BISHOP HONORS MONTFORD POINT MARINES
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) attended a Congressional Gold Medal ceremony at the United States Capitol Visitor Center honoring the Montford Point Marines – the first African-Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. The ceremony comes after Congressman Bishop cosponsored a resolution last year to award the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States, to the Montford Point Marines for their service during World War II.
“I am pleased that the Montford Point Marines are finally being honored not only for defending our nation in a time of war but also for helping to pioneer a movement toward equal opportunity and respect for universal human rights,” said Congressman Bishop. “Their enduring perseverance and the love that they had for our country helped them prove to the world that when given an opportunity, people can overcome any challenge and achieve any goal.”
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a presidential directive allowing African Americans to be recruited into the Marine Corps. These recruits were trained at a segregated compound known as Montford Point, a facility at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Approximately 20,000 African Americans served in the Marine Corps during World War II.
In July 1948, President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981 abolishing segregation in the U.S. Armed Forces and in September 1949, Montford Point was deactivated, ending seven years of segregation. The camp was later renamed Camp Johnson after Sgt. Maj. Gilbert "Hashmark" Johnson, one of the first African Americans to join the Corps. Of the nearly 400 Montford Point Marines attending today’s ceremony at the Capitol Visitor Center, twenty of the honorees are from Georgia.
Please click here to view some pictures from today’s event.