Louisville, KY --
In an effort to encourage the pursuit of higher education in the local African-American community, the Montford Point Marine Association (MPMA), Louisville Chapter 22, publicly recognized one high school senior whose characteristics of leadership, integrity and determination were synonymous with those of the United States Marine Corps.
Kai William Davis, a student at Louisville Male High School, was named as one of two recipients of the Covington-Hagan Scholarship during its 11th Annual Covington-Hagan Scholarship Banquet at the Hilton Garden Louisville Airport Hotel March 21.
“I feel very honored to have received this scholarship and to be presented by all of these Marines,” Davis said. “I feel like the pressure is on now to do well and get the most out of my education.”
The MPMA Louisville Chapter President and Vietnam Veteran who served 33 years in the Marine Corps, Charles H. Stallard handed Davis his scholarship certificate in front of an audience of family, friends, and a handful of the original Montford Point Marines. “Montford Pointers”, as they would become known, were among the 20,000 African American Marines to go through recruit training at Montford Point (present day Camp Johnson) from 1942 until President Harry Truman issued Presidential Order #9981 on July 16, 1948 to establish equality of treatment and opportunity in the armed services.
Brig. Gen. Craig Q. Timberlake, Manpower and Reserve Affairs Director of Manpower Management in Quantico, Virginia, served as guest speaker for the banquet. He addressed the audience and Davis with words of encouragement and a few reasons why he feels the pursuit of education is so important.
“[Education] allows you to understand where you have been,” Timberlake said. “It allows you to examine the past with a critical eye that can separate fact from fiction. It will help you understand why people and things sometimes fail. Education will ensure that you remember your past so that you are not condemned to repeat it.”
Davis is the Vice President of both his senior class and the Student Senate, as well as the Latin Club Officer for his school’s Latin club. Davis has also received three National Latin Exam Honors awards: one for Cum Lauda and two for Maxima Cum Lauda.
Davis’s volunteer experiences include tutoring peer students in the Individualized Education Program, volunteering at his church and the Louisville Zoo. In his spare time, Davis said he likes to play basketball and study Greek Mythology.
Davis received acceptance to the University of Kentucky, University of Tennessee and Auburn University, but ultimately plans to take advantage of the full-tuition scholarship he received from the University of Missouri. There, he plans to study Veterinary medicine, animal science and virology.
“Higher education will also help you examine your present situation and see it for exactly what it is,” Timberlake said. “It will clearly eliminate your mistakes and remove any and all of those rose-colored glasses that we all apply when things don’t always go the way we want them to go.”
The Louisville Chapter of the Montford Point Marine Association began sponsoring a scholarship endeavor to honor John T. Covington, the first president of the Louisville Chapter, and John W. Hagan, the Director of The Veteran Administration, Louisville Office. These two men were original “Montford Pointers” and endured much to be called United States Marines.