INGLEWOOD, Calif. — LA resident Rosenda Moore has been looking through dozens of photos of her late mother who served in World War II.
“These are so beautiful, these photographs,” Moore said.
Her mother, Lydia Thornton Moore, grew up in Arizona with her Black father and Mexican mother. She enlisted in the U.S. Army after her brother was injured fighting for the country. She joined the 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion, also known as the Six Triple Eight. The unit was the only all-Black, all-female battalion to serve overseas during World War II. Their convoy was nearly bombed crossing the Atlantic. When they arrived, they were tasked with clearing a backlog of letters that soldiers’ loved ones sent from back home to boost morale. The unit worked in a rat-infested warehouse in England for eight-hour shifts, sorting 65,000 pieces of mail a day. The 855 women were given six months to sort the mail. They did it in three. In recognition of their service, they were awarded in March the Congressional Gold Medal. U.S. Sen. Jerry Moran from Kansas spoke about the racism they faced as the Six Triple Eight Congressional Gold Medal Act was passed.
“In Birmingham, England, the very same soldiers the 6888 were committed to helping spread vile rumors just because they were Black women,” Moran said.
Now Black women veterans are honoring Thornton Moore and other Six Triple Eight members by visiting her resting place at Inglewood cemetery and thanking her for paving the way for their service.
Army veteran Latia Suttle of the NAACP Beverly Hills Hollywood Branch Armed Services and Veterans Affairs Committee said the Six Triple Eight needs to be honored.
“They opened a lot of doors for us,” Suttle said. “A lot of untold stories and so it’s important to tell those stories and representation matters.”
Moore said she is thankful to see her mother praised.
“I’m so honored and that you’ve taken the time out of your lives to honor my mother and all of her colleagues in the 6888 it means a lot to me,” Moore said. “It really, really does.”
A Kansas monument was dedicated to the women of the Six Triple Eight in November 2018. A documentary has also been made about their service.
CORRECTION: This story has been updated to include the correct name of the branch Army veteran Latia Suttle is associated with. (May 30, 2022)