The Montford Point Marines - A Carroll Braxton Story

Directed by: Shane Fordham | Documentary | 2019 | USA | 9:00




"My grandfather, Retired Master Gunnery Sergeant Carroll W. Braxton, is a historical military figure and the most courageous person that I know. In 2012, Braxton was one of more than 450 Montford Point Marines who received the Congressional Gold Medal. Braxton was with the first black Marines who trained at a segregated Montford Point Camp in North Carolina. At the age of 18, my grandfather was made a Drill Instructor and went on to serve in two wars: World War II and the Korean War.

When you ask what does it mean to be courageous, I think of my grandfather telling me about the harsh days of boot camp training when the black Marines were not welcomed by their white counterparts. They were yelled at and called names that people should never refer to human beings in that way again. Despite those challenging days of heat and humidity from sunrise to sunset, enduring mosquitoes and snakes in the swamps, the black Marines persevered and proved how fierce and powerful they could be on the battlefield. One highlight of Braxton’s service was meeting President Franklin Roosevelt when he paid them a visit on the battlefield to personally applaud their efforts on behalf of the United States. My grandfather says President Roosevelt also told them they were worthy to be called United States Marines. 

The Montford Point Marines were determined to serve and to fight for their country abroad as heroes even though they faced segregation when they returned home. I am inspired by my grandfather's will and strength during a difficult time for our country. Even though they defended freedom, back in America, they couldn’t eat in certain restaurants, ice cream parlors or even use all bathrooms. I have held this lesson of perseverance and humility close to my heart. When I listen to his stories, I reflect on how I must remain focused and optimistic when facing obstacles in life." 

—Shane Fordham