NEW ORLEANS (September 8, 2015) — The Congressional Black Caucus Veterans Braintrust (CBCVB), an advisory group to members of Congress on issues related to African Americans and veterans affairs, has awarded its 2015 Veterans Braintrust Award to The National WWII Museum in recognition of work on behalf of African American veterans in World War II. Award selection is based on the support of the president and first lady and stems from the Museum’s development of a special exhibit, Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in World War II.
The Veterans Braintrust Award, which honors service to others and contributions to the community, was established by General Colin Powell in 1990 to recognize outstanding national and community commitment to black veterans. Recipients of the award are nominated by past winners and by members of the CBCVB committee. Allene Carter, daughter-in-law of Medal of Honor recipient Sgt. Edward Carter, Jr., nominated Fighting for the Right to Fight for the honor.
Fighting for the Right to Fight, which opened on July 4, 2015, features artifacts, photographs, oral histories and associated educational programming to highlight some of the extraordinary achievements and challenges of African Americans during World War II. The exhibit also explores how the war became a major catalyst in the twentieth century for African Americans seeking comprehensive social change. Artifacts, video pieces and other features illustrate how hopes for securing equality inspired many to enlist, the discouraging reality of segregated non-combat roles for to black recruits and the continuing fight for “Double Victory” that laid the groundwork for the modern Civil Rights Movement.
A national advisory committee of scholars who have studied the African American experience during the war played a key role in developing the exhibit’s content, which includes a video on the famed Tuskegee Airmen.
On September 18, 2015, a Museum representative will accept the Veterans Braintrust Award during a ceremony and gala reception at the Cannon House Office Building located on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. The award will be presented by U.S. Congressional Representative Corrine Brown (3rd District, Florida), who co-chairs the CBCVB. The event will follow the organization’s national homeless forum at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center.
The Museum reached several milestones this year—including celebrating its 15th anniversary in June—and expansion continues at the institution’s six-acre campus in New Orleans. The newest exhibition hall, Road to Tokyo: Pacific Theater Galleries, is slated to open in December, retracing American forces’ tumultuous journey from Pearl Harbor to Tokyo Bay. Galleries will explore the evolving strategy for fighting relentless Japanese forces as it examines cultural differences, logistical challenges and the staggering range of extreme environmental conditions that confronted American troops in Asia.
Fighting for the Right to Fight is on display at the Museum through May 30, 2016. Following Memorial Day 2016, the exhibit will go on a two-year national tour, expanding access and educational opportunities across the country—part of a robust exhibit touring program sponsored by the New Orleans-based national Museum and its partners.
The National WWII Museum tells the story of the American experience in the war that changed the world—why it was fought, how it was won, and what it means today. Dedicated in 2000 as The National D-Day Museum and now designated by Congress as America's National WWII Museum, it celebrates the American Spirit, teamwork, optimism, courage, and sacrifice of the men and women who served on the battlefront and the Home Front. For more information, call 877-813-3329 or 504-528-1944 or visit nationalww2museum.org. Follow us on Twitter at WWIImuseum or on Facebook.