York, Alvin

York, Alvin (Cullum)

(1887–1964) soldier, popular hero; born in Pall Mall, Tenn. His fundamentalist Christian religion taught him to disapprove of killing and war, but he resolved his doubts after being inducted into the army in 1917. In France on Oct. 8, 1918, York led a small detachment against a German machine gun emplacement; firing his rifle 17 times, he killed 17 of the enemy; out of bullets, he killed 8 more with his pistol; his marksmanship induced 132 Germans to surrender. The greatest American hero of World War I was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor and returned home to a ticker tape parade. He was a founder of the American Legion and Gary Cooper portrayed him in the movie Sergeant York (1941).
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.
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Based in New York, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater fuses popular music, Gospel and jazz with ballet and jazz dance.

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