Frederick C. Branch being pinned with his 2nd Lt. bars by his wife, Camilla "Peggy" Branch.
African American History Month Spotlight: Frederick C. Branch
Added February 10, 2016
February is African-American History Month in the United States, and we would like to take this opportunity to take a further look at the life of the first African-American officer in the United States Marine Corps - Frederick C. Branch. Learn more in our second article.
Frederick Clinton Branch was born in Hamlet, North Carolina, in 1922, the son of an African Methodist Episcopal Zion minister. After graduating high school in New York, Branch enrolled at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, NC, before transferring to Temple University in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. While enrolled at Temple, Branch received his draft notice from the US Army in 1943 and reported to Fort Bragg, North Carolina, for basic training.
After reporting to Fort Bragg for induction into the Army, Brach was chosen to become a Marine and was sent to the nearby Camp Montford Point for Recruit Training, becoming one of the more than 20,000 Montford Point Marines (African-American Marines who underwent separate, segregated Recruit Training at Camp Montford Point between 1942 and 1949.) After Recruit Training, Brach applied for Officer Candidate School (OCS), but was denied due to his race and was sent to serve with a supply unit supporting operations against the Japanese in the Pacific instead.Click here to read more