Archive for the 'African American history' Category

Feb 12

A Step Forward

Tuesday, February 12, 2019 12:01 AM

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Less than two years after becoming the first African American commissioned as a regular officer in the Navy, Ensign John W. Lee stands at his battle station on board the aircraft carrier USS Kearsarge, his wish to serve in a large combatant ship granted. (U.S. Naval Institute Photo Archive)

On 15 March 1947, one month to the day before Jackie Robinson became the first black player in baseball’s major leagues, John Wesley Lee Jr. became the first African American to be commissioned as a regular officer in the Navy, that is, no longer a reservist. Many citizens of this country made it clear that they did not welcome Robinson’s arrival in baseball. He received numerous death threats and other pieces of hate mail. John Lee achieved his milestone without encountering hostility, and that was at least in part the result of how the Navy arranged things for him. After… Read the rest of this entry »