On Monday (February 28) the US House of Representatives voted 422-0 to award the only all-Black, all-female military unit that served in Europe during World War II the Congressional Gold Medal. The 6888th Central Postal Battalion is credited with solving an urgent mail crisis in England when they arrived in Europe.
The 855-membered group has for decades gone without proper recognition, but in recent years that has changed. In 2019, a monument honoring the battalion was erected at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas and the documentary, Triple Six Eight told their story. Author Tanita S. Davis' 2009 book, Mare's War, also offers a fictitious account about the very real women of the Women's Army Corps.
"The Six Triple Eight was a trailblazing group of heroes who were the only all-Black Women's Army Corps Battalion to serve overseas during World War II," Wisconsin Rep. Gwen Moore, who sponsored the bill after being contacted by the daughter of 6888th member, Anna Mae Robertson, said in a statement.
"Facing both racism and sexism in a war zone, these women sorted millions of pieces of mail, closing massive mail backlogs, and ensuring service members received letters from their loved ones," Moore continued. "A Congressional Gold Medal is only fitting for these veterans who received little recognition for their service after returning home."
Only half a dozen of the women are still alive.
"It's overwhelming," Maj. Fannie Griffin McClendon, 101, said after hearing news of the vote. "It's something I never even thought about it. I don't know if I can stand this."
The Senate passed the legislation to award the 6888th the medal last year.