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Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy's First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality
     

Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy's First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality

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by Robert J. Schneller, Jr., Carol Oyster
 

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ISBN-10: 0814740138

ISBN-13: 9780814740132

Pub. Date: 04/01/2005

Publisher: New York University Press

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

Overview

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.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780814740132
Publisher:
New York University Press
Publication date:
04/01/2005
Pages:
331
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.09(d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Acknowledgments
Part I The Glorious Failure: Reconstruction and the Naval Academy, 1872–1876
1 “Not . . . Their Equals Socially”
2 “Speechless Walls as Companions”
Part II Persona Non Grata: Jim Crow and the Naval Academy, 1877–1941
3 Segregation by Occupation
4 “Railroaded Out of Navy”
5 “They Shall Not Pass”
Part III Breaking the Color Barrier: World War II and the First Black Graduate, 1942–1949
6 Racial Policy “Revolution”
7 The Greater Challenge
8 Demerits by the Bucketful
9 Success and Celebrity
Conclusion
Notes
Bibliography
Index
About the Author

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Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy's First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
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, Retired