First African American Marines honored at FAA tech Center - NBC40.net

First African American Marines honored at FAA tech Center

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EGG HARBOR TWP. -

February is Black History Month and the FAA tech center kicked it off with a ceremony for three very special service men, who were the first of their kind in 1941.

"The mere fact that my skin was a different color didn't make you any better than me or me any better than you," retired Marine, Melvin Scott said.

Melvin Scott served his country with pride, at a time when being black sometimes meant you couldn't fight for the red white and blue.

"In my heart I knew I was as good as anyone else," Scott said.

That was the drive Melvin Scott, Bill French, and Ed Brady, who were honored by the FAA Tuesday, all had when they went to the recruiting stations and fought to fight in World War II.

"It was hard for me cause every time I went they told me they wasn't taking colored," 92-year-old,  Bill French said.

 In 1941 President Roosevelt signed an executive order allowing blacks to join the Marines.

While they fought for America, these Montford Point Marines still lived a segregated life, they had tired feet, but they say they walked with pride.

"The busses was full of white people, not full but half full and the colored people were standing in the back. There was plenty of seats but you couldn't sit down," French added.

These men are legends, they paved the way for equality and proudly show off their Congressional Gold Medals, the nations highest honor for a civilian.

"I think the big thing is tolerance. Its tolerance for things that are not normal. For things that are different and how do we over come these things," Col. Jon Schleifer said.

These men say the Marines shaped who they were, and who they became. It was a hard road, but they say they would do it again.

"It made me a better man. A stronger man and a smarter man," French added.

 

 

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