The untold story of Dorie Miller

Naomi Ludlow | Arts & Entertainment Editor

A Hampton University alum released a book dedicated to an African American World War II hero. It is entitled Dorie Miller: Greatness Under Fire. Dante Brizill tells the untold and underrated story of the battleship cook Doris “Dorie” Miller. As a history major and grandson of war veterans, Brizill has always been fascinated by the story of the Pearl Harbor attack.

The story of Miller is just one of many examples of African American heroism during the times of segregation. These people were not recognized for their efforts, and Brizill makes it his duty to educate others about what they have done. His target audience is middle school students but isn’t limited to just that.

“Dorie Miller was a young man, and his story was inspirational. They need to hear about people who are inspirational and who we don’t hear about in school,” Brizill said.

The author hopes to spread the knowledge about this war hero to all people who are unaware of his achievements.

“Dorie Miller was a young man, and his story was inspirational. They need to hear about people who are inspirational and who we don’t hear about in school.”

-Dante Brizill

Many African Americans during this time were not trained in combat but in roles that kept the ship up and running. Miller, for example, was a mess attendant (kitchen worker), but when the West Virginia ship was under attack, he used his instincts to save those aboard. He grabbed an anti-aircraft machine gun and started firing it at Japanese planes.

As a result, he was awarded the Navy Cross, which is the United States’ military second-highest recognition for someone in combat. Miller’s actions were appreciated but not to the highest degree because of his race. This is one of the themes presented in the book.

“Don’t underestimate someone based off the color of the skin. He can do everything that a white sailor was trained,” Brizill said.

There are many untold stories about African American war heroes that Brizill wants to capture in his stories. Brizill plans to make “Greatness Under Fire” a series. A Hampton student is intrigued by the theme of this story.

“It is interesting to see that the author is dedicated to empowering the African American community. We can’t move forward without knowing our past.” Hampton junior Ishani Lee said.

Education, especially history, can have a huge impact on our society. This book will allow the youth to learn things that school systems don’t recognize. Brizill makes sure he spreads African American excellence through his passion for history.


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