December 14


Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr.

Samuel Gravely
Vice Admiral Samuel Gravely, Jr.
On December 14, 1944 Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. became the first African American commissioned as an officer from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course.  Gravely would eventually become a Vice Admiral.  Vice Admiral Samuel Lee Gravely, Jr. was born on June 4, 1922 in Richmond, Virginia.  Admiral Gravely was the first African American Naval Officer to command a U.S. Navy warship, the first African American since the Civil War to command an American warship under combat conditions, the first African American to command a major naval warship, the first African American to become an admiral and the first to become a vice admiral. Gravely was also the first African American to become a fleet commander.  He commanded the Third Fleet in Hawaii which included 60,000 officers and 100 ships.  Admiral Gravely retired in 1980 as a Vice Admiral directing the Defense Communications Agency.  He was a veteran of World War II, The Korean and Vietnam Wars.  He died on October 22, 2004 in Bethesda, Maryland at age 82.

Words That Matter

Frederick Douglass

"Once let the black man get upon his person the brass letter, U.S., let him get an eagle on his button, and a musket on his shoulder and bullets in his pocket, there is no power on earth that can deny that he has earned the right to citizenship."

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