Rockford’s first black Marine memorialized on Ogilby Road

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ROCKFORD (WREX) — Homer Hempstead was Rockford’s first black marine to battle in World War II at the age of 17. He is officially memorialized on the south-west side of Rockford.

“My father was never a man who didn’t have something to say, but this would literally leave him speechless,” said Hicks’ Daughter Anita Hempstead-Winbush.

Ogilby Road will now be an honorary road dedicated to Hempstead. Hempstead’s family has lived on Ogilby Road since 1963. Hempstead past away in 2015 at the age of 89.

Family members say his trailblazing legacy will now be remembered forever.

“When there are people who step forward to make a difference and try to bring about change, in a way that helps others. That’s something to be celebrated and that’s what we are celebrating here today,” said 17th Congressional District Cheri Bustos.

The honorary name spans from South Main to South Central on Ogilby.

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