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Long Overdue: Pioneering Black Iwo Jima Marine Awarded Liberty Medal for 95th Birthday (Watch)

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Ambrose ”Cowboy” Anderson, 95, left, of Gloversville, N.Y., receives the New York State Liberty Medal from state Sen. Jim Tedisco, Aug. 28, 2020. Anderson was one of the Montford Point Marines who endured discrimination while serving during World War II, including at the Battle of Iwo Jima. JIM TEDISCO/FACEBOOK

*A military veteran who served as one of the nation’s first Black U.S. Marines received a medal and a car parade from the New York Senate as a 95th birthday present.

Sen. Jim Tedisco (R,C,I,REF-Glenville) on Friday presented the New York State Liberty Medal, the Senate’s highest honor for service and valor, to Ambrose “Cowboy” Anderson of Gloversville, who served during the Battle of Iwo Jima during World War II.

Tedisco joined Anderson’s family and friends to present the Liberty Medal outside his Gloversville home. Noting the many African Americans who served at the time but never get the recognition they deserved due to racial discrimination. Sen. Tedisco said: “I am proud and honored to help rectify that in some way with this long-overdue heartfelt recognition by the state of New York for Ambrose Anderson’s courageous service.”

Watch below, and scroll down to read about his incredible story.

Corporal Anderson, a star football player at Gloversville High School, served in the 8th Ammunition Company. He joined the U.S. Marine Corps in 1943 and was assigned to the segregated Camp Montford Point in Jacksonville, N.C., where about 20,000 African American Marines served from 1942 to 1949, enduring terrible prejudice and racism.

While on a battleship sailing to Iwo Jima, Anderson’s ship was attacked by Japanese kamikaze pilots. Anderson crawled into a hole and started feeding a gunner machine gun ammunition. The next day, he looked out and saw the bodies of Marines floating in the sea and entwined with driftwood on the beach.  On Iwo Jima, Anderson hauled ammunition and supplies from incoming ships to the shore and delivered them to white infantry units on the front lines, often amid rounds flying around their heads.

After Iwo Jima, Anderson served in the occupation of Japan at Sasebo.

Sadly, Corporal Anderson received no recognition after World War II and had difficulty finding work. Eventually, he went to work in his brother’s junkyard. Ultimately, he worked as a truck mechanic, retiring from Ryder in 1986.

Fortunately, in recent years our country has begun to recognize and express its deep gratitude and respect for the service and sacrifice of Corporal Anderson and his colleagues as the Montford Point Marines were awarded the Congressional Gold Medal.

Anderson has six children, including four with his second wife, Betty, who he was with for 47 years until her passing in 2004.

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Meet Noah Harris, First Black Man Elected Harvard Student Body President (Watch)

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Noah Harris on MSNBC’s “Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnel” after making history as the first Black man elected president of the Harvard student body

*Noah Harris has just become the first Black man to be elected president of Harvard University’s student body. On Tuesday, he appeared on MSNBC’s “The Last Word with Lawrence O’Donnell” to credit late Congressman John Lewis as his motivation and biggest inspiration.

Harris, a native of Hattiesburg, Mississippi, is a junior government major and also co-chairs the Undergraduate Council’s Black Caucus. He said that his three main goals will be improving student life, increasing access to mental health and wellness, and diversity inclusion.

Harris told O’Donnell that civil rights icon Lewis had a “profound impact” on him and that he hopes to embody his “love of country.”

Watch below:

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Virginia State Worker Put on Leave Days After Complaining about Systemic Racism (Watch)

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DOC employee Michael Murphy

*A man who works for the Virginia Department of Corrections says he was placed on leave just days after raising concerns about systemic racism at his job.

“The timing is very suspicious,” said DOC employee Michael Murphy. He tells 8News he’s worked in corrections for 30 years, eight of which, with the Virginia DOC.

He says that while working as a unit manager at State Farm Correctional Center in Powhatan County, he noticed a pattern within the department: hard-working, qualified Black employees getting passed over for promotions.

“There’s been a practice, I noticed of African Americans being laterally moved involuntarily, several hours from their workplace,” Murphy said. “In one case, it was five hours away from her workplace.”

Murphy believes it’s designed to make them quit.

“It is happening very disproportionately to Blacks. I find it to be incredibly unfair and very discriminatory,” Murphy said.

So, as a manager, he decided to speak up. He first filed an EEOC complaint with the State of Virginia. Then, on Sept. 24, he filed a formal grievance with his immediate supervisor.

He says he alleged, “systemic racism within the department.”

Then, five days later, Murphy said, “I was put on administrative leave for lack of civility.”

Watch his story below:

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Five Black NBA Players Meet with Pope Francis to Discuss Social Justice Issues (Watch)

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Pope Francis meets a delegation of five NBA players and officials from the National Basketball Players Association at the Vatican. (HANDOUT / VATICAN MEDIA)

*Five NBA players and several officials from the National Basketball Players Association met with Pope Francis at the Vatican on Monday to discuss their work on social justice issues.

The trip was prompted by the Vatican reaching out to the players’ union to learn about their work for social change. The delegation included Orlando Magic forward Jonathan Isaac, Houston Rockets wing Sterling Brown and free agents Anthony Tolliver, Marco Belinelli and Kyle Korver. They gave the Pope an Orlando Magic jersey and a golden basketball.

After the meeting in the papal library of the Apostolic Palace, Tolliver called it an “incredible experience.” He added, “With the Pope’s support and blessing, we are excited to head into this next season reinvigorated to keep pushing for change and bringing our communities together.”

Korver, a 17-year NBA veteran who wrote a powerful essay about racism and white privilege last year, echoed Tolliver’s sentiment after meeting with the pope.

“We are extremely honored to have had this opportunity to come to the Vatican and share our experiences with Pope Francis,” Korver said. “His openness and eagerness to discuss these issues was inspiring and a reminder that our work has had a global impact and must continue moving forward.”

Images from the meeting showed Pope Francis and the players sitting and standing next to each other, but not wearing masks. The players union tweeted that “players and NBPA staff members were required to undergo COVID-19 testing before meeting with Pope Francis.”

Watch video from the historic meeting below:

The gathering comes ahead of the December 1 release of Francis’ new book, “Let Us Dream: The Path to A Better Future.” In it, Francis supports demands for racial justice in the wake of the police-custody death of George Floyd.

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