Department wouldn't help, and the French wouldn't have cared anyway, since Eugene was, after all, 19, and an adult in France. He was now beyond the reach of Columbus, in every way.
Gene also survived the battle of Verdun. Barely. Taking shelter in a farmhouse, he was badly wounded by a shell that killed several of his comrades. He spent six months recuperating, and left leaning on a cane.
Obviously, he couldn't return to the trenches.
So he volunteered to be an aircraft gunner instead. While hoping to become a pilot.
Awaiting assignment, Gene Bullard hung out in Paris, often with three drinking buddies. One, Moise Kisling, was a Polish painter. The others were Americans: Gilbert White, another artist, and Jeff Dickson, a white guy from Mississippi.
That's right: Gene Bullard drank beers with a white Southern racist. Only possible in Paris, where Jeff Dickson had no real power.
When they were at a cafe one day, Dickson asked Bullard what his plans were, and mocked his answer, which included his ambition to be a pilot. Dickson told Gene that a Black man could never be a pilot. Bullard bet him $2000 he would, and borrowed the money from Moise Kisling and others to make the bet.
Photo: All Blood Runs Red
Eugene Bullard qualified as a pilot. He collected his $2000 winnings from Dickson with much glee. Dickson conceded that he was glad the first Black American fighter pilot was from the South. Which I guess was progress?
A few months after Eugene Bullard got his pilot's license, the United States entered World War I. Of the 200 American volunteers the French had trained as pilots, and offered to the American military, the United States army rejected only one: Eugene Bullard, the only Black pilot.
For his qualifying as a pilot, Gene was featured by white American journalists in Paris’s American newspaper, the New York Herald Tribune.
The only American publication actually in America to mention Gene Bullard's achievement was The Crisis, the NAACP's journal. Even they only gave him a brief mention.
What happened in Paris stayed in Paris.
What happened in America did not stay in America.
As American troops landed in France, including Black troops, the United States Army tried to import Jim Crow with them, urging the French to segregate hotels and restaurants.
And then a white American soldier assaulted Eugene Bullard in the street.
The French press and public were outraged at this treatment of a French war hero.
The US War Department's response? They put Bullard under surveillance, decided that a decorated French African-American war hero hurt white troops’ morale by existing, and tried to persuade the French government to deport him back to the States.
They failed. But still.
You really can't make this stuff up.
An American in Paris
Jazz came to France with a Black military band during World War I, the band of the 15th New York Infantry. Soon, American jazz musicians were making a great living in the clubs of Paris.
Among them? Eugene Bullard. Here he is, playing drums. You'll find him first around 24 seconds in.
Since Gene was fluent in French, he also began making money as an agent for other African-American musicians.
Gene easily found work in a new nightclub called Zelli's, as a drummer, and also in a job he had specially requested, as artistic director, managing the club’s musicians.
Some club patrons foolishly tried to pick fights with the former boxer. Some (white Americans, mostly) hurled racist insults at him. Bullard defended himself with his fists. He was, according to his biographer, embarrassed by Americans who behaved like this, because, as a loyal American, he had downplayed racism in the US to the French.
In 1923, Eugene Bullard married Marcelle Straumann, a white French girl from a wealthy family. Their acquaintances were amazed. How could Marcelle have married beneath her like this? How could she have married this poor American? It wasn't race that the French saw as making this a mixed marriage. It was class.
Around the time Marcelle and Gene's first daughter, Jacqueline, was born in 1924, Gene quit Zelli's and became manager (and later owner) of a nightclub called Le Grand Duc.
He hired Future Famous Poet Langston Hughes as dishwasher and part-time cook. Ernest Hemingway was a patron (and mentions Gene in a novel). Gene's regulars also included Charlie Chaplin, Gloria Swanson, Louis Bromfield (remember him?) and the future King Edward VIII. Josephine Baker sometimes babysat Jacqueline and her sister Lolita.
