Jul 26 2004

Graham Secures $500,000 for South Carolina State University to Document First African-American Marines

WASHINGTON -- U.S. Senator Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina) today announced Congress has approved $500,000 to support a joint project between South Carolina State University and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington. The funds will be used to produce a documentary detailing the stories of African-Americans who trained at Montford Point, North Carolina between 1942 and 1949 and became the first African-Americans to serve in the United States Marine Corps. The funding was included in the 2005 Defense Appropriation Conference Report. The Conference Report provides $416.2 billion to the Department of Defense, including $25 billion in emergency spending requested by the President for early fiscal year 2005 costs associated with operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. “This is an important part of our nation’s history and one that should be fully documented,” said Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. “The men who trained at Montford Point are not as well known as the Buffalo Soldiers or the Tuskegee Airmen, but their role in advancing civil rights in the military and the country was just as significant.” The Montford Point Project, located just outside Camp Lejeune, replicated for African-American recruits the training other United States Marines received at Paris Island, South Carolina. Another aspect of the history of this group of Marines that adds a dimension of excitement to this project is the fact that some Montford Point Marines are alive and able to share their stories first-hand, although their ranks are rapidly thinning. The funds will be used to conduct research and interviews, and cover production costs. To date, more than twenty interviews have been recorded and extensive research has been conducted through the uncompensated efforts of officials at S.C. State and UNC-Wilmington. ####