YC History Department Marks Century Since End of WWI     

The York College History Department will recognize the hundredth anniversary of the end of World War I with several events.

​Students will have the opportunity to learn more about the historic conflict on Friday November 9, as Dr. Tim McNeese, professor of history at York College will present a brief lecture on life in the trenches and details of the war. This event will be held during the college’s daily chapel program from 10-10:30 a.m. in the Campbell Student Activity Center (corner of 10th and Mayhew). While the main audience is college students, the event is open to all.


On Sunday, November 11, the official 100th anniversary of the end of the war, McNeese will be the speaker at the York Legion's annual Veterans Day Slum Feed, held at the National Guard Armory at noon. McNeese will present on General John J. Pershing to the gathered veterans, auxiliaries, and others.

Later that week there will be a screening of the documentary Black Jack Pershing: Love and War on Thursday, November 15, at 7 p.m. This free event will feature a Q&A session with the film’s producer, Barney McCoy, professor of communication at University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and one of the collaborators on the project, Dr. McNeese. The film will be shown in the Mackey Center Miller Room (second floor).  Additionally, there will be a display of World War I items in Levitt Library on the York College campus from November 2 to November 30. The display will include uniforms, helmets, medals, and other items, on loan from Tony Bestwick of York. 

About Black Jack Pershing: Love and War
Today, Pershing’s name is recognized by few Americans, even in Nebraska where an important part of Pershing’s life unfolded. In 1891, Pershing began a four-year stay at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where he led the cadet training program while attending law school.

McNeese, who has written a book on Pershing, said that when Pershing arrived at UNL he found a cadet training program that was a mess. Within a year, 350 students joined Pershing’s UNL’s cadet corps. And in June of 1892, Pershing’s cadets were put to the test at a national drill competition in Omaha. The packed parade crowd included governors from several states, including Nebraska.

When it was announced that Pershing’s UNL cadets had won their maiden division and national competition, hundreds of UNL students and faculty charged the field to celebrate, and they were led by Chancellor James Canfield.

In 1895, Pershing’s time at UNL came to an end. Fueled by the friendships he formed in Lincoln, Pershing re-committed himself to the military. In honor of their recently departed Lieutenant, UNL’s elite drill team renamed itself “Pershing’s Rifles.” Today units like them across the country are known as the National Society of Pershing Rifles.

McNeese’s book on Pershing was published in 2003. He was approached by Nebraska Educational TV (NET) to lend his expertise on the renowned World War I general for Black Jack Pershing: Love and War in 2015. The program aired on NET in 2017.