"The Mt. Union story is a profoundly satisfying account of human achievement over the generations. A population which, at the beginning of the Twentieth Century, was surviving in an intimate agricultural attachment to the earth, now finds itself proudly producing leaders in all of the professions, and led in that proud procession by military leaders proven in the crucible of war. This is a well told, deeply touching saga of rebounding from slavery. What an impressive group of people! It is a source of pride that we are fellow Americans."

- Capt. Herbert E. Melendy
United States Navy (retired)


“The Mt. Union story is a true testimony of moral courage and human dignity. It is a testimony of the tenacity that Black Americans have possessed to overcome the obstacles placed in their way. It has been said that there are two basic types of tenacious people: bit players on the world stage, who struggle to survive and lead lives of quiet dignity; and those who are movers and shakers – those key players who bring about momentous change whether on the battlefield, in a laboratory, or at a meeting of world leaders. In Mt. Union both types of tenacious people are present.

“There is an abundance of profound wisdom in this story, insight that has contributed immeasurably to their success. They came from a close agricultural community that had somewhat been forgotten by the rest of society, yet they did not allow this to inhibit their ability to prevail. On the world stage they became generals, teachers, doctors, showing the world that where you come from doesn’t dictate where you’re going. There are those who make opportunities for you, open doors for you, but as Colonel Howard Daniels stated “It’s our responsibility to walk through those doors.” And the doors that the residents of Mt. Union have since walked through, resonates these words. We are all born somebody, and when we become adults we want to be “somebody.” This wisdom reinforces the fact that where we go in life is determined by our own commitment. Our mothers, fathers, grandparents, etc. can influence, but our destiny in life is determined by our own commitment.

“The Mt. Union story is a part of our history that every young Black American must see. Today too much of our younger generation has lost sight of the importance of personal responsibility, the key ingredient to one’s success.

“On a personal note, my success in life is owed to an individual of the Mt. Union documentary, Lt. General Julius Becton. In 1979 I was a dishwasher in a restaurant in Harrison, New Jersey. One day while waiting for the bus, I spotted the Ebony magazine on the newsstand. The cover story caught my attention, “Meet the Boss of the United States Army’s biggest combat force.” Lt. General Becton was the Commanding General of the Seventh Army Corps in Germany, a unit composed of more than 88,000 troops. General Becton’s success became a driving force for me to earn my GED and leave the dead-end dishwasher job.

“Last November I had the opportunity to convey my gratitude to General Becton for his positive influence in my life. A requirement of an English class I was enrolled in, the student had to write a paper on a social or professional issue of personal importance. I chose to write my paper on Executive Order 9981. One of the requirements was that we had to interview someone relevant to our topic. I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Admiral Reason. Also the student had to write a letter to ask someone to read our paper. The letter did not have to be mailed, however I chose this opportunity to write General Becton to let him know the impact his success had on my life. I received a B for the paper and an A for the course.”

- Andre Grisham
Disbursing Management Instructor
Government Education & Training Programs
Tidewater Community College – Norfolk, VA


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