Black Ancestors : Memorial Day: Sankofa

cherryblossom

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Feb 28, 2009
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Pioneering black Marines get their badge of courage

By John Tuohy, The Indianapolis Star
Updated 10/25/2011

Congress voted Tuesday to grant the first black fighters of the last military branch to accept them the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation's highest civilian honor.
  • U.S. Marine Corps, via AP
    Montford Point Marine recruits stand at parade rest in April 1943 in New River, N.C. Nearly 70 years after the Marine Corps accepted segregated black units, the Marine Corps' top general is pushing to honor the history of the Montford Point Marines.
U.S. Marine Corps, via AP
Montford Point Marine recruits stand at parade rest in April 1943 in New River, N.C. Nearly 70 years after the Marine Corps accepted segregated black units, the Marine Corps' top general is pushing to honor the history of the Montford Point Marines.
The 422-0 vote honors about 20,000 Montford Point Marines, who trained in a separate facility called Montford Point that operated at Camp Lejeune, N.C., from 1942 to 1949 when all military branches were segregated.



"This has been a real long time coming," said Johnny C. Washington, 82. "It seems like everything we did for a long time was hidden. It's been real frustrating when you see others get recognition and not us."

While the African-American Army Buffalo Soldiers and the Air Force Tuskegee Airmen have had some measure of renown, the first black Marines have grown old mostly in obscurity.
The Army and Navy had been recruiting blacks since the Civil War. But even when they did join, the Montford Point Marines never achieved officer status and were assigned mostly to ammunition and supply duty.
Some fought at Iwo Jima and went to Japan to clean up the ash after the atomic bomb was dropped over Nagasaki.
Averitte Corley, 84, and Washington said basic training was brutal, their barracks were in ramshackle huts, and the Marines often were kicked and slapped during drills.

"They tried to make us better Marines," Washington said.
Some didn't make it through, Corley said.
"We were the first blacks, and they wanted to make sure you measured up," said Corley, whose platoon included former New York City Mayor David Dinkins...

COMPLETE ARTICLE HERE:
http://www.usatoday.com/news/military/story/2011-10-25/black-marines-medal/50914336/1
 

cherryblossom

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Feb 28, 2009
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Uploaded by juniebb02 on Sep 2, 2011

In a race against time, the largely untold story of the nation's first African-American Marines is, at last, made known through The Marines of Montford Point: Fighting for Freedom. Academy Award-winning actor Louis Gossett Jr. narrates this stirring, hour-long documentary that captures the experiences of the more than 20,000 African Americans trained in segregated facilities between 1942 and 1949 at Montford Point, North Carolina—becoming the first African Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps.

From its inception until 1942, the Marine Corps refused to recruit African Americans, American Indians and other minorities. Franklin D. Roosevelt's creation of the Fair Employment Practices Commission in 1941 forced the Corps, despite objections from its leadership, to begin recruiting African American Marines in 1942. The Marines' first black recruits received basic training at the segregated Montford Point Base, adjacent to Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, and would continue to do so until 1949.

Recruited as a result of America's entry into World War II, all African-American Marines would continue to train at Montford Point well after the War's end. In the decades that followed, thousands who trained at Montford Point saw combat duty in the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War while all the while fighting for civil rights in their homeland.

Combining the experiences of over 60 Montford Point Marines, interviewed over a period of five years, The Marines of Montford Point: Fighting for Freedom delivers the powerful soldier stories from this brave group of men, told with eloquence, dignity, passion and pride. These true tales express anger and humor, sorrow and wisdom, yet reveal a pride fostered by each soldier's incredible accomplishments in the face of adversity. Every story contains timeless words to be heard, words to be pondered, and words that hold deep meaning and significance for American society in the 21st century. The documentary, written and directed by Dr. Melton McLaurin, Professor Emeritus, at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington, was shot and edited by UNC-Wilmington Television.
 

cherryblossom

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Feb 28, 2009
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The Montford Point Marine Association is a nonprofit Veteran organization, established to perpetuate the legacy of the first African Americans who entered the United States Marine Corps from 1942 to 1949 at Montford Point Camp, New River, North Carolina.
Membership in the Association is open to veterans and active members of all branches of the U. S. Armed Forces regardless of race, creed, or national origin.

The purpose of the Association is to support educational assistance, veteran programs, and promotion of community services. The Association works to improve the social conditions of our veterans, local families, youth and the growing population of senior citizens..

continued: http://www.montfordpointmarines.com/
 

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