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Dorrance Brooks Square

W 136 St To W 137 St, St Nicholas Av, Edgecom Av


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This text is part of Parks’ Historical Signs Project and can be found posted within the park.

This square honors Dorrance Brooks (d. 1918) an African American soldier who died in France shortly before the end of World War I.

A native of Harlem and the son of a Civil War veteran, Brooks was a Private First Class in the 15th New York Infantry. Until 1948 African American soldiers served in segregated divisions, which usually provided only support functions, but the 15th NY Infantry was renamed the 369th United States Infantry and assigned to fight in the French Army’s 161st Division. The black soldiers proved courageous in battle and earned many decorations. Brooks distinguished himself in battle by taking charge of the remnants of his company after the enemy severely reduced their numbers and killed the commanding officers.

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