The nation’s only all-Black and all-female battalion is set to finally be honored for their indelible service in the United States Army during World War II.
The 6888 Central Postal Directory Battalion, which set off overseas in 1945 and worked in unsanitary, unheated and rat-infested warehouses for months, is reportedly on track to be awarded the Congressional Gold Medal in the nation’s capital, according to The Associated Press.
Affectionately called the “Six Triple Eight,” the Black women had to overcome the triple indignity of gender and racial discrimination as well as being unheralded for more than three-quarters of a century. No commemorative services were held for the 855 service members when they returned home to face white-hot racism in the Jim Crow South and de facto segregation in the North.
The measure to honor the women was passed in the U.S. Senate, the AP reports. The bill is awaiting the expected approval in the House of Representatives and then be signed into law by President Biden.
For retired Maj. Fannie Griffin McClendon, the overdue recognition nearly 80 years after she served her country is very bittersweet, especially since all but seven of that Army unit has passed away.
“I just wish there were more people to, if it comes through, there were more people to celebrate it,” she said from her Arizona home, according to the AP.
Stanley Earley III, son of late 6888th commander Lt. Col. Charity Adams Earley, echoed McClendon’s sentiments.
“It’s wonderful, and it’s time,” he said. “It should have happened 50, 60 years ago. But there is now the opportunity for a recognition that these folks did all these things that were so important.”
Take a look at the full report below, according to the Associated Press.