ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10) – On Saturday, Dr. Brenda J. Robinson, a nurse, and community activist of Albany was the recipient of the 5th Annual Henry Johnson Award for distinguished community service presented by Mayor Sheehan, veterans of the 369th Infantry Regiment and a diverse audience at the City’s riverfront.

Dr. Robinson has worked tirelessly and selflessly to protect health care workers, the general public, and underserved communities, during the COVID pandemic.

“Eliminating health disparities and social injustices cannot be done without strong advocacy, accountability, transparency, partnerships—and putting in the necessary work,” Dr. Robinson said. 

The award was given at the City’s riverfront Jazz Festival while the 369th Regiment Band played, credited with bringing jazz to the European continent when Sgt. Johnson served during WWI.

Dr. Robinson was awarded a Plaque with a Proclamation, and the Sgt. Henry Johnson Commemorative Medal.

 “I am deeply honored by this award, and I share the honor with all the frontline workers who have stood shoulder to shoulder in the most difficult of circumstances,” Dr. Robinson said. “To make us all, especially the underserved, safe during this once-in-a-lifetime pandemic.” 

On June 5, 1917, Albany resident Henry Johnson enlisted in the U.S. Arm during racial segregation and refusal to allow African American soldiers to participate in combat. The members of the 369th Infantry Regiment known as the Harlem Hellfighters fought under the French.

In May of 1918, Johnson heroically fought off single-handedly a German raid in hand-to-hand combat, saving the life of a fellow soldier. He was awarded the Croix de Guerre, the first American to receive France’s highest award for valor.