Marine Corps to teach story of first black Marines
OCEANSIDE, Calif. (AP) — Oscar Culp does not like to remember. His mind has erased the harshest details. But the pain still stings for the 87-year-old WWII veteran, who endured boot camp in a snake-infested North Carolina swampland as one of the first blacks admitted to the Marine Corps.
He wipes a tear. Black Marines were barred from being stationed with whites at nearby Camp Lejeune. But what hurt worse, he says, was returning from the battlefield to a homeland that ordered him to sit at the back of the bus and drink out of separate fountains from the white Americans he had just put his life on the line to protect.
"Excuse me," he says, pulling out a handkerchief. "Sometimes we get a little emotional about it."
The story of the first black Marines is a part of history few Americans — and even few Marines — have learned. Unlike the Army's Buffalo Soldiers or the Air Force's Tuskegee Airmen, the Montford Point Marines have never been featured in popular songs or Hollywood films, or recognized nationally.
The Corps' new commandant intends to change that....
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