On this date, June 25, in 1941, the Marine Corps formally integrated. This was a result of President Roosevelt signing Executive Order 8802 months before Pearl Harbor.
FDR officially opened to Blacks one of America’s most celebrated all-white strongholds. In previous years, the Truman order and the Fahy Committee could not budge the services segregation. It was at the urging of his wife, Eleanor, and threatened by civil rights activist A. Philip Randolph with a march on Washington that the Fair Employment Practice Commission was established which prohibited racial discrimination by any government agency.
Black Marines were housed in Montford Point, NC, and recruiting for them had been scheduled for June 1, 1942. A quota of 200 recruits each from Eastern and Central Divisions had been set, while the Southern was to furnish 500 of the initial 900 people. [Continue reading at the African American Registry.]
For further reading and research, see also:
The Marines of Montford Point: America’s First Black Marines by Melton A. McLaurin. [book link]
The First Black United States Marines: The Men of Montford Point, 1942-1946 by Ronald K. Culp. [book link]
American Patriots: The Story of Blacks in the Military from the Revolution to Desert Storm by Gail Lumet Buckley and David Halberstam. [book link]