CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- A Mineral County soldier who was tortured and killed by the Germans during World War II will be remembered during a presentation Wednesday in Charleston.
Piedmont native T.J. Coleman will bring the Aubrey Stewart Project to the Culture Center and the state Capitol Complex at 6 p.m. Wednesday. Coleman has made it his mission to tell the story of Sgt. James Aubrey Stewart, a black soldier who was murdered with 10 others during the Battle of the Bulge.
Stewart, also of Piedmont, was a member of the all-black 333rd Field Artillery Battalion that served in Europe. The unit was overrun during the German surprise attack of Dec. 16, 1944, that came to be known as the Battle of the Bulge.
A Belgian family put up 11 survivors of the unit -- including Stewart -- in a barn in a town called Wereth to hide them from the Germans. But the Germans found out and captured the men.
The Germans beat the black soldiers with rifle butts, stabbed them with bayonets and shot them, then left them to die in a ditch, but the soldiers never told the Germans who had hidden them. The black soldiers came to be known as the Wereth 11.
Their stories were told in a film that debuted on the National Geographic channel in 2011.
Coleman found out about Stewart from a relative in Piedmont. He made a vow to tell Stewart's story and to use the experience to promote racial understanding.
State lawmakers are expected to rename the road between Piedmont and Keyser in Stewart's honor on Thursday.
Reach Rusty Marks at rustyma...@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1215.