FORMER VIRGINIA NAACP PRESIDENT REQUESTS THE MEDAL OF HONOR FOR DORIS (DORIE) MILLER AND CHARLES JACKSON FRENCH

Former Virginia State Conference (Virginia NAACP) President Linda Thomas put forth a resolution for two Black Veterans who should be awarded the Medal of Honor for their committed acts of extreme valor and heroism but were denied consideration solely because of their race. The VSC NAACP is in full support of Thomas’s campaign.

In her pitch, Thomas said, to politicians: “If ever you’ve needed a moment that says, I can look past party and politics and everything else going on in the world, this is it. It’s the kind of narrative that captures your imagination regardless of which side of the aisle you are on.”

Senator Tim Kaine of Virginia has supported Thomas’ request. A little more than a week after Thomas first called the Senator’s office, Kaine wrote letters to President Joe Biden concerning Miller and French. As a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, he noted that part of his job is to make sure that “our veterans receive the recognition they deserve for their courage and dedication to our country. This activity includes urging President Biden to posthumously confer the Medals of Honor on Doris Miller and Charles French.”

Thomas has also been in communication with other senators and members of Congress asking them to support this effort. This request was also forwarded to the National NAACP office asking for a resolution to be adopted. The Virginia NAACP is anticipating their favorable response. In 2011, the National Board of the NAACP passed a resolution requesting the Medal Of Honor for Doris (Dorie) Miller.

Mrs. Thomas requests the Medal of Honor for the following Black Veterans:

  • Doris (Dorie) Miller, is a Black veteran, who demonstrated such dedication to his duty on December 7, 1941, when his ship was attacked in Pearl Harbor, Doris Miller showed little regard for his safety when he dragged his wounded captain and several shipmates to safety before manning an anti-aircraft gun that he had never been trained to use, and brought down several Japanese planes, but was not recommended for the Medal of Honor
  • Charles Jackson French is another unsung Black veteran who demonstrated extreme heroism after his ship was attacked in the early morning of September 5, 1942. Charles French managed to load fifteen injured crew members onto a life raft and then tied a rope to the raft and secured the other end to his waist, after which he swam for eight hours through shark-infested water until they were rescued, but received no recommendation for the Medal of Honor.

More than 3500 Medals of Honor have been given out to date, according to the National Medal of Honor Museum, however, less than 100 of those recipients are African-American.

Virginia NAACP President Robert Barnette was pleased to have his Executive Committee give its unanimous support to Mrs. Thomas’ effort. “As the 10th State Command Chief Master Sergeant of the Virginia Air National Guard, I take great personal pride in supporting French and Miller’s application for the Medal of Honor. The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People has continued its advocacy work in the Commonwealth of Virginia since 1935 through the Virginia State Conference. Additionally, it has continued to pursue advocacy objectives that are in line with policies and plans pertaining to veterans of African heritage.” According to VSC President Robert Barnette, black veterans have made important contributions over the years to the military might of this country.

 Thomas is also requesting support from the citizens as well as other groups and veterans’ organizations to ensure that Mr. Miller and Mr. French are properly recognized for their contributions to this country by making phone calls or sending letters to members of congress and the senate. Organizations such as the National Coalition of Black Veteran Organizations have also shown their support.

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ABOUT THE VIRGINIA NAACP
Founded in 1935, the Virginia State Conference of NAACP Branches (Virginia NAACP) is the oldest and largest nonpartisan civil rights organization in the Commonwealth, overseeing over 100 NAACP branches, youth councils, and college chapters. The Virginia NAACP is focused on being the preeminent voice of Black Virginians and advocating for policies and programs to benefit Blacks and people of color. You can read more about the Virginia NAACP’s work and our six “Game Changer” issue areas by visiting NAACPVA.org.

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