Sen. Kay Hagan, Montford Point Marine Sgt. Earl Evans and his wife, Madie.

The U.S. Senate on Wednesday unanimously approved legislation to award the Congressional Gold Medal to the Montford Point Marines, granting long-overdue recognition to the first African Americans to serve in the U.S. Marine Corps, according to Sen. Kay R. Hagan (D-N.C.).

Hagan led the bipartisan effort to pass the measure to honor the men with the highest civilian award bestowed by Congress in time for the Marine Corps' 236th anniversary today and Veterans Day.

"The Montford Point Marines are finally receiving the recognition they deserve," Hagan said in a prepared statement given to The Root. "These men, who were based out of North Carolina in WWII, served our country with courage and dedication, even in the face of discrimination and intolerance. There is no better way to celebrate the Marine Corps' birthday and Veterans Day than by honoring these men for their service and sacrifice and granting them the recognition that is 50 years overdue."

The Congressional Gold Medal will be given to the Smithsonian Institution, where it will be displayed and made available for research.


Read earlier coverage at The Root.

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