North Carolina A&T State University alumnus Fleetwood Howell has been posthumously awarded the Congressional Gold Medal, the nation’s highest civilian honor for distinguished achievement.

Howell was among the first blacks to join the U.S. Marine Corps at Montford Point at Camp Lejeune during World War II. He served 1943-46 and attended N.C. A&T on the G.I. Bill. He was discharged at the rank of corporal after a tour of duty in Guam and  went on to A&T to earn a certificate in tailoring. He later took a job in the university bookstore as a manager where he worked until retirement.

A Greensboro native, Howell died March 19 at the age of 93.

President Barack Obama signed the bill into law ordering the design of the medal in honor of the first black marines in November. The ceremony is tentatively scheduled for May.

Howell is survived by his wife, Alice, a daughter, Artenia Boyce of Winston-Salem, and a son, James Howell of Washington, D.C.
To learn more about the Montford Point Marines, visit http://www.montfordpointmarines.com/.