An all-Black and brown female battalion from WWII, known as The 6888th Battalion, are receiving some much deserved recognition. Maryland Governor Wes Moore recently signed the 6888th Bill, HB370. The bill recognizes March 9th as “6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion Day.”
The 6888th Battalion was a WWII battalion comprising over 800 Black and brown women. They sorted and handled confidential information for the U.S. Army. Unfortunately, these brave women were not recognized for their contributions to American and Black history because of the racism and misogyny Black women faced. Sadly, it was not until years later that these received recognition.
Kevin M. Hymel detailed the battalion’s experiences in the Army Historical Foundation.
“The women of the 6888th were discouraged when they discovered warehouses crammed from floor to ceiling with mail and packages that had not been delivered for at least two years,” Kevin M. Hymel wrote. “Rats the size of cats had broken into some of the Christmas care packages for front-line soldiers and eaten their contents. The women went to work, organizing a system that would break the bottleneck of undelivered mail.”
Their motto was “No mail, low morale.” They focused on getting mail to soldiers and raising their morale.
The 6888th Battalion Receives Recognition Decades Later
According to The Washington Post, Congress recognized the battalion in 2022 at the Arlington National Cemetery. Sadly, many women had died by that time, so their children were present. Until recently, the Tuskegee Airmen were some of the most prominent Black soldiers recognized for serving their country. However, over one million Black men and women served in the Armed Forces during WWII.
Retired Col. Edna W. Cummings and a 6888th Battalion advocate explained to Afro News the significance of March 9th.
“This commemorative day provides an opportunity to learn more about the trailblazing journey of Black Maryland veterans who were at the forefront of civil rights during World War II and beyond,” Cummings said in the interview.
In addition, celebrities like Tyler Perry, Oprah, and Kerry Washington are working to shine a light on the 6888th Battalion. Actor and filmmaker Tyler Perry is currently directing “Six Triple Eight,” a film that tells the story of the women of the 6888th Battalion. While last year around Memorial Day, Kerry Washington shared an Instagram post honoring Lena King.
As the women of the 6888th finally get the recognition they deserve, hopefully they will continue to be honored as more details about their contributions are learned.