Europe, James Reese, 1881-1919

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During World War I, Europe enlisted in the armed services as a private, passed an officer's exam and became a lieutenant. As an officer he was assigned to the New York 15th Infantry in Harlem and was told to form a band. On New Year's day, 1918, Europe and the band traveled to France and were assigned combat duty under French command. Europe thus became the first African-American officer to lead combat troops into battle. The New York 15th Infantry was later renamed the 369th Infantry, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters. Europe with introducing a form of music that later became known as jazz.

After World War I ended Europe returned to the U.S. where he died in 1919 after a backstage altercation with Herbert White, (a drummer in his band) who stabbed him in the neck and severed an artery.

From the description of James Reese Europe collection, 1847-1996 (New York Public Library). WorldCat record id: 79408776

During World War I, Europe enlisted in the armed services as a private, passed an officer's exam and became a lieutenant. As an officer he was assigned to the New York 15th Infantry in Harlem and was told to form a band. On New Year's day, 1918, Europe and the band traveled to France and were assigned combat duty under French command. Europe thus became the first African-American officer to lead combat troops into battle. The New York 15th Infantry was later renamed the 369th Infantry, also known as the Harlem Hellfighters. Europe with introducing a form of music that later became known as jazz.

After World War I ended Europe returned to the U.S. where he died in 1919 after a backstage altercation with Herbert White, (a drummer in his band) who stabbed him in the neck and severed an artery.

From the guide to the James Reese Europe collection, 1847-1996, (The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
referencedIn African-American related sheet music and sheet music written by African-Americans, 1851-1974 Stanford University. Department of Special Collections and University Archives
creatorOf James Reese Europe collection, 1847-1996 The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
creatorOf James Reese Europe, Jr. papers The New York Public Library. Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Manuscripts, Archives and Rare Books Division.
referencedIn African American Sheet Music Collection 2002-063, 2002-264., 1879-1940 Dolph Briscoe Center for American History
referencedIn [African American] Jazz Band and Leader Back with [African American] 15th New York. Lieutenant Jame . . . National Archives at College Park
creatorOf Europe, James Reese, 1881-1919. James Reese Europe collection, 1847-1996 New York Public Library System, NYPL
referencedIn Musical composers. African American Sheet Music Collection, 1879-1940 University of Texas Libraries
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith Badger, Reid. person
associatedWith Europe's Society Orchestra. corporateBody
associatedWith Jim Europe's 369th Infantry Band. corporateBody
associatedWith Jim Europe's 369th Infantry Regiment Band. corporateBody
associatedWith Jim Europe's Four Harmony Kings. corporateBody
associatedWith Jim Europe's Singing Serenaders. corporateBody
associatedWith Musical composers person
associatedWith Musical composers person
associatedWith Sissle, Noble, 1889-1975. person
associatedWith United States. Army corporateBody
memberOf United States. Army. Infantry Regiment, 369th corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
New York (State)
United States
Subject
World War, 1914-1918
African American conductors (Music)
African American entertainers
African American musicians
African American musicians
African Americans
African Americans
African American soldiers
Popular music
Popular music
Occupation
Activity

Person

Birth 1881-02-22

Death 1919-05-10

Americans

English

Information

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SNAC ID: 21333995