director of public affairs for the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
United States of America

Located in the heart of the community at 142nd and Fifth Avenue, the Harlem Armory was built in 1933 for the 369th Regiment because of their outstanding military valor. Known as the "Harlem Hellfighters," the unit owns a special place in American history. During World War I, the 369th Regiment was the first Black Regiment to fight World War I, although under French command due to American segregation policies.

The state plans to undertake an extensive renovation of the dilapidated 216,000-square-foot Art Deco and medieval design armory, including replacing the electrical, plumbing, heating and communication systems. The configuration of the armory will be changed to “accommodate the needs of today’s military,


Retired Maj. Gen. Nathaniel James, head of the 369th Historical Society, the 369th Infantry Regiment, along with 500 other artifacts from the historic unit. The Division of Military and Naval Affair wants to renovate the armory and remove its historical black artifacts.

We are afraid of the permanent loss of these harlem artifacts like what happen to the 69th Regiment Armory on Lexington Avenue between 25th and 26th street during its renovation.“We need our own building. These things are one of a kind,” he added.

James has reached out to Assemblyman Keith Wright and Rep. Charles Rangel, himself a veteran who received a Purple Heart and Bronze Star for his service in the U.S. Army during the Korean War, for help in relocating the artifacts. The group is also writing grant applications to help fund storage and a new home.
“These items belong to Harlem and they belong in Harlem,” James said.

Instead of planning a celebration for the 100th anniversary of the 369th, which was founded in 1916, his group is fighting just to keep the memory of the unit alive.

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The SAVE the 369th REGIMENT Harlem Armory AND MUSEUM ARTIFACTS petition to director of public affairs for the New York Division of Military and Naval Affairs. was written by chy mitchell and is in the category Military at GoPetition.