Filmmaker Julie Dash and Black Hollywood Education and Resource Center (BHERC) have obtained the rights to One Woman’s Army, a book, which tells the little known story of Major Charity Adams, World War II’s highest-ranking African-American woman. Adams headed the 6888th Postal Battalion’s nearly one thousand women, who moved mountains of mail for millions of American service members and civilians in Europe during the war.
This venture marks BHERC’s first foray into film production. Since 1996 the organization has annually honored black filmmakers, hosting four major short film festivals; Sistas Doin’ For Themselves, Reel Black Men, Festival at Sea and The African-American Film Marketplace and S.E. Manly Short Film Showcase. BHERC is also known for the First Weekend Club, which promotes black films and encouraging black filmgoers nationwide to support films the first week they are released. In 2005, responding to the devastation of gang violence in the inner city, BHERC commissioned five filmmakers to use their talent to effect change. The organization funded and produced short films on combating gang activity, resulting in “The BHERC Fights Back with Film Media Project.”
Dash will direct and produce the One Woman’s Army project in association with producers Kimberly Ogletree and BHERC’s John Forbes. They plan to make an 8-hour
mini-series, which is inspired by Adams’ book with a teleplay by Dash.
The story will begin with the 6888th’s deployment, which was made possible by Mary McLeod Bethune, educator and civil rights activist in alliance with Eleanor Roosevelt, former First Lady of the United States. In the tradition of Band of Brothers, the story will follow three women, who boarded the war ship in New York Harbor and made the dangerous crossing over the Atlantic Ocean during the height of WWII. Arriving in Birmingham, England, in the dead of winter, they found letters sent to American troops stacked to the ceiling in a frigid railroad station and an even colder military warehouse. Much of the frosty mail had been there for as long as two years waiting to be sent to soldiers in the field. While rodents and other vermin are feasting on boxes of home baked cookies, the women of the 6888th were charged with clearing, sorting and delivering the mail. To accomplish this Herculean task they were forced to work three shifts, seven days a week.
First working in England, the 6888th later moved to Rouen, France. Although their mission was to booster the moral of American troops by delivering letters from home, their work abroad was shrouded in secrecy. Because they were black, and they were women, they had to
sleep in segregated barracks, and ate in segregated dining halls. Nevertheless, they made history by successfully delivering mail to over seven million American stations in Europe.
Dash first came to prominence in 1991 when her film, Daughters of the Dust, was selected to by the Sundance Film Festival for the "From the Collection" series and earned the Excellence in Cinematography Award. Over the years she has directed noted TV movies, including the highly acclaimed The Rosa Parks Story, starring Angela Bassett, as well as Love Song, Incognito and Funny Valentines, starring Alfre Woodard, CCH Pounder and Loretta Devine.
The Black Hollywood Education & Resource Center, a non-profit, public benefit organization, is designed to advocate, educate, research, develop and preserve the history and future of blacks in the film and television industries.