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The Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines
     

The Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines

4.5 2
by Melton A. McLaurin
 

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With an executive order from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, the United States Marine Corps—the last all-white branch of the U.S. military—was forced to begin recruiting and enlisting African Americans. The first black recruits received basic training at the segregated Camp Montford Point, adjacent to Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, North Carolina.

Overview

With an executive order from President Franklin Roosevelt in 1941, the United States Marine Corps—the last all-white branch of the U.S. military—was forced to begin recruiting and enlisting African Americans. The first black recruits received basic training at the segregated Camp Montford Point, adjacent to Camp Lejeune, near Jacksonville, North Carolina. Between 1942 and 1949 (when the base was closed as a result of President Truman's 1948 order fully desegregating all military forces) more than 20,000 men trained at Montford Point, most of them going on to serve in the Pacific Theatre in World War II as members of support units. This book, in conjunction with the documentary film of the same name, tells the story of these Marines for the first time.

Drawing from interviews with 60 veterans, The Marines of Montford Point relates the experiences of these pioneers in their own words. From their stories, we learn about their reasons for enlisting; their arrival at Montford Point and the training they received there; their lives in a segregated military and in the Jim Crow South; their experiences of combat and service in World War II, Korea, and Vietnam; and their legacy. The Marines speak with flashes of anger and humor, sometimes with sorrow, sometimes with great wisdom, and always with a pride fostered by incredible accomplishment in the face of adversity. This book serves to recognize and to honor the men who desegregated the Marine Corps and loyally served their country in three major wars.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"An important contribution to military and civil rights history. . . . [he Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines] is a set of excerpts [of interviews] which, in Studs Terkel fashion, create an oral history of this group of Marines."
— Durham Sunday Herald-Sun

"Eloquent, unedited stories."
Our State

"A valuable contribution to our understanding of the black military experience in World War II."
North Carolina Historical Review

"Beautifully collected interviews. . . . Anyone interested in any aspect of the civil rights struggle or the history of race relations in the US must read this book. . . . Essential."
CHOICE

"A quick but inspirational read."
Journal of America's Military Past

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780807861769
Publisher:
The University of North Carolina Press
Publication date:
09/01/2009
Edition description:
1
Pages:
216
Sales rank:
146,453
Product dimensions:
6.10(w) x 9.20(h) x 0.60(d)
Lexile:
1840L (what's this?)

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher
A quick but inspirational read.—Journal of America's Military Past

This wonderful collection of personal narratives captures not only the struggle but also the triumph of the Montford Point Marines' quest to become part of our nation's most elite fighting force, despite overwhelming odds. Their voices will be heard through this book, telling their poignant testimonies. I am truly honored to walk in their footsteps.—Colonel Adele Hodges, USMC

An important collection. . . . Opens our eyes to a new range of histories to be explored.—Journal of Southern History

A valuable contribution to our understanding of the black military experience in World War II.—North Carolina Historical Review

Through their own words, we get the true picture of what life was like for these men . . . a gritty and harrowing account. . . . More than a history book . . . a rare treat.—Independent Weekly, Durham, NC

Eloquent, unedited stories.—Our State

An important contribution to military and civil rights history. . . . [The Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines] is a set of excerpts [of interviews] which, in Studs Terkel fashion, create an oral history of this group of Marines.—Durham Sunday Herald-Sun

What emerges beyond question is that these veterans felt themselves to be Americans, and knew themselves to be men, long before they were acknowledged as Marines.—Multicutural Review

Beautifully collected interviews. . . . Anyone interested in any aspect of the civil rights struggle or the history of race relations in the U.S. must read this book. . . . Essential.—Choice

McLaurin adds invaluably to the literature on blacks in the military.—Booklist

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Meet the Author

Melton A. McLaurin is professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. He is author of eight books, including the award-winning Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South.

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Marines of Montford Point: America's First Black Marines 4.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 2 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This is a good book, easy read told by the Marines that experienced this piece of US Marine history.