The First Black United States Marines: The Men of Montford Point, 1942-1946
On June 1, 1942, the United States Marine Corps broke a 144-year tradition and enlisted the first black Marines. Three months later, more than 400 black volunteers began their training as members of the 51st Composite Defense Battalion at Montford Point, a Marine camp of over five square miles located within Camp Lejeune in North Carolina. Informed by personal interviews, this volume takes an in-depth look at the men who braved the color barrier and became the first black Marines. Beginning with a look at the pre-World War II Marine Corps, it examines the creed and contemporary image of the USMC. The main focus is the experiences of the new black Marines. Additional topics include internal Marine perspectives on the admittance of blacks, initially enforced quotas, and the difficulties of segregation. Appendices provide information regarding monthly inductions into the Marine Corps from 1941 to 1945; rank and pay structure; depot and ammunition companies from 1943 to 1946; and Pacific Ocean area units of fire for ground weapons.