Official histories of D-Day have long excluded the contributions made by African Americans. Literature professor Alice Mills waded into the past to uncover these forgotten World War II heroes.
William Dabney could barely see the outline of the French coast as his landing vessel made an unsteady approach before dawn on June 6, 1944. A giant, zeppelin-shaped helium balloon hovered over the Allied boat. Strapped to Dabney via a long steel cable, it was designed to dissuade German fighter pilots from strafing the US soldiers who were about to hit Omaha Beach.