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

4.3 out of 5 stars 6 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 858-0000289312
ISBN-10: 0814740138
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Editorial Reviews

Review

“This detailed story is one that has been long overdue in being told. Dr. Schneller has told it exceedingly well.”
-Proceedings/U.S. Naval Institute



“Not only has [Schneller] given us his remarkable insight into one man's story of courage, perseverance and determination, but he has framed that dramatic experience within the larger narration of American race relations in the twentieth century…. Anyone desiring a more complete understanding of African Americans' struggle to desegregate the armed forces will find this book indispensable.”

-Journal of American History

“A marvelous book. Schneller takes what might first appear to be a fairly narrow topic and offers a sweeping, well-researched account which places the question of race at the Naval Academy in the context of the Navy and the nation.”
-International Journal of Maritime History



“This richly researched and judiciously written study facilitates deeper comprehension of how institutional racism preserved white hegemony in the U.S. Navy until Midshipman Wesley Brown detonated its color barrier.”
-Darlene Clark Hine,author of A Shining Thread of Hope: The History of Black Women in America



“Describes for the first time the difficulties Wesley Brown endured and the concerted effort by a ‘tight knot’ of Southern upperclassmen to oust him using racial epithets, ostracism, and demerits.”
-Washington Post

About the Author

Robert J. Schneller Jr. is an official historian in the Contemporary History Branch of the U.S. Navy’s Naval Historical Center and holds a Ph.D. in military history from Duke University. He is an award-winning biographer and historian, and has published several books on American naval history, including Shield and Sword: The United States Navy and the Persian Gulf War, and A Quest for Glory: A Biography of Rear Admiral John A. Dahlgren. He lives in Washington, D.C.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 331 pages
  • Publisher: NYU Press (April 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0814740138
  • ISBN-13: 978-0814740132
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,476,535 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By John Matlock on April 21, 2005
Format: Hardcover
The civil rights history of the United States has a number of people, such as Martin Luther King, that stand out as giants among men. While certainly important in the struggle for civil rights, the whole movement was as much dependent on an awful lot of lessor known, even unknown people: Charleen Hunter, the little girl going to school in Little Rock; Rosa Parks, the lady riding the bus in Montgomery.

This book brings another to the fore, Wesley Brown, the first African American to graduate from the United States Naval Academy. His is a story of undue harassment by southern students, and a strength that I don't think I would have had. It's a story worth telling and well told in this new book.

What the book doesn't mention is that after graduating Mr. Brown remained in the Navy until he retired in 1969 as Lt. Commander. To further honor Mr. Brown, the Navy is now intended to build the Wesley Brown Field House at the academy.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I knew this person. We went to the same high school. He was always cool under pressure. The Naval academy named a gym for him. THIS IS A MUST READ FOR ALL BLACKS..
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This book was a great help in unraveling the mysteries of my father, and his time is the service,
that he never talked about.
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