Daily Archives: February 4, 2014

Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely Jr: Pioneer of Integration and Civil Rights in the U.S. Navy

Friends of Padre Steve’s World. It has been a long day getting the house dewatered after the great flood and the afternoon was spent looking at options for the new flooring. Since I am tired and it is Black History Month I am republishing an older article about a great American and pioneer in the integration of the Navy Officer Corps, Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely. He is a great example for all Americans, a man who conquered individual and institutional racism and prejudice and a man who blazed a trail for so many other African Americans in the military, including the new Vice Chief of Naval Operations, Admiral Michele Howard, the first African American and the First Woman to serve in that position. Have a great night. Peace, Padre Steve+

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“I was sure that I could not afford to fail. I thought that would affect other members of my race if I failed anywhere along the line. I was always conscious of that, particularly in midshipman school and any other schools I went to…I tried to set a record of perfect conduct ashore and at sea.” Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely

Things have changed much since 1942 when following the attack on Pearl Harbor a young black college student from Richmond Virginia enlisted in the Navy. Samuel Gravely Jr. was the son of a postal worker and Pullman porter while his mother worked as a domestic servant for white families in Richmond. His mother died unexpectedly when he was 15 in 1937 and he remained to help care for his siblings as his father continued to work. Balancing the care of his family with his education he enrolled in Virginia Union…

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