George Granberry, Congression Gold Medal Recipient

  • Dec 14, 2011

George GranberrySo why can’t the normally quiet and reserved George Granberry (Elder at Flint-Trinity United) stop smiling?  If you attended the December presbytery meeting you may have had the pleasure of seeing our much-loved but typically very quiet George smiling from ear-to-ear and showing everyone around him something very special…a letter from President Obama congratulating him on being a part of a rare group, those that have earned the Congressional Gold Medal. It is the nation’s highest civilian honor and it took nearly 70 years to earn.


George Granberry was part of the Montford Point Marines during World War II.  These men were the first African Americans to serve in the marines – the last branch of the military to accept them.


From the Los Angeles Times on October 25, 2011:

“The House on Tuesday approved awarding the congressional gold medal to the first black Marines for their service during World War II in the face of discrimination. 

They're known as the Montford Point Marines after the segregated North Carolina camp where they underwent training. That training began after President Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941 signed an executive order opening the Marine Corps to African Americans.

Marine Commandant Gen. James Amos expressed his support for the medal, saying in a letter to lawmakers that the Montford Point Marines "served with distinction in three of the bloodiest battles in the Pacific -- Saipan, Iwo Jima, and Okinawa," "defended a society that enjoyed freedoms they did not share" and "contributed, in large measure, to President Truman's decision to order the desegregation of the Armed Forces in 1948.''

"The Montford Point Marines fought an enemy abroad and injustice at home,'' Rep. Brad Miller (D-N.C.) said during House consideration of the measure.

According to the legislation, a single gold medal would be awarded to the Montford Point Marines, collectively, "in recognition of their personal sacrifice and service to their country."  The measure would also authorize the sale of duplicates made of bronze.

The resolution was approved, 422-0, with four Montford Point Marines in the gallery for the vote.

Rep. Corrine Brown (D-Fla.), the bill's chief sponsor, called it a "long overdue'' recognition.

Similar legislation is pending in the Senate, where it has bipartisan support. About 20,000 African American Marines received training at Montford Point between 1942 and 1949.

Other recipients of the congressional gold medal, the nation's highest civilian honor, include the Tuskegee Airmen, Japanese American World War II veterans, Rosa Parks, the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and Walt Disney.”


For more information on the Montford Point Marines and what they had to go through just to be able to serve our country the way they felt called to do, please read these articles:

USA Today “At last, honors for the first black marines”


USA Today “Pioneering black marines get their badge of courage” “Englewood vet, one of first black marines, to receive Congressional Gold Medal”


Yahoo!News “Marine Corps to teach story of first black marines”



View the official portrait taken of George Granberry at the celebration this summer of the Montford Point Marines.