mpm1In 1942, President Roosevelt established a presidential directive giving African Americans the opportunity to be recruited into the Marine Corps. The African Americans who responded to this call were not sent to the traditional Marine boot camps; instead they were segregated – experiencing basic training at Montford Point, a facility located at Camp Lejeune, North Carolina. Between 1942 and 1949, nearly 20,000 recruits moved through Montford Point.

Learn more about the Montford Point Marines when Sergeant Major Melvin O. Chestnut (retired) discusses “Fighting for the Right to Fight: A History of the Montford Point Marines” on November 6 at 3 p.m. in Room LL430 of the San Diego State University Library. The lecture is free, and reservations are not required. Sgt. Maj. Chestnut is quarter master, awards/scholarship at Montford Point Marine Association, San Diego Chapter 12 and is a speaker for the national organization.


The Marines who trained at Montford Point went on to serve as members of support units in the Pacific Theatre during World War II. Some remained in the Marine Corps and later served in Korea and Vietnam. In 2011, the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously voted to award the Congressional Gold Medal—the nation’s highest civilian honor—to the Montford Point Marines.

This talk is part of the Veterans and Student Success lecture series of the SDSU Library sponsored by the Aztec Parents. Project partners include the Student Veterans Organization and The Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center. Guests are welcomed to join the reception following the talk.