Documentary Tells Story of Gen. John J. Pershing

News Release Date: 
October 24, 2017

Documentary Tells Story of Gen. John J. Pershing

LINCOLN, Neb. (Oct. 24, 2017) – The broadcast premiere of “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” coincides with this year’s 99th anniversary of World War I’s armistice.

The documentary, produced and directed by professor Barney McCoy of the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Journalism and Mass Communications, tells the story of General John J. Pershing, commander of the American Expeditionary Forces in World War I and the only active duty six-star general in U.S. history.Gen. John J. Pershing, photo credit Yousuf Karsh

The one-hour program will debut at 9 p.m. CT on Saturday, Nov. 11 on NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations. Pershing commanded 2 million U.S. troops who helped win the Great War and established America as a global superpower. Pershing also had strong Nebraska ties. He was head of UNL’s Military Cadet program in the 1890s, earned a law degree at UNL, and owned a home in Lincoln where his two sisters lived.  

“’Black Jack Pershing: Love and War’ reminds us of the historic lengths Pershing went to serve his country even as he battled deep personal tragedy in his life,” said McCoy, who conducted five years of archival research examining Pershing’s personal papers and interviewed historians and Pershing family members for the documentary. “The project also reveals the extraordinary sacrifices Americans made at home and abroad during the first World War.”

Maria Marron, dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications said, “Barney has put enormous energy and passion into this project, and his deep interest in his subject is clear. He has blended archival footage of the War with still photos, interviews and an excellent narrative to tell the intriguing story of Gen. Pershing and has produced a great documentary.”

There will be a sneak preview and discussion of “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” on Wednesday Nov. 8, at 7 p.m. at the Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center, 313 N. 13th St., Lincoln.

Free tickets for the screening are available at the Ross Box Office beginning Nov. 1. The College of Journalism and Mass Communications at the UNL is hosting the screening.  

In addition to the Nov. 11 premiere, “Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” will also broadcast statewide on NET Sunday, Nov. 12, at 4 p.m. CT and Friday, Nov. 17, at 8 p.m. CT.

Black Jack Pershing: Love and War	Saturday, November 11th at 9pm

“Black Jack Pershing: Love and War” is co-produced by Painted Rock Productions and NET. It received funding from Lowell Vestal, Sandra S. Pershing, Humanities Nebraska, UNL’s Research Council and the Gilbert M. & Martha H. Hitchcock Foundation. Production support for the documentary was provided by the UNL College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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CONTACT: Sandi Karstens, 402-470-6578,

NET, Nebraska’s PBS & NPR Stations

NET is Nebraska's statewide public media service dedicated to creating opportunities for Nebraskans to engage with critical issues, compelling stories and quality entertainment. NET serves each of Nebraska’s 93 counties with 52,560 hours of programming each year on four television and two radio channels, plus online and mobile content. In addition to providing free, high-quality educational programming for children, NET provides programming in the arts, award-winning news and current affairs information and emergency alert services. For more information about NET, visit