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Celebrating Black History Month: Mary Ragland

Siana Tricoles, Staff Writer

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The national theme for Black History Month is “African Americans in Times of War”.  Bear Truth News will pay tribute to several individuals who have contributed to the struggle for liberation.

Many have already heard of the Tuskegee Airmen.  However, African American women also helped in the World War II war effort.   One group of women was Battalion “Six Triple Eight.” It was the first all-African American, all-female unit to serve overseas in WWII. Mary Ragland was a member of this unit. She joined because she saw a recruitment advertisement asking for women who wanted to serve in Europe. She signed up and was assigned to Birmingham, England. The primary responsibility of her unit was to sort through 90 billion pieces of mail and get it to over 7 million soldiers. The morale of the soldiers was down because they had not been able to hear from home. Ragland’s battalion helped motivate the soldiers. The women completed their job so fast that they were assigned to another warehouse in France. The Europeans were so appreciative that they held a parade in honor of Battalion 6-888. However, they were not celebrated at home in America. It was as if America forgot these women. Sixty-four years later, there was a ceremony to thank them for their service. Unfortunately, only three of the women were still alive for the occasion.

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Celebrating Black History Month: Mary Ragland