October 13, 1926 Jesse LeRoy Brown, the first African American naval aviator in the United States Navy, was born in Hattiesburg, Mississippi. Brown enlisted in the Naval Reserve in 1946. After attending Navy pre-flight school and flight training, he was designated a naval aviator in October, 1948. He received his commission as ensign in April, […]
September 15, 1935 William Pinkney, the first African American to sail around the world solo, was born in Chicago, Illinois. After graduating from high school, Pinkney was trained as an x-ray technician and served in the United States Navy from 1956 to 1960 as a hospital corpsman second class. In 1977, he bought his first […]
July 17, 1967 John William Coltrane, jazz saxophonist and composer, died. Coltrane was born September 23, 1926 in Hamlet, North Carolina. In 1945, he enlisted in the United States Navy and played in the Navy jazz band. After returning to civilian life, Coltrane began freelancing around Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. From October, 1955 to April, 1957, Coltrane […]
June 27, 1999 Marion Motley, hall of fame football player, died. Motley was born June 5, 1920 in Leesburg, Georgia but raised in Canton, Ohio. After playing college football at South Carolina University and the University of Nevada, Motley joined the United States Navy and played for the Great Lakes Naval Training Station team.
April 19, 1992 Joseph B. Williams, Sr., the first African American graduate of the United States Merchant Marine Academy, died. Williams was born in Annapolis, Maryland and graduated from Hampton Institute in 1942. In 1942, he graduated from the academy and served in the U. S. Navy during World War II and the Korean War.
March 1, 1927 Harold George “Harry” Belafonte, Jr., musician, actor and social activist, was born in New York City. Belafonte served in the United States Navy during World War II and after his discharge began his music career singing in clubs to pay for acting classes.
November 13, 1942 Leonard Roy Harmon, the first African American to have a Navy ship named in his honor, died. Harmon was born January 21, 1917 in Cuero, Texas. He enlisted in the Navy in June, 1939 and in October of that year was assigned to the USS San Francisco. By 1942, Harmon had advanced […]
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