President Obama signed legislation Wednesday to award a congressional gold medal to the first blacks who enlisted in the U.S. Marines in the 1940s.
Known as the “Montford Point Marines,” about 20,000 of the black service members received their basic training at segregated Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C., from 1942 to 1949.
At the time, black recruits were not sent to the traditional Marine boot camps at Parris Island, S.C., and San Diego, Calif.
The action awards the medal to the Montford Point Marines “in recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their country.”
The House passed the bill, sponsored by Rep. Corrine Brown, Florida Democrat, in October by a vote of 422-0. The Senate approved it by unanimous consent earlier this month.