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Charlotte Street To Be Renamed In Honor Of Montford Point Marines
Renaming Honors the First African Americans to Enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps and Charlotte's Connections to this Historic Group
By: Montford Point Marines Chapter #40
Montford Point is the North Carolina Marine base where African-American enlistees trained because they weren't allowed to congregate with their white counterparts. The first African American Marine to arrive at Montford Point in 1942 was Charlotte native Howard Perry. He was joined by many other Charlotteans who were among the initial recruits who trained at Camp Montford Point near Jacksonville and contributed to the Allied victory in World War II. In fact, the first African American Marine officer, Frederick Branch, attended Johnson C. Smith University.
Speaking at the official unveiling of the new street name will be Charlotte City Council Member Malcolm Graham; Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. President James Averhart; Charlotte Chapter #40 President Craig Little; and Lt. Gen. Walter Gaskins. The ceremony will include recognitions of Montford Marines and their families, the U.S. Marine Corps Color Guard and the Johnson C. Smith University Drumline.
The name change, and the turnout of so many to celebrate it, is a fitting tribute to the history of this group, notes Little: "The legacy of these men and women who valiantly stepped forward to defend our nation at a time when they faced discrimination while doing so must be remembered."
The Montford Point Marines were the first African-Americans to enlist in the U.S. Marine Corps after President Franklin Roosevelt issued an Executive Order establishing the Fair Employment Practices Commission in June 1941. The recruits trained at Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville from August 26, 1942, until the camp was decommissioned on September 9, 1949. There were 20,000 Marines who trained at the Montford Point Camp.
The non-profit Montford Point Marine Association, Inc. is a national organization established to preserve the legacy of these brave men and women. Charlotte Chapter #40 is active in our local community, striving to give back to the next generation as they preserve the legacy of the last.
Media Note: The dedication of Montford Point Street will take place at 11:30 a.m. on October 28 at the corner of North College Street and Phifer Avenue. Media are welcome to attend.
More information on the national organization can be found at: http://montfordpointmarines.org.