Marine Corps Base Quantico --
The story of the Montford Point Marines and their fight to be Marines will soon be coming to the big screen.
Raj Amit Kumar, a filmmaker and the founder of Dark Frames, is producing “Black Boots,” a film that follows three African-Americans from their introduction to boot camp at segregated Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, North Carolina, in 1942 to their receiving the Congressional Gold Medal in 2012.
The fictional story is based on validated accounts and historical events surrounding the Montford Point Marines and is expected to be released sometime in 2016, said Dr. James T. Averhart Jr., the Marine Corps Base Quantico-based Chief Warrant Officer 4 serving as the national president of the Montford Point Marine Association.
“‘Black Boots’ is the story of their struggles, courage and friendship from times of segregation to 2012, when the American government bestows them with a Congressional Gold Medal,” according to a statement on the Dark Frames website.
Averhart was introduced to the filmmaker by Florida congresswoman Corrine Brown and continues to work closely with the independent production and distribution company to make sure the story of the Montford Point Marines is accurately recalled.
“We are thoroughly involved in everything,” said Averhart, who added that any profits from the movie will be applied to scholarships and to the completion of a memorial in Jacksonville, North Carolina, honoring the Montford Point Marines.
The Montford Point Marines were the first African-Americans to serve in the Marine Corps following President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s executive decree in 1941 that required the armed services to admit them. The military remained segregated at the time, meaning the eager and patriotic Marines were forced to endure discrimination while undergoing their basic training at Montford Point rather than alongside their white counterparts at Marine Corps Recruiting Depot Parris Island, South Carolina, or San Diego, California.
Roughly 20,000 Marines trained at Montford Point between 1942 and the camp’s deactivation in 1949, with many serving with distinction in the Pacific Theater during World War II and in the later conflict in Korea. President Harry S. Truman integrated the military in 1948.
Congress recognized the Montford Point Marines with the Congressional Gold Medal in June 2012 in appreciation for their bravery and many accomplishments in fighting for America and for helping to bring about positive social change.
“[Kumar] had to fall in the love with the project,” Averhart said. “He had to fall in love with them to properly tell their story.”
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