Showing posts with label Montford Point Marines. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Montford Point Marines. Show all posts

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Montford Point Marines Honored at MacDill Air Force Base

Medal honors black Marines who served despite discrimination in WWII
Tampa Bay Times
Howard Altman, Times Staff Writer
Friday, January 27, 2017
"When they would go out on furlough, the black Marines couldn't go certain places," she said. "There was an incident on a train to New York. They were trying to put out my father, but the white Marines all stood up and said, 'No, we are all Marines, stay right here.'"
TAMPA — In 1943, as the Marines were slogging through a bloody Pacific island-hopping campaign, two good friends from Nyack, New York, showed up at a recruiting station to join the fight.

David Knight was given orders to report to boot camp within a week. His friend, Charles Robert Fountain, passed the physical too, but then had to undergo questioning about his personal life, education and marital status. It would be seven months before the corps would accept him.

The difference?

Knight was white, Fountain black.

Friday at noon, Fountain's service as one of the first black Marines was honored during a ceremony at MacDill Air Force Base presided over by the commander of Marine Corps Forces Central Command, Lt. Gen. William Beydler. Fountain's daughter, Kim Fountaine of Ruskin, received a Congressional Gold Medal, awarded to those black Marines stationed at the Camp Montford Point — a rundown barracks outside of Camp Lejeune, North Carolina, where some 20,000 were housed in substandard, segregated quarters between 1942 and 1949.
read more here
Feb 12, 2012
Last night at the Orlando Nam Knights there was a surprise guest. Charles O. Foreman, a WWII veteran, member of the Montford Point Marines came. He is part of the group of Marines receiving the Congressional Gold Medal. At 87 he is just amazing. No matter what he had to go through because of the color of his skin, he'd do it all over again. He credits the Marines with making him the man he is today.

Monday, January 18, 2016

Montford Point Marine Fought in Three Wars

Marine who embodied Martin Luther King Jr.'s dream never stopped marching
OC Register
By Joanna Clay Staff Writer
January 17, 2016
Simmons served for 22 years in three conflicts – World War II, Korea and Vietnam. He wanted to fight for his country, despite the prejudices that existed, his daughter said.

Maj. Gen. Ronald Bailey, left, places a replica Congressional Gold Medal on

Montford Point Marine Jesse Simmons of Santa Ana during a commemorative ceremony
at Camp Pendleton in 2012. LEONARD ORTIZ, FILE PHOTO
Jesse Simmons enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943. Until then, he was ineligible because he was black.

He was sent for basic training at the segregated Montford Point training camp, outside Jacksonville, N.C. The white drill instructors urged the recruits to leave. The recruits couldn’t go into town for a meal. They’d be risking their lives in the Jim Crow-era South.

“My dad’s favorite saying was ‘continue to march.’ … ‘If someone spits on you, continue to march,’” daughter Angie Jacobs said. “And that’s what he did.”

Simmons died Thursday in Fountain Valley at age 92. It was just a few days shy of today’s holiday honoring Martin Luther King Jr.

A fixture on the Santa Ana family’s dining room wall was a plaque of the civil rights leader with the famous inscription, “I have a dream.” Simmons was inspired by King’s unwavering faith that change was possible, Jacobs said.

“He, unfortunately, had to live through it, but he got to see the change and see whites and blacks be together,” said Jacobs, 53.
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Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Florida Representative Wants General's Statue Gone

Lawmaker wants Florida Confederate general's statue gone from U.S. Capitol
Orlando Sentinel
By Jim Turner
News Service of Florida
September 9, 2015

TALLAHASSEE — The bronze statue of Confederate Gen. Edmund Kirby Smith, which has stood in the U.S. Capitol since 1922, would be replaced by a statue more representative of Florida, under a bill filed by a Republican state lawmaker.

Rep. Jose Felix Diaz said he's been considering the proposal (HB 141) for several years. The bill comes as people across the country have reconsidered Confederate symbols after the racially motivated slaying in June of nine black church members in South Carolina.

"I think that the shooting in South Carolina created an awareness that wasn't there before," said Diaz, who represents parts of Miami-Dade County. "When I first started asking questions about Gen. Kirby [Smith], the political appetite wasn't there for this conversation to be had. People were not intrigued by him or Statuary Hall."

The Smith statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection is in the Capitol Visitor Center.

The Florida Senate is considering similar legislation, Katie Betta, a spokeswoman for Senate President Andy Gardiner, R-Orlando, said in an email.
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Must be my day to rant. Why now? Why after all these years? Why not when Tuskegee Airmen were sent to fly during WWII but still couldn't sit where they wanted at a lunch counter or even remain in their seats on a bus outside the base?
As a former mechanic for the Tuskegee Airmen, Gainesville's Stephen Lawrence remembers that time in his life as a time of survival, not the flashy romanticism depicted in Lucas' new film.

Lawrence, now 90 years old and a longtime resident of Gainesville, was born in Philadelphia in 1921. A welder by trade, Lawrence earned a decent wage working in shipyards until he was drafted in 1943.

"I didn't want to go," Lawrence said. "It was segregated real bad. I mean real bad. You hear me?"

Lawrence sat in a comfortable chair in the sunroom of his house. The house is impeccably clean and warmly decorated, the air smelling of soap and cornbread.

"Personally, it was survival," Lawrence said. "I'm there, I don't want to be there, but I want to leave alive, and while I am there I am going to do the best I can at what I am doing. That was it. I was determined to come home."

During his military service from 1943 to 1947, Lawrence said he experienced racism from inside the military and outside, in the towns in which he was stationed. Lawrence recalled one instance in which he went to the convenience store located on the base and asked to buy a pack of Philip Morris cigarettes, but was refused service.

Or when one of these heroes was robbed and carjacked in the same day at the age of 93?

Why not when it happened to the Montford Point Marines being treated the same way. During the groundbreaking for a memorial,
Jacksonville Mayor Sammy Phillips said it was the beginning of something “that’s been a dream for a long time” and the opportunity to pay tribute to a group of trailblazers who were willing to risk their lives for a nation that still viewed them as second-class citizens.

There is what is popular to the Facebook/Twitter generation and what is history to those who risked their lives for the freedom to Tweet and remain a twit about all the folks going through a lot worse so they wouldn't have to.