CNN featured a story this morning on the Montford Point Marines, the first black Marines recruited after President Franklin Roosevelt’s executive order in 1941 to establish black units in the last all-white branch of the U.S. Military. Melton McLaurin gives us the history of these pioneers in his book The Marines of Montford Point: America’s First Black Marines.

There is an effort underway to ask Congress to grant the surviving first black Marines Congressional Gold Medals in honor of their service. You can read more about that effort in the CNN article. You can learn more about the experiences of those early Marines of Montford Point through the interviews that appear in McLaurin’s book.