Date of Award

May 2020

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Member

Rod Andrew

Committee Member

Abel Bartley

Committee Member

Alan Grubb


On June 1, 1942, the United States Marine Corps accepted the enlistment of African American recruits for the first time since the Revolutionary War, ending approximately 159 years of strict prohibition of African American enlistments. Over 19,000 African Americans served in the Marine Corps during the Second World War and are now referred to as the “Montford Point Marines,” named after the segregated camp in North Carolina where they were trained. Though these pioneering men are a pivotal part of Marine Corps history, very little is known or written about them. While this thesis seeks to further the understanding of the events that led to racial integration in the Marine Corps, the main focus is to further the understanding and historical knowledge of the African American men who enlisted for service in the Marine Corps during the Second World War. Using archival documents and oral histories, including never before utilized interviews conducted by Marine Corps field historians in 2011, this thesis seeks to understand who these men were and their experiences from enlistment through training at Montford Point.



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