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A New Book Places a Spotlight on the First Class of Black U.S. Naval Officers

Dan Goldberg has authored an exciting new book that offers an account of the first class of Black men to become U.S. Naval Officers, during World War II.  Their achievement took place at a time when our nation was at war against the Axis powers; and also at war with the ideals of democracy and equality for all. 

Black Americans served admirably in both the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy during the First World War; but after the troops returned home from overseas in 1919, America became anything but a land of opportunity and equality.  In the summer of 1919, Chicago experienced a bloody race riot that would long stain the reputation of the city.  In 1921, race riots in Tulsa, Oklahoma resulted countless deaths – the city is still trying to determine the exact number – and in the destruction of Tulsa’s most prominent Black community.

As was the case during the First World War, America needed the participation of all of its citizens to fight its enemies during the Second World War.  One of the biggest challenges America faced as it went to war centered around the issue of race.  At that time, the U.S. Armed Services were strictly segregated, and no Black officer was allowed to command White servicemen.  The Roosevelt administration’s daring decision to break with naval tradition and begin the process of training Black navy men for officer positions posed a real challenge for the service and the men selected to become officers.  As Dan Goldman notes in his book, the men chosen for officer training were carefully selected based upon their ability to withstand the harsh realities they would face while attempting to break the color line. 

Special thanks to Dan Goldman for bringing this fascinating story to life.  Goldman is a journalist with Politico Pro, specializing in healthcare.  His book debuted May 19th; and is currently available through the Internet.  Politico recently published an article about Goldman’s book, which can be accessed by clicking the image below.