February marked the 5th year of that Three Centuries of African American Soldiers. Held at the Old Barracks Museum in Trenton New Jersey, It is the culminating Black History Month event for the participating re-enactment units and historic interpreters. Displays about the history of blacks serving in the military from American Revolution through the Korean War were manned by uniformed interpreters who told visitors about the roles and contributions made by black fighting men and women. Displays included weapons,gear, photos, and books. This event is also the kickoff for the 2013 season for participating African-American reenacting and living history units.
This year featured the Trenton Old Barracks museum's new War of 1812 exhibit. Ludger Banaan, a new member of the 1st Rhode Island Regiment, and director of Che Nautical Edutainment, manned this exhibit. Ludger brought a wealth of nautical knowledge about this war, characterized as largely naval in character, and the role of black sailors and soldiers.
The guest of honor was WWII veteran Gunnery Master Sergent Caroll Braxton. Gynsgt Braxton is one of the Montford Point Marines Congressional Gold Medal recipients. He held court, sharing the experience of the first black U.S. Marines, since colonial times, that served in segregated units. What he said about the treatment and accomplishments of these Marines held the rapt attention of visitors and participants alike. He brought to light the truth about their poignant struggle with segregation at home while, at the same time, fighting for democracy abroad.
Cpl. Leon Brooks