On Saturday, January 11 will hear part 1and January18, 2014, we will hear part 2 interview with, Montford Point Marine and 2012 Congressional Gold Medal Recipient, Mark H. McCann, Sr. who turned 92 this week. Mr. McCann will share about his early start in life and why he enlisted in the USMC which was segregated at the time. Listen as he shares about fighting two wars, the one abroad as well as the one at home, civil rights. He will also share how his military training prepared him to become a professor and later an administrator at Tennessee State University.
|Bert Watkins, Mark McCann, Jr. and Mark McCann, Sr.|
Tune in to hear from "The Few. The Proud. The Marines."
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More About More Mark H. McCann, Sr.
Mark H. McCann was born on January 8, 1922 in Waynesboro, Mississippi. He received his early education through eighth grade in Mississippi. His ninth through twelfth grade years were spent at Wilcox High School in Miller Ferry, Alabama. Shortly after graduating from high school, Mr. McCann attended Snow Hill Institute in Alabama under the War Power Training Program. “I signed up because that was what you did back then. You fought for your country,” reflected Mr. McCann.
When Mr. McCann joined the United States Marine Corps (USMC) on August 16, 1943, he was unknowingly making history. During World War II, McCann was one of the first of approximately 20,000 African Americans who enlisted to become a Marine. This was unprecedented at the time because of Jim Crow that existed even in the Armed Services. Executive Order 9981 issued by President Roosevelt, required the armed services to recruit and enlist African-Americans. The USMC was the last branch of the military to desegregate.
The Montford Point Marines were crucial to many of the battles fought during World War II, especially the battles of Iwo Jima, the Chosin, Reservoir, and the Tet Offensive. Despite having to overcome much discrimination to become a Marine, then fight for the right to fight alongside their fellow Marines, Mr. McCann along with other Montford Point Marines served our nation bravely while fighting for freedoms abroad even though they were not able to experience those same freedoms, like the right to vote, in their own country.
Mr. McCann served in the Marines until 1946. As a Marine, he was trained in communications and experienced combat. After witnessing the horror of war and grateful for his life, he was determined to make the most of his training as started his post combat life in Nashville. With an honorable discharge from the Marines at the rank of Corporal, Mr. McCann enrolled at Tennessee State University, then known as Tennessee Agriculture and Industrial College. While attending college, he met his future wife, Quinnetta Evelyn Bugg. He received his Bachelors in 1949 and his Masters in 1951. After receiving his Masters, Mr. McCann became Professor McCann at Tennessee State and taught Business and Economics until 1975.
Mr. McCann training in Marines made him a natural leader at the university. In 1975, he later became Director of Personnel and Human Resources. In 1980, he was promoted to Budget Director. In 1983, he was promoted again to Director of Auxiliary Services and V.P. of Business Affairs and finally, Senior Analyst. Mr. McCann served in that role until his retirement from Tennessee State University in1992.
Photo Credit: Mark McCann, Jr. and Genma Holmes