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HOUSTON – A group of Prairie View A&M band members will be in New York this Memorial Day weekend, taking part in the 369th Experience.

“The 369th Experience comes from the 369th Regiment of African American and Puerto Rican soldiers that fought in World War I,” said Jacob-Paul Tatum, one of the band members.

During World War I, the soldiers of the New York Army National Guard’s 369th U.S. Infantry Regiment were also known as the “Harlem Hellfighters.” Due to racial policies of the times, the 369th wasn’t allowed to fight alongside American troops, but were placed with French forces.

The 369th were known not just for talent on the battlefield, but as a regimental military band. The soldiers helped bring American jazz music to Europe.

Students from Historically Black Colleges and Universities from around the country were selected to create a reenactment-band that will perform this weekend aboard the USS Intrepid Museum.