Golden Thirteen : How Black Men Won the Right to Wear Navy Gold
by Goldberg, Dan C.

Chapter 1 "We're sending you up to Great Lakes."
Chapter 2 "Don't put your time in Negroes."
Chapter 3 "I just don't believe you can do the job."
Chapter 4 "We are discriminated against in every way."
Chapter 5 "Would it be demanding too much to demand full citizenship?"
Chapter 6 "A cordial spirit of experimentation"
Chapter 7 "As good as any fighting men the US Navy has"
Chapter 8 "You are now men of Hampton."
Chapter 9 "I feel very emphatically that we should commission a few negroes"
Chapter 10 "You can make me an officer, but my parents made me a gentleman."
Chapter 11 "His intelligence and judgment are exceptional."
Chapter 12 "You forget the color and you remember the rank."
Chapter 13 "There is that salute you never got."

"This is the story of the thirteen black men who broke one of the military's most rigid racial barriers and integrated the officer corps of the United States Navy."-

Dan C. Goldberg is an award-winning journalist for Politico. Goldberg has researched the Golden Thirteen for 8 years to restore these men to their rightful place in history.

Drawing from seven years of research into oral histories, interviews, and other sources, journalist Goldberg shares the inspiring legacy of the first Black men commissioned as officers in the U.S. Navy during WWII. These 13 men, all talented, disciplined, and resourceful, are appreciated as humans beings, with distinct backgrounds, attitudes, and idiosyncrasