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Remembering the end of military segregation

5 Feb 2010 | Lance Cpl. Courtney C. White Marine Corps Air Station Beaufort

Every Marine is taught that the Marine Corps was born in 1775, however, most are not taught that it was not until 1942 that blacks were allowed to train as Marines.

February is Black History Month and is also a time to remember changes made that ended segregation within the military.

The Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. and the Beaufort Tri-Command presents “Preserving the Legacy” of the Montford Point Marines at the Officers’ Club aboard the Air Station, Saturday, to acknowledge the history of black Marines. The event is from 6 p.m. until 1 a.m. The cost for tickets is $45 and dinner is included.

Montford Point, N.C., was the first recruit training camp for black Marines and operated from 1942-1949. Approximately 20,000 blacks earned the title Marine during this time.

President Harry Truman issued an executive order ending segregation in the Armed Forces, July 1948, according to the Montford Point Marine Association Web site,

In September 1949, Montford Point, N.C. was deactivated, ending the seven years of segregation in the military.

“It is important to remember the changes made throughout history so that way, you never forget the sacrifices people before you went through to give us freedom,” said Master Sgt. Alvin Patton, the fuels chief with Headquarters and Headquarters Squadron.

The Montford Point Marines Association, Inc. is open to service members who have served more than 90 days with an honorable discharge and family members of service members.

“We want to be able to reach out to junior Marines and the younger generation as well,” said Elijah Abram, Beaufort chapter 9 president aboard the Air Station. “We take everyone’s opinion into account regardless of rank or age during our meetings. It is important for us to reach out to the public and inform them on what background they came from. Our program is not just for (blacks) but for all service members.”

For more information about the Montford Point Marines Association, Inc., contact Abram at 228-7676, or visit their Web site at