1949, First African American to Graduate from US Naval Academy
On this day on June 03, 1949, Wesley Anthony Brown became the first African American to graduate from US Naval Academy. He has also involved in both the Korean and Vietnam wars.
Brown was born on April 3, 1927, in Baltimore, Maryland. However, he became the first in his family to attend college, at Howard University, a historically black college.
Meanwhile, on June 30, 1945, Brown became the sixth African American to be admit to the US Academy. The experiences of the first five African Americans admitted to the academy and the challenges Brown. However, the others face the documented in the book Breaking the Color Barrier: The US Naval Academy’s First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality, written by Navy historian Robert J. Schneller Jr.
Brown retired as a lieutenant commander in June 1969 after serving 20 years in the Navy’s Civil Engineer Corps. After that, Brown became as a volunteer motivational speaker; he spoke with Washington, DC high school students and midshipmen of the USNA Black Studies Club during Black History Month. He died aged 85 on May 22, 2012, in Silver Spring, Maryland.
Awards and Honors
- Brown received the American Theater Ribbon and World War II Victory Medal. He has recognized with the 2009 National Society of Black Engineers Golden Torch Legacy Award-First Honoree.
- The Wesley Brown Field House at the U.S. Naval Academy is named in his honor.