The story of the Montford Point Marines is a vitally important slice of American history, filled with discrimination, prejudice and injustice. As Marines, they were prohibited from fighting and from receiving any promotions. As told in Part I of this two-part post, they were segregated and considered a temporary unit. In this installment, learn what deployment was like for them and about some of the challenges they faced. There’s a reason this post is called, “We Were Expendable.” And that is the truth.
The Montford Point Marines are a little known part of U.S. military history. Born out of necessity, when African American men were first drafted to serve in World War II, the legacy of the Marines who trained at Montford Point in North Carolina is a mirror of the times, back when segregation and discrimination were par for the course.
These Marines served with valor, determined to succeed despite the obstacles brought on by the racism that they had to face each day. Of the 20,000 original Montford Point Marines, not many remain, but here in San Diego there are three, who we are honoring as Black History Month Local Heroes: Retired Gunnery Sergeant, Dr. Carrel Reavis, whose service to our country has been recognized with an honorary doctorate from Virginia University at Lynchburg; Retired First Sergeant Joe Earl Jackson; and Retired Gunnery Sergeant J.T. Inge.
In Part I of their story, they shared their memories of Montford Point, a once segregated training facility located on Camp Lejuene. The camp as it was then no longer exists, and has since been renamed. But its significance to our history continues to live on. Here, in Part II, the men continue their stories and reveal what being a Montford Point Marine has meant to them…
Just read part 2 Monica. I am in awe. What a tremendous amount of courage was required of these gentlemen to face what they faced and come out of it, holding their heads up high.
You have captured all the suffering and little nuances, where if you read between the lines, you truly understand the damage caused by negativity and a lack of humanity. Just a beautiful interview my friend. Well done.
I registered on your hey neighbor blog too…so I can now leave my comments there as well.
Thank you, MM. Your words mean so much to me. Thank you for going back to read part 2. I’m sure you can tell that I was personally moved by their story. Glad to know you were, too.
Monica, this was excellent (both parts). You did a wonderful job of bringing to light a little known part of our history. Thank you.
Very interesting post Monica. I have read a little about the discrimination that occurred but your writing makes it more personal. It is very sad that patriots were treated in this way but good to hear that their contribution was eventually valued and acknowledged.
Yes, indeed, Bassa. Except as far as being acknowledged, that process is just beginning. We have a long way to go.
I just love the obvious pride these men show in the photos. Despite how they were treated they still strove to be the best at what they were charged with accomplishing. So inspiring. Thanks for sharing!!!!
Yes, I agree. I hope you get a chance to meet them some day.
We’re all the better for having gotten past those dark days. Are things perfect yet? No, of course not. There’s plenty of work left to be done. But telling the stories of these three men and their service is a good start in preserving their legacy. Thanks, Monica, for telling it so well!
So true, Debbie, so true. Things are definitely getting better.
a huge thank you to these brave soldiers.
Thanks for commenting. Hope you read it, too!
Thanks for sharing this important part of history. Heading over there now to read. I thought I subscribed to your Hey Neighbor blog but haven’t gotten any post announcements in a long time? Or maybe I was getting them on FB. Going now to read!
Hugs from Ecuador,
Thanks, Kathy. Hope you were able to read Part 1, too. I took great pains to make sure I got it right. Hugs from San Diego!
❤ love the photo. I am so happy there is a you. And I want to bow to these men!
Thank you, Jodi. Yes, these men are quite impressive. I hope more people hear their story.
Wonderful two part story and very well told. You spared little on the hardships they experienced, all the things a segregated society wouldn’t allow them to do…not because they couldn’t… and still a mountain of expectations. So glad you were able to locate them together and get their version. The hardships, the inequity, and the mettle they met it all with is certainly a story to be told. Thank you for bringing us their story. You are a gifted writer, Monica, and you delivered with heart.
Thanks Georgette, and thank you for leaving a comment on my Hey Neighbor blog. I’m so glad you stopped by both sites!