- Shopping Bag ( 0 items )
Ships from: Burbank, CA
Usually ships in 1-2 business days
Winner of the 2006 Richard W. Leopold Prize from the Organization of American Historians
Winner of the 2006 George Pendleton Prize from the Society for History in the Federal Government
Only five black men were admitted to the United States Naval Academy between Reconstruction and the beginning of World War II. None graduated, and all were deeply scarred by intense racial discrimination, ranging from brutal hazing incidents to the institutionalized racist policies of the Academy itself.
Breaking the Color Barrier examines the black community's efforts to integrate the Naval Academy, as well as the experiences that black midshipmen encountered at Annapolis. Historian Robert J. Schneller analyzes how the Academy responded to demands for integration from black and white civilians, civil rights activists, and politicians, as well as what life at the Academy was like for black midshipmen and the encounters they had with their white classmates.
In 1949, Midshipman Wesley Brown achieved what seemed to be the impossible: he became the first black graduate of the Academy. Armed with intelligence, social grace, athleticism, self-discipline, and an immutable pluck, as well as critical support from friends and family, Congressman Adam Clayton Powell, and the Executive Department, Brown was able to confront and ultimately shatter the Academy’s tradition of systematic racial discrimination.
Based on the Navy’s documentary records and on personal interviews with scores of midshipmen and naval officers, Breaking the Color Barrier sheds light on the Academy’s first step in transforming itself from a racist institution to one that today ranks equal opportunity among its fundamental tenets.
“A marvelous book. Schneller takes what might first appear to be a fairly narrow topic and offers a sweeping, well-researched account which places the question of race at the Naval Academy in the context of the Navy and the nation.”
-International Journal of Maritime History
“Describes for the first time the difficulties Wesley Brown endured and the concerted effort by a ‘tight knot’ of Southern upperclassmen to oust him using racial epithets, ostracism, and demerits.”
“This detailed story is one that has been long overdue in being told. Dr. Schneller has told it exceedingly well.”
-Proceedings/U.S. Naval Institute
“This richly researched and judiciously written study facilitates deeper comprehension of how institutional racism preserved white hegemony in the U.S. Navy until Midshipman Wesley Brown detonated its color barrier.”
-Darlene Clark Hine,author of A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America
Posted August 22, 2005
Six Afro-Americans attended the US Naval Academy between 1872 and 1945. None had completed more than one year of the four year course until 1949.What caused the first five to fail? What part did their classmates,upperclassmen,Academy brass and Navy officials play in their fates? This book is extremely well written by a prize winning author and historian. I was impressed by President Jimmy Carter's endorsement and the picture of the black naval officer with his mother on the cover.As it turned out,their story was in the last half of the book.Nevertheless. it kept my interest and i couldn't put it down. oh yes-it has a happy ending US Navy, RetiredWas this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.