Lt. Commander Wesley Brown, April 3, 1927 -- May 22, 2012
May 25, 2012 7:55 AM Subscribe
posted by Rangeboy (15 comments total)
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Wesley Brown, the first black man to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy
, has died
. He was 85 years old.
Born in Baltimore, Brown was appointed to the academy in 1945, and graduated in 1949. He was the sixth black student to attend the school, but the first to graduate. During his time there, he was harassed by white students and given excessive demerits. One of the few classmates who encouraged him to stay the course was his fellow track team member Jimmy Carter
After graduation, Brown entered the Navy's Civil Engineer Corps and served in the Korean and Vietnam wars. He retired from the Navy in 1969. In 2008, the Naval Academy dedicated the Wesley Brown Field House
, a $50 million, 140,000-square foot recreational facility.
In 2005, Brown was honored by the Veterans' History Project of the Library of Congress
. Brown also discussed his experiences at the Navy academy with author Robert J. Schneller Jr.
, for his book Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy's First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality
. While acknowledging the prejudice he experienced, Brown said he chose not to focus on it.
"The more years that go by I remember the good stuff and not any bad stuff at all."