Ohio Archives - StoryCorps

“We Knew We Were the Best.” Reflections from the First Black Marines of Montford Point

A group of Montford Point volunteers in their dress uniforms circa May, 1943. Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

In 1942, the U.S. allowed Black men to enlist in the Marine Corps for the first time. It was during World War II, and resulted in more than 19,000 Black recruits being sent to Montford Point, North Carolina for basic training.

These men fought for their country in the midst of the racism and prejudice they faced at home. They were essential to the war effort but did not recieve the same respect in uniform as their white counterparts. 

Many of those men are no longer with us, but their voices can be heard in the StoryCorps archive. One of those voices is that of Corporal Sidney Allen Francis,  a retired New York City police detective.  Sidney came to StoryCorps with his daughter, Candice, to talk about how his time at Montford Point shaped him.

William Pickens, Estel Roberts and Benjamin Jenkins at their StoryCorps interviews in Chicago, Illinois, New York, New York, and Dayton, Ohio in 2012, 2014, and 2010. By Leslee Dean, Mayra Sierra, and Virginia Lora for StoryCorps.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired February 24, 2024, on NPR’s Weekend Edition Saturday. 

 

 

A Sister Shares A Cherished Memory That Carried Her Through Childhood

Sisters Amy McNally and Emily Fortner grew up in the 1980s in rural Ohio.

They were raised by a single mom in an old farmhouse, where they didn’t cross paths with many neighbors. Whenever someone did come knocking on their door, it would be a hunter asking if they could track their deer onto their property. 

In July of 2022, Amy came to StoryCorps to share one special childhood memory, and why it stood out to her.

Amy McNally and Emily Fortner (center and right) with their mother, Nan Barnebey (left), in the early 1990s in Ft Lauderdale, FL.
Top Photo: Emily Fortner and Amy McNally. Photos courtesy of the participants.

This broadcast is supported in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, a private corporation funded by the American people, and the National Endowment for the Arts.

Originally aired Sept. 2, on NPR’s Morning Edition.