Montford Point Marine Posthumously Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Montford Point Marine Posthumously Awarded Congressional Gold Medal

Friends and family gathered at the National Museum of the Marine Corps to remember their father and a fallen Montford Marine, Cpl Julius B. Foxx, during Foxx's Congressional Gold Medal ceremony, Nov. 14. The Congressional Gold Medal, the highest civilian award in the United States, was given to honor the Montford Point Marines, the first African-Americans allowed to enlist in the Marine Corps. Photo by Sgt Jose D. Lujano.

TRIANGLE, Virginia (Nov. 17, 2014)  – "Skin may differ but affection dwells in black and white the same. If I were so tall as to reach the pole or to grasp the ocean at a span, I must be measured by my soul. The mind is the standard of the man."

This Martin Luther King, Jr. poem may speak to the impact Cpl Julius B. Foxx had on his Corps and Country.

As America was embroiled in World War II, Foxx and more than 2,000 African-American men enlisted in the United States Marine Corps after completing arduous and segregated basic training at Montford Point, in Jacksonville, North Carolina, these Marines served with distinction during some of the War's bloodiest struggles.

Seventy years later, families, friends, service members and the Honorable Senator Mark R. Warner of Virginia, gathered at the National Museum of the Marine Corps, located in Triangle, Virginia, to remember Foxx by awarding his family with the Congressional Gold Medal, Nov. 14.

"The Montford Point Marines overcame institutional racism, to prove that the willingness to sacrifice yourself for your country is what makes a Marine and not the color of your skin," Warner said. "They were willing to sacrifice so much for their country, even though they were living in a country, which was clearly imperfect."

President Barack Obama, the President of the United States, signed the legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines on Nov. 23, 2011.  The Congressional Gold Medal is the highest civilian award in the United States. This award recognizes these Marines for their impact they made on the United States of America.

"It did not hit me, what it was that we were receiving on my fathers behalf," said Sheila Foxx, Foxx's daughter. "No matter what adversity he went through, he stuck with it and made it. Showing us that his work was not for him but for the future.

 "I thought we were getting a certificate, I didn't know Senator Warner and the Montford Point Marine Association was going to be here."

Mutually, all Montford Point Marines helped pave the way for many men and woman of all ethnicities and backgrounds, who serve in todays military.

"I like to think of our Marine Corps like the Flag of the United States of America as it is made up of many colors, but they all come together to make up one symbol," said GySgt Madyun Shahid, the Montford Point Marine monologue actor. "Through our trials, tribulations and our scars the Marine Corps has come together to represent one united fighting force."  

Marines.mil is the official website of the United States Marine Corps and is maintained by the Marine Corps' Division of Public Affairs.