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Oral history interview with Charles Foreman. Interview conducted by John Grande in Orlando, Florida on August 8, 2017.


0:23 Birthplace, parents occupation; 1:06 Childhood, education; 2:30 Year he entered the service, education continued and segregation; 5:49 National Youth Administration, enlisted before being drafted; 7:07 Why the Marine Corps, recruiters false information; 9:28 Camp Lejeune aka Montford Point Camp, recruit training; 11:07 Boot camp length, first black Marines to graduate, commander's words; 13:07 Assigned to Headquarters and Service Company, becoming a clerk; 15:20 Field training while doing administration work; 16:25 Camp growing, troops getting assigned duties; 17:22 War in the Pacific getting fiercer, first replacement battalion; 19:57 Shipping out to Camp Pendleton, in charge of a hundred men; 21:07 Segregation even in uniform, sea-bag; 23:35 Arriving in San Diego and barracks, no barracks in Montford Point; 24:45 Keeping warm at night, being shipped over seas; 26:30 Announcement at sea about Japanese Submarines, Hawaii; 28:28 Staying entertained, staying in contact with family; 29:46 Segregated ship, an all-black unit, promotion difficulties; 32:45 Time in Hawaii, acting as a First Sergeant while a clerk, unhappy group; 34:35 Doing duty regardless, went to school for speed reading and studying law; 35:53 Reenlistment and lack of information; 37:00 Last day in the service, treated differently since first group; 39:11 Truman's order desegregating the service, would he reenlist? 40:11 Medals earned and Congressional Gold Medal, highest rank; 41:25 After the Marine Corps, not informed properly; 42:45 Segregated housing under G.I. Bill, becoming a real estate broker; 46:45 Limited jobs, getting repossessed homes to sell to anybody; 48:22 Went to business for himself, putting black families in white neighborhoods; 49:36 Making friends with Catholic Priest; 51:17 Lessons from Drill Instructors implemented in life, staying in contact; 52:45 Civil Rights Movement in his own way, friend he stayed in contact with; 55:22 Doing things differently if he could; 56:35 Congressional Gold Medal, others treated worse than him; 59:05 Ammunition Depot Company dangerous job; 1:00:12 Officers praising black Marines, speech from graduating by general; 1:02:30 Colonel Sam Woods and the Alabama Blue story; 1:11:18 Riot a week before he got to Camp Pendleton, white and blacks together; 1:12:36 One of the lucky ones and doing it over, being a Marine; End of Interview.

Date of Birth


Place of Birth

Wilmington (Del.)




Black or African American

Home State


War or Conflict

World War II



Begin/End date of Service - 1st



Video; MovingImage


Entrance into Service


Branch of Service

U.S. Marines

Unit of Service

51st Defense Battalion; Headquarters Service Battalion Camp Lejeune; 1st Colored Replacement Battalion

Location of Service

Camp Lejeune (N.C.); Camp Catlin (Hawaii)

Highest Rank

Sergeant; Sgt

Prisoner of War


Service Related Injury





Good Conduct Medal; Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal; Congressional Gold Medal


"Did the work/billet of a SgtMaj or 1st Sgt. Part of 1st Colored Replacement Battalion (all black corpsmen & black Marines)." -- The veteran.


The veteran received his Congressional Gold Medal for his service as a Montford Point Marine.

City of Birth


Country of Birth

United States


Grande, John

Interview Date

Fall 8-8-2017

Location of Interview

Orlando, FL.


Foreman, Charles; World War, 1939-1945 -- Personal Narratives; United States. Marines

Collection Description

Contains logs, audio and video recordings of interviews with Central Florida's veterans as part of a history class project for the students at the University of Central Florida (UCF). The UCF Community Veterans History Project(CVHP) started in fall 2010. It collects, preserves, and makes accessible to the public the experiences of Central Florida's veterans so that future generations will better understand the realities of conflict. It is a collaborative endeavor supported by multiple departments and offices at UCF. The veterans' histories are archived and made digitally available through the UCF library and selected materials are contributed to the Veterans History Project at the Library of Congress.



Contributor Affiliation / Organization

RICHES; University of Central Florida


Grande, John

Length of Interview

75 Minutes


Department of History, University of Central Florida




All rights are held by the respective holding institution. This material is posted publicly for non-profit educational uses, excluding printed publication. For permission to reproduce and/or for copyright information contact Special Collections and University Archives, University of Central Florida Libraries, (407) 823-2576. http://library.ucf.edu/about/departments/special-collections-university-archives/


University of Central Florida Libraries, Special Collections & University Archives

Contributing Project

UCF Community Veterans History Project

Document Type