Brother Sutton and Huger with other Montford Point Marines
Baltimore, MD (BlackNews.com) — Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity’s 26th General President Dr. Ozell Sutton and former Executive Secretary Brother James Huger along with the remaining living members of the Montford Point Marines were honored with the Congressional Gold Medal, June 27, 2012 at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, DC.
Both Brother Sutton and Brother Huger were given the Congressional Gold Medal presented by President Barack Obama, saluting them for being among the first blacks to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, the last branch of the U.S. military to allow blacks to serve.
The Montford Point Marines were relegated to the worst part of Camp Lejuene. Their barrel metal barracks were a conduit for the Southern heat and were infested with snakes and mosquitoes. They were not allowed to venture into the “white” part of the camp. When they went to war most of them were assigned guard duties at supply depots in the South Pacific. On several occasions these depots were attacked by the enemy including a bomb launched into their camp site. They went to war, fought and worked for their country, but returned only to be treated like second class citizens. Like the Tuskegee Airmen, many of them took up the civil rights movement as a new way to fight for their country and fight for their people. They were among the first to join the sit-ins at lunch counters and helped to organize voter registration and protests across the South.
Brothers Sutton and Huger join a long list of Alpha Brothers in being the “first” to open the doors of opportunity from which many have walked through and benefited. Other Brothers include former Sen. Edward Brooke (R-Mass.), Justice Thurgood Marshall, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell (D-NY), and Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., to name a few.
Alpha is proud to have several Brothers currently serving in the 112th Congress and Senate: Emanuel Cleaver, II (MO), Charles B. Rangel (NY), Danny K. Davis (IL), Chaka Fattah (PA), Al Green (TX), Gregory Meeks (NY), David Scott (GA) and Robert C. Scott (VA).
Founded on December 4, 1906 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity has continued to supply voice and vision to the struggle of African Americans and people of color around the world. The fraternity serves the community through its nearly a thousand college and alumni chapters in the United States, Europe and the Caribbean. For more information visit www.apa1906.net.