Recognizing the Forgotten
Inspired by the heroism of Charles Jackson French, this annual award seeks to recognize individuals in underrepresented populations who have been overlooked in their significant achievements.
Students and community groups are encouraged to articulate and amplify these stories, inspiring scholars to highlight historical figures whose stories have been passed over.
This award extends beyond Creighton’s campus. We welcome all communities to participate and nominate individuals. Do you know someone deserving of the Forgotten Heroes Award?
Charles Jackson French’s Legacy
The Forgotten Heroes project is inspired by the heroism of Petty Officer 1st Class Charles Jackson French.
French saved the lives of his shipmates after their destroyer was sunk near Guadalcanal in September 1942. A Navy mess steward, French swam for several hours through shark-infested waters while towing a lifeboat filled with wounded comrades.
His story was widely told at the time and French, then 22, was called “the hero of the Solomon Islands.”
An African American, French had been recommended by his commander for a Navy Cross, the Navy’s second-highest award for valor. But at a time of prejudice and discrimination in the U.S. military and elsewhere, French received only a letter of commendation.
French’s selfless valor has inspired people for 80 years, but as time has passed too many have forgotten or were not aware of his extraordinary efforts. We hope to bring his heroic story to light.
Forgotten Heroes Nomination Process
Creighton faculty and staff have joined together with community members to elevate individuals who, like French, have engaged in significant or heroic actions, but whose stories have been mostly lost to history due to their marginalized social status. Our aim is to engage students, faculty, staff and our community partners to identify, reveal and ultimately celebrate their stories in a significant way.
Please fill out our nomination form for such heroes. From these submissions, Creighton University will work with history students to engage in further research to develop a more comprehensive submission for consideration of the award.