Blue & Gold and Black: Racial Integration of the U.S. Naval Academy / Edition 1

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Overview

During the twentieth century, the U.S. Naval Academy evolved from a racist institution to one that ranked equal opportunity among its fundamental tenets. This transformation was not without its social cost, however, and black midshipmen bore the brunt of it.

Blue & Gold and Black is the history of integration of African Americans into the Naval Academy. The book examines how civil rights advocates’ demands for equal opportunity shaped the Naval Academy’s evolution. Author Robert J. Schneller Jr. analyzes how changes in the Academy’s policies and culture affected the lives of black midshipmen, as well as how black midshipmen effected change in the Academy’s policies and culture.

Most institutional history is written from the top down, while most social history is written from the bottom up. Based on the documentary record as well as on the memories of hundreds of midshipmen and naval officers, Blue & Gold and Black includes both perspectives. By examining both the institution and the individual, a much more accurate picture emerges of how racial integration occurred at the Naval Academy.

Schneller takes a biographical approach to social history. Through written correspondence, responses to questionnaires, memoirs, and oral histories, African American midshipmen recount their experiences in their own words. Rather than setting adrift their humanity and individuality in oceans of statistics, Schneller uses their first-hand recollections to provide insights into the Academy’s culture that cannot be gained from official records. Covering the Jim Crow era, the civil rights movement, and the empowerment of African Americans from the late 1960s through the end of the twentieth century, Blue & Gold and Black traces the transformation of an institution that produces men and women who lead not only the Navy, but also the nation.

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Editorial Reviews

Washington Times
". . . vivid history which blends the style of Studs Turkel with the rigor of the best academic writing. . ."-Washington Times
The Daily News
"Schneller uses their firsthand recollections to provide insights into the academy's culture that cannot be gained from official records."
The Journal of American History
". . . solid study. . . Scholars of military, civil rights, and twentieth-century history will want this book for their libraries."-Journal of American History
Doctor - Regina T. Akers
"…sure to become one of the most important contributions to naval, military, race relations, Cold War, and Afro-American scholarship in the last twenty-fifty years. Dr. Schneller has captured long neglected and missing chapters of naval history, the Civil Rights Movement in the U.S. in general and at the Naval Academy, specifically. . . . Military and civilian leaders/managers combating racism, sexism, and traditionalism will benefit from Schneller’s analysis of the effective and ineffective approaches that the navy took. More importantly, this book will reassure readers that great progress can be made toward resolving these problems."—Regina T. Akers, Operational Archives, Naval Historical Center
Washington Times

". . . vivid history which blends the style of Studs Turkel with the rigor of the best academic writing. . ."

The Daily News

"Schneller uses their firsthand recollections to provide insights into the academy's culture that cannot be gained from official records."

The Journal of American History

". . . solid study. . . Scholars of military, civil rights, and twentieth-century history will want this book for their libraries."

Washington Times
". . . vivid history which blends the style of Studs Turkel with the rigor of the best academic writing. . ."-Washington Times
The Journal of American History
". . . solid study. . . Scholars of military, civil rights, and twentieth-century history will want this book for their libraries."-Journal of American History
The Daily News
"Schneller uses their firsthand recollections to provide insights into the academy's culture that cannot be gained from official records."
U.S. Naval Institute Proceedings

Thanks to his remarkably thorough research and his cast of mind, Schneller has produced what is likely to remain the definitive work on a process that took far too long to accomplish.

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Product Details

Meet the Author

ROBERT J. SCHNELLER JR. has been an historian in the Contemporary History Branch since joining the Naval Historical Center in 1991. He is the author of five previous books on naval history, two of which have won prestigious awards. His Ph.D. is from Duke University. He lives in Woodbridge, Virginia

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations     ix
Preface and Acknowledgments     xi
Official Neglect: Token Representation, 1945-1965
"We Make No Special Effort"     3
Growing Up under Segregation     31
Sweep It under the Rug     49
"Tolerated without Further Attention"     72
Outside the Mainstream     88
Racial Policy Revolution: African Americans Assimilate, 1965-1976
"Shaking the Very Dickens Out of Us"     113
Growing Up in Turbulent Times     140
Forms of Discrimination     161
"We're Not Going to Stand for It"     188
Fully Integrated     217
Unparalleled Opportunity: African American Men and Women, 1976-1999
Toward Proportional Representation     247
Overall Improvement and Ongoing Inequality     276
Racism Was a Fringe Attitude, Sexism Was Mainstream     300
"No White Midshipman in Their Right Mind"     314
"Blessed to Have Had the Opportunity"     343
Conclusion     369
Notes     381
Bibliography     413
Index     427
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