As the jazz age wound down during the Great Depression, Gene sold Le Grand Duc. But in the early 30s, he still owned a bar in Paris, and a gym, where he taught boxing. In the late 30s, his clients included Fats Waller and Louis Armstrong.
Years before, he had become a French citizen, while retaining his US citizenship.
Now, in 1939, things began to go wrong for Gene, and for his beloved France.
Marcelle and Gene, who now had two daughters, separated. As Catholics (yes, Gene had converted), they never divorced, and remained married until Marcelle's death in 1945. Gene got custody of the girls, who attended a boarding school near Paris.
As war approached, in early 1939, Gene became a spy. No, not on France, but for France. Knowing he spoke fluent German, the French authorities asked him to keep tabs on Germans in his bar and club. So he did.
Farewell to France
When World War II broke out in September, 1939, Gene didn't panic. He left his daughters in school. He kept his bar and gym. He continued his work as a spy. But the Americans who were his customer base were leaving, and in early 1940, he closed his businesses.
When the Germans invaded, Gene, aged 44, didn’t hesitate. Hoping to find and rejoin his old regiment, he grabbed a backpack, and began to make his way across France.
Gene found himself walking among growing crowds of refugees, and he witnessed unspeakable horrors on the way. When he finally tracked down a company of French soldiers in Orleans, he joined them as a machine gunner, and went into battle.
But France was falling. And on the same day that Charles De Gaulle broadcast from London to announce the end of the Battle of France, and the formation of the French Resistance, Gene Bullard was wounded by a German shell.
Gene's commander, worried about the fate of a wounded Black American soldier at the hands of the Nazis, ordered him to flee to Biarritz. There, he spent several desperate days trying to wrangle an American passport from the Consulate: He hadn’t needed a passport in 1912, and had never owned one. Despite Gene's French accent, the officials believed he was American when, in an interview, he easily named the Alabama towns that lay on the other side of the Chattahoochee from Columbus, Georgia.
Finally, US passport in hand, Gene grabbed a lift south into Spain with an American friend, away from the Nazi danger. He was soon off the coast of Portugal, on board the Manhattan, a ship organized by the US government to rescue Americans.
For the first time in nearly thirty years, Eugene Bullard was on his way home.
But he wasn't going back to Georgia. His destination was New York.
The French community in New York immediately came to Gene Bullard's aid. He settled in Harlem, where he was a bit of an outsider. But he found an apartment, and work, and began desperately planning to get his daughters out of occupied France. He took the train to visit his old friend William Bullitt, former U S. Ambassador to France. Bullitt acted quickly, and by February, 1941, Jacqueline and Lolita, neither of whom spoke English, were joyfully reunited with Gene in New York.
There's so much more to his story. How can I possibly contain Eugene Bullard in a post? I can’t.
A Parisian in America
In the years after 1945, Gene mostly led a quiet life in New York. He turned his little apartment into a personal museum for his friends. As a Black man with a 3rd grade education who had bills to pay, and who had lost his Paris fortune, he took whatever jobs came his way.
While I agree he didn’t get the recognition he deserved, I reject the labels “poverty” and “obscurity” that suggest Gene lived a sad, boring, and lonely life in those years. He didn’t. He loved his daughters and grandchildren, and enjoyed their company. He had many friends. And his life had moments of excitement, although not all of them were welcome.
In 1949, Gene traveled to Peekskill, in rural New York State, to attend a concert starring singer Paul Robeson, the most famous Black American entertainer in the world.
Robeson was a political activist, an outspoken anti-racist, who was also a Communist, which was a problem in 1949 in a way it had not been during the Depression.
On this day, a white mob, including veterans, police officers, and their families, awaited the concertgoers.
Among those they attacked was Gene Bullard.
Eugene Bullard assaulted in Peekskill, 1949. Notice his beret lying on the ground, above. Photos: Sources unknown.
