All-Black female WWII battalion to be honored


Staff and Wire Reports

LEIMERT PARK — The NAACP-Los Angeles will honor an all-Black female battalion from World War II during a special ceremony and film showing at 4 p.m. Oct. 21 at the Barbara Morrison Performing Arts Center, 4305 Degnan Blvd.

The event is intended to support Congressional Gold Medal legislation, co-sponsored by U.S. Rep. Karen Bass, that would honor the African American Women’s Army Corps Postal Directory Battalion for its bravery and ingenuity during World War II. 

The 1940s battalion, endorsed by then-first lady Eleanor Roosevelt and civil rights leader Mary McLeod Bethune, devised a plan to clear a two-year backlog of mail for Americans stationed in Europe – a vexing problem no other unit had solved. That feat is widely credited with helping America win the war by boosting the sagging morale of communication-starved World War II soldiers. 

 The film “Six Triple Eight” – named after the battalion assigned to the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion – will be screened. Some descendants of battalion members will attend.

For more information, call (213) 446-2053. 

PASADENA — Actor LeVar Burton has been named the grand marshal of the 2022 Rose Parade, with the Tournament of Roses hailing him as not just an accomplished performer, but also an advocate for literacy.

Known mainly for his roles as Kunta Kinte in the miniseries “Roots” and as Lt. Cmdr. Georgi La Forge in “Star Trek: The Next Generation,” the 64-year-old Burton was also the longtime host and executive producer of the award-winning PBS educational series “Reading Rainbow.”

As grand marshal, he will oversee the 133rd Rose Parade, which is themed “Dream. Believe. Achieve.” The parade will make its way along Colorado Boulevard in Pasadena on Jan. 1, following its cancellation this year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Burton said he was “thrilled” to accept the offer to serve as grand marshal.

I come from a family, a home [where] the Tournament of Roses Parade and the Rose Bowl Game to follow has been a part of our family for years and years,” he said.

LOS ANGELES — Longtime Los Angeles County arts administrator Maria Rosario Jackson has been nominated by President Joe Biden as chair of the National Endowment for the Arts, a move that would make her the first Black and Mexican-American woman to be appointed as head of the organization.

The independent federal agency supports research, education and development in the arts and humanities.

Born and raised in South Los Angeles, with a doctorate in urban planning from UCLA and a master’s of public administration from USC, Jackson’s career brings arts-based strategies to urban and community planning, systems change and equity advocacy, according to the Los Angeles County Arts Commission.

Jackson has led and advised philanthropic, government and nonprofit organizations on local, state and federal levels. President Barack Obama appointed her to the National Council on the Arts in 2013.

She serves on boards at LA Commons and The Music Center, and was an inaugural co-chair of LA County’s Cultural Equity and Inclusion Initiative Advisory Committee.

LOS ANGELES — Jacqueline Stewart, a film scholar, Turner Classic Movies host and chief programming officer at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures, who works to ensure “that the contributions of overlooked Black filmmakers and communities of spectators have a place in the public imagination,” has been named a MacArthur Fellow by the MacArthur Foundation.

“As we emerge from the shadows of the past two years, this class of 25 Fellows helps us reimagine what’s possible,” Cecilia Conrad, director of the Fellows program at the MacArthur Foundation, said in a statement. “They demonstrate that creativity has no boundaries. It happens in all fields of endeavor, among the relatively young and more seasoned, in Iowa and Puerto Rico.

The recipients each receive a $625,000, no-strings-attached award, which is intended as an investment in their creativity and potential rather than a lifetime achievement prize.
According to the MacArthur Foundation, the fellowship program “is intended to encourage people of outstanding talent to pursue their own creative, intellectual, and professional inclinations.”