House Passes Resolution Honoring Montford Point Marines
Washington, D.C. – Today, Congressman Sanford D. Bishop, Jr. (GA-02) joined a bipartisan majority of his colleagues in the U.S. House of Representatives in voting in favor of H.R. 2447, a resolution he cosponsored honoring the Montford Point Marines – the first African-Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. The resolution awards the Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States, to the Montford Point Marines for their service during World War II. The resolution was approved by a 422 to 0 vote.
In 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt established a presidential directive allowing African-Americans to be recruited into the Marine Corps. These African-American 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. 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.
“The Montford Point Marines did not just defend our nation in a time of war; through their courageous acts they helped to spearhead a movement where the goals of achieving equal opportunity and respect for universal human rights are now more intricately woven into our society,” said Congressman Bishop. “These Marines gave our nation a gift that extends beyond their heroic war service. In being their very best, both on and off the battlefield, they helped to change perspectives and broaden peoples’ horizons. They showed the entire world that when given an opportunity, people can meet any challenge and achieve any goal.”