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Two Pioneering African-American Marines from WWII Pass Away in Close Succession Breaking Racial Barriers

Source: The New York Times

Cosmas Eaglin Sr. and Nathaniel “Nate” Boone, African-American Marines, both trailblazing corps veterans who shattered racial barriers, passed away within a week of each other this month. They were among the pioneering Black men who enlisted during World War II and were part of the segregated Montford Point Marines. Despite facing racism and adversity, their service set an example that contributed to the progress toward racial equality in the military.

Two Pioneering African-American Marines from WWII Pass Away in Close Succession, Breaking Racial Barriers (Photo:

Cosmas Eaglin Sr. and Nathaniel “Nate” Boone – Trailblazers in the Marine Corps

According to the report published by Military News, August 24, 2023, a poignant tribute to two remarkable individuals, the Marine Corps community mourns the loss of Cosmas Eaglin Sr. and Nathaniel “Nate” Boone, both of whom made history as among the first African-American Marines to enlist during World War II. Their passing, within a mere week of each other, marks the end of an era that saw them defy racial segregation and discrimination within the military.

These stalwart men, aged 108 and 95 respectively, not only served their nation with unwavering commitment but also played a pivotal role in advancing racial equality. Their stories as African-American Marines serve as a testament to the enduring spirit of those who helped shape a more inclusive and equitable armed forces.

Both of their service was marked by discrimination and adversity, even beyond the battlefield. African-American Marines like Eaglin and Boone were not allowed to enter Camp Lejeune without a white escort, a stark reflection of the racial biases of their time. Boone vividly recalled that the barracks they occupied were nothing more than “glorified cardboard.” Their dedication to the cause, however, remained unwavering, and they often found themselves battling prejudice even before confronting any enemies.

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Ushering Change Amidst Adversity: Montford Point African-American Marines and Their Indomitable Spirit

In a recent news release by NEWSBREAK, Cosmas Eaglin Sr. and Nathaniel Boone, African-American Marines icons of the Montford Point Marines, etched their names in history by defying discrimination and prejudice that plagued the United States military. Their entry into the segregated Montford Point camp, situated near Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, marked a significant juncture in the nation’s battle for equality.

Initiated following President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s 1941 Executive Order 8802 that banned discrimination in the armed services, this camp was a response to the racial divide that still loomed large. It wasn’t until 1948, under the executive order of President Harry Truman, that full desegregation of the military was achieved.

These two pioneering African-American Marines and their stories reached their pinnacle in 2011 when President Barack Obama awarded them the Congressional Gold Medal, recognizing their unwavering commitment to service and the advancement of civil rights. The legacy of these remarkable African-American Marines, exemplified by their perseverance and heroism, continues to inspire generations striving for a more just and inclusive world.

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