This year commemorates the 35th year of Black History Month in the United States, recognized annually in February. The city’s kickoff ceremony offered a history lesson.
As Shai Warfield-Cross sang the national anthem, a living legacy was saluted at Bloomington’s Black History Month Kick-off celebration.
Clarence Hunt, a World War II Veteran, was a member of one of the first groups of African-American Marine Corps recruits. Hunt said the military made a man out of him, but his experiences weren’t easy. “In the beginning it was difficult for me to like the Marine Corps, it was so hard, but after we got in and I learned how to cope with it I begin to love it,” said Hunt.
William Hosea is a retired Marine Master Gunnery Sergeant who lives in Bloomington. “You have living history sitting right there with you, one of the first people to ever make a significant accomplishment,” said Hosea.
He said more African-Americans are in leadership roles today, thanks to officers like Clarence Hunt.
“Until 1942 African-Americans were not allowed to serve in the Marine Corps these guys persevered until they finally got a chance to fight.”
The Marine Corps was officially integrated in 1948, three years after the end of World War Two.