The First Black Marine and the Marines of Montford Point

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Before the American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, racial segregation was an unfortunate fact of life – even in the U.S. military.  Fearing blacks because they didn’t know what to do with them and believing that accepting blacks into the Marine Corps would somehow result in a definite loss of efficiency,  many Marine officers were against the inclusion of blacks.  But nevertheless,  the government built barracks at Montford Point, a satellite camp in North Carolina now known as Camp Lejeune and on June 1, 1942, enlisted the first black Marine, Howard P. Perry.

First Black Marine

Library of Congress: Howard Perry

According to The Daily Beast, “Howard P. Perry was the face of a long overdue change in how our nation fought its wars. Private Perry was the first African-American Marine recruit in 167 years. The few historians who tell Perry’s story report the same facts. He came from Charlotte, North Carolina, remained a private from 1942 through 1944, and served as a cook in the 3371, 51st Defense Battalion. Then, they pull back the historical camera, telling the broader story of integrating America’s Armed Forces. ”  Read more…

Below Sgt. Todd Hunter tells about the Corps’ first black Marines, and what has come of their sacrifices.

Read the original article The Story of the First Black Marine


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