Never Forgotten/Always Forgotten
Gene tried to return to France the following year, 1950, staying with friends, hoping to open a new cafe, but his Paris and the rich Americans who had been his customers were gone. He returned to New York. In 1952, he toured Europe with Louis Armstrong, serving as Armstrong's translator, but that was the last time he worked in France.
Eugene Bullard never forgot France. And France never forgot Eugene Bullard. He remained a national hero in one of his countries of citizenship, and a complete unknown in the other.
In 1954, NBC's future elevator operator flew to Paris as a VIP guest of the French government. There, the veteran of two World Wars laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, and relit the eternal flame, as a large audience of Parisians looked on.
Eugene Bullard in Paris as an honored guest of the government of France, laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier.
Once, after his return to the States, Gene visited Columbus, GA. He couldn't recognize his old neighborhood, and he was shocked to find Jim Crow alive and well. He never returned.
In the summer of 1961, eighteen months after his appearance on The Today Show, and shortly after finishing the first draft of his memoir, Gene was diagnosed with cancer. On October 12th, as he lay dying in hospital, Louise Fox Connell visited, and told him his story was typed and edited.
That night, Eugene Bullard died. He was 67 years old.
Hundreds of people, including many French veterans, attended the funeral in New York, and then accompanied Gene's remains in a long procession to the cemetery in New York. To the very end, France was with Eugene Bullard, returning his love in a way that America, and especially white Georgia, never did.
But it’s not too late. Eugene's story is his greatest legacy. His memoir was never published, but historian Craig Lloyd, a New Yorker who taught history at Columbus State University in Georgia, brought it full circle in the late 20th century. Lloyd not only drew on the unpublished memoir to write his splendid book, but researched, documented, fleshed out the context, and showed why Eugene's life story matters. His book is by far the best written about Eugene Bullard. His memoir, like all memoirs, suffers from hazy recollections and exaggeration, and needed support. Unlike others who have used it as a basis for their books on Gene, Lloyd, a historian, has done the detective work to produce a story we can rely on.
A half century after his death, Eugene Bullard continues to hold up a mirror to the lie that is racism.
Freeing himself from the terrorism, gaslighting, and misery of the Jim Crow South, Eugene Bullard fearlessly and joyfully embraced Life in a nation where he could.
Eugene Bullard first came to my attention a few years ago, thanks to Georgia Humanities, via a strange promotional device, left over from the Decatur Book Festival, that they handed me: a combination mask/fan. On the front was a photo of Gene Bullard’s face with eyeholes, so I could pretend to be him, I guess, which seems a tad awkward in 2021. On the back, a potted biography of Gene Bullard, giving (as I recall) basic facts about his Georgia birth, and his military career in France.
Since then, I have learned, he’s been the subject of three books, short documentaries, a stage play in his native Columbus, GA, and a statue at Georgia's Robins Air Force Base marking his being the first African-American fighter pilot, all of which makes him sound like a minor Black History Month fact, rather than a complete and extraordinary person.
He's not nearly as famous as he should be. Trouble is, when it comes to education, nobody really knows what to do with Eugene Bullard. Is he part of American history? Or world history? How does he fit into the history of Georgia and the South? A cosmopolitan figure is also a marginalized person in a world of national histories. Unsurprisingly, like practically everyone and everything interesting, Gene doesn’t appear in the dogs’ dinner that is Georgia curriculum. And his fame should not depend on us changing that.
I only scratch the surface. I warmly recommend this book to you: Craig Lloyd, Eugene Bullard: Black Expatriate in Jazz-Age Paris.
And now, 2021, it is the right time for someone reading this to start the wheels that will turn Eugene’s story into a Major Motion Picture. So we can get the word out, I ask you, my Nonnies (most devoted readers), to share this post, in the hope that it adds to the chorus of voices who, for years, have been trying to make Eugene Bullard a household name, and that word finally reaches the person or people who can make it happen.
Gene would have loved this.