Foundation for Women Warriors hosts a screening of the 6888th documentary

Julia LeDoux
July 13, 2020 - 1:17 pm
6888

File photo

The contributions of over 800 African American women who sorted mail in a segregated unit during World War II will be recognized Friday in San Diego, California during a free screening of producer James William Theres "The Six Triple Eight" documentary.

“No mail, no morale,” was the motto of the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, the U.S. Army’s only all-African American and all-female unit during World War II, said Marine veteran Keisha Javis-Jones, who was inspired to serve herself by the stories of the women who made up the unit.

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“They created trailblazing,” she said.

In 1945, warehouses and Red Cross workers in England became overwhelmed with a backlog of mail and packages addressed to U.S. service members, Javis-Jones said.

That’s where the 6888th came in. Under the direction of Lt. Col Charity Edna Adams, the women traveled to Camp Shanks, New York after boot camp, arriving in Birmingham, England, to a dimly lit and rat-infested warehouse with mail stacked to the ceilings, Javis-Jones said. 

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While serving overseas, the women encountered both racism and sexism, she continued.

“It really was a sisterhood,” Javis-Jones said.

By dividing their work in shifts that ran every day, all day, the women processed an average of 65,000 pieces of mail per shift, clearing the previous six-month backlog of letters in just three months.

Javis-Jones’ grandfather was one of the American GI’s who received mail thanks to the women’s efforts.

“He used to tell me stories about what he went through in terms of racial discrimination,” she recalled. “He said the only thing that kept him going was those letters.”

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Javis-Jones said the women of the 6888th are the largely unknown heroes of World War II -- heroes who deserve to have their story told and known.

“They need to be honored for their service,” she said.

The documentary screening is being hosted by the Foundation for Women Warriors. More information can be found here.

Reach Julia LeDoux at Julia@connectingvets.com.

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