Four days after he graduated from Lincoln High School in Edwardsville in 1944, DeLoyce McMurray (pictured) joined the Marines, which were segregated.   Sixty-nine years later, his country said, “Thank you.”  McMurray served in the Montford Point Marines, an all-black unit named for where they trained. Of the roughly 20,000 members, only 300 or so survive. Last year, Congress determined they are all eligible for the Congressional Gold Medal, but McMurray was too ill to attend.
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U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) arranged a ceremony at the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Museum in Springfield to present McMurray his medal. “Many Montford Point Marines ran smack-dab into racism, right back here at home,” Durbin says. “Many tell of being refused service by Red Cross workers who were handing out free coffee.”
“I accept this medal for all of 'em,” McMurray said, “for all those guys that are gone!”  McMurray participated in the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum’s oral history program. Follow the link below for more information and to hear his words.
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