Spike Lee Made a Movie About Buffalo Soldiers—Then Found Out His Relative Was One

In 2008, Spike Lee made a film about American “Buffalo Troopers” in Europe—Black troops of the 92nd Infantry Division concerned in ferocious preventing on the Gothic Line in northern Italy’s Apennine mountains.

What the director (Do the Proper Factor, Malcolm X) didn’t know throughout the making of Miracle at St. Anna was that he had a household connection to the troopers whose story he was telling. Personal Maceo Walker—Lee’s first cousin as soon as eliminated—was killed on February 10, 1945, in preventing close to Cinquale Canal. His stays have been by no means discovered.

The Protection POW/MIA Accounting Company (DPAA) has been reaching out to kin of lacking troopers in hopes of acquiring DNA and different proof that will assist determine the 50 Buffalo Troopers (out of about 700 killed within the struggle) who’re nonetheless unaccounted for. In early 2021, Lee acquired a letter from the military informing him about Walker, the son of Lee’s grandfather’s sister.  Lee was flabbergasted: nobody had informed him about his G.I. relative—and even that his grandfather had siblings. Lee turned out to be Walker’s oldest surviving relative. “I had no thought until I obtained the letter!” Lee mentioned. The DPAA revealed the story in February.

Buffalo Troopers of the 92nd Infantry Division seek for German mines in Italy in April 1945. (Galerie Bilderwelt/Getty Photographs)

The 92nd comprised White senior officers and Black junior officers and enlisted males. When the Pentagon began attempting to determine MIA Buffalo Troopers in 2004, 53 have been unaccounted for. Since then, solely three instances have been closed. Six units of stays are at a DPAA lab at Offutt Air Power Base in Nebraska, awaiting identification. Many of the relaxation are possible buried as unknowns at American Battle Monuments Fee cemeteries in Italy. Walker could also be one.

“To be in Italy, to do that movie, to honor the 92nd Division and be within the space the place this battle happened and my cousin, Maceo A. Walker, died at 20 years outdated, that’s the spirits there,” Lee mentioned. Walker, he added, “reached out to me and mentioned, ‘Spike, I would like you to know I existed, and I would like you to unfold the phrase and let the world know that I existed. I used to be 20 years outdated, enlisted, and died in Italy, World Struggle II, preventing for democracy. The pink, white, and blue.’


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