Breaking the Naval Academy Color Barrier
The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress honored Lt. Commander Wes Brown (Ret.), who in 1949 became the first black to… read more
The Veterans History Project of the Library of Congress honored Lt. Commander Wes Brown (Ret.), who in 1949 became the first black to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy. During this event at the Library of Congress he discussed his experience breaking the color barrier at Annapolis. He discussed the place of this goal in the civil rights struggle and the continued success of black graduates of the service academies.
Delegate Eleanor Holmes Norton and Kerwin Miller spoke about the service of Lt. Commander Brown, including working with him on the academy selection committee. Current Naval Academy Midshipman Matthew Bowman spoke about his legacy. Robert Schneller spoke about how he came to write on this subject and the history of efforts to break the color barrier. He spoke about the assistance that Wes Brown gave to his project and about his academy experiences.
Robert Schneller is the author of Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy’s First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality, published by New York University Press. At the end of the event the panelists signed copies of the book. The concurrent question period was not included in the program. close
*The transcript for this program was compiled from uncorrected Closed Captioning.
People in this video
- Matthew Bowman Midshipman U.S. Naval Academy
- Wesley A. Brown Lieutenant Commander (Retired) U.S. Navy
- Kerwin Miller Director District of Columbia->Mayor's Office of Veterans' Affairs
- Debra Murphy Coordinator Veterans History Project->Minority Outreach
- Eleanor Holmes Norton Congressional Delegate [D] District of Columbia
- Robert J. Schneller Jr. Historian U.S. Naval Historical Center->Contemporary History Branch
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