CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) – General George Washington established the Purple Heart Award to honor those wounded in battle. However, there are some service members who fought valiantly in World War I who have not received their just due more than 100 years later.
Until recently, Sgt. Perry Loyd was one of them.
Loyd’s grandson Perry James, IV, of Mt. Pleasant, never knew his grandfather, but he made a promise to his mother that he would work to get Loyd’s Purple Heart.
James went to the US government asking for his grandfather’s purple heart and was denied twice.
He got Senator Tim Scott’s office involved and eventually the department of the army presented him with Sgt. Perry Lloyd’s purple heart
But why did it take 100 years?
“The African-American combat unit faced systematic racism,” said Perry. “It’s a systematic approach to discredit these men. And so when they got ready to get on board the ship they were stripped of anything on the uniform that would give them a sense of accomplishment.”
Perry’s research led him to write a historical novel about his grandfather called “Sgt. Rawhide: A World War One Combat Hero.”
After hearing of his success, other families of World War One vets began reaching out to James.
On Nov. 7, Mark Edingburgh and his family traveled from Chicago to North Charleston, where they were presented with Purple Heart honors for his grandfather Sgt. Henry Dokes.
Dokes served in France with the 371st Infantry and lost an eye in battle.
James says his work in gaining the Purple Heart for his grandfather has led him to a new mission. A mission of helping other families get the medals and citations that are due to their loved ones and to bring awareness to the 371st Infantry Colored Regiment.
For more information or to contact James he can be reached at [email protected] or 803-351-8111.
Raphael James sits down with Perry W. James, IV, author of Sgt. Rawhide: Apex of the Attacking Salient
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