Jeremy Maxwell, PhD, presents Montford Point Marines
Though largely understudied within the context of WWII history, the experiences of the Montford Point Marines—an all-black unit of Marines who trained at Montford Point Camp in Jacksonville, North Carolina—provide many lessons for us today. Trained at a segregated camp, these men knocked open the doors that had barred them from the Marine Corps since 1798. Although they gained entry again in 1942, their service was always designed to be segregated from white Marines. Approximately 20,000 African American men trained at Montford Point and were later sent to the war in coastal defense battalions and ammunition companies. Those in the latter group fought beside white Marines during the harrowing battles on Iwo Jima and Okinawa, beginning the unintended process of integration. Some of the Montford Point Marines later fought in Korea as part of the integrated 1st Marine Division, and in the US Marine Corps that was sent to fight in Vietnam.
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