History has largely overlooked the trailblazers who were the first Black men to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, the Montford Point Marines, named after the segregated section of Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina, where they trained. On AUG. 26, on the 80th anniversary of when the first Montford Point Marines set foot on the Marine base, ABC Owned Television Stations debuted the trailer of “Our America: Mission Montford Point.”
The documentary special will debut on ABC Owned Stations 24/7 streaming platforms, 32 connected TV apps across streaming platforms Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Android TV, Roku and Hulu beginning Sept. 20.
Chronicling the history of the Montford Point Marines, the one-hour special also highlights the dedicated individuals locating these Marines and their descendants in an effort to honor them with the Congressional Gold Medal the men collectively earned in 2012. Presently, an estimated 2,000 men have received the medal, leaving approximately 18,000 who are still due the honor.
“The legacy of the Montford Point Marines has been a largely hidden story and it is our responsibility to amplify the voices of these heroes while attempting to right a historic wrong,” said ABC Owned Television Stations Race & Culture executive producer Porsha Grant. “We hope this news special will encourage the audience to not only embrace the Marines’ contributions but also to be inspired by the strength it took to serve and love a nation that did not always love them back.”
The U.S. Marine Corps was the last of the armed forces to allow Black men to join. Still, the men came from far and wide and enlisted while staring down racism and discrimination. Housing conditions and treatment were harsh, but the Montford Point Marines persevered. Thousands saw combat in World War II’s Pacific Theater. Some of the Montford Pointers continued to serve with honor in the USMC after the end of segregation in the military, and others went on to have distinguished careers in public service and the private sector.
Those who served – or family members of deceased Montford Point Marines - can learn more on ABC7/ouramerica.com.
Editor’s Note: In response to the above article, Military Historian Ron Brewington emailed the message below:
“While reading the article, ‘First Black Marines Featured in ‘Our America: Mission Montford Point,’ I found an error in paragraph 3, sentence which stated: “Presently, an estimated 2,000 men have received the (Congressional Gold Medal) medal, leaving approximately 18,000 who are still due the honor. This is not true: No Montford Point Marine has received an individual Congressional Gold Medal.
“First of all, the Montford Point Marines were not awarded the Congressional Gold Medal (CGM). Instead, they were awarded a ‘collective’ CGM. According to the Montford Point Marines Public Law (PLAW) 112-59, Section 2, ‘(a) AWARD AUTHORIZED – The Speaker of the House of Representatives and the President pro tempore of the Senate shall make appropriate arrangements for the award, on behalf of the Congress, of a single gold medal of appropriate design in honor of the Montford Point Marines, collectively, in recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their country.’
“As a result, the term ‘collective’ is now used by the Congress to denote groups, i.e., Montford Point Marines (MPM), Tuskegee Airmen, WASPs, etc., who will be honored as a whole group and not an individual person.
“Therefore, a singular ‘collective’ CGM was presented in a one-time only ceremony to all of the estimated 20,000 Montford Point Marines on June 27, 2012. Two thousand (2,000) MPM individuals or family members have been given a CGM bronze replica, which is NOT a real Congressional Gold Medal. This is incorrect. If you’re gonna give them a bronze replica, fine, but please tell them the real truth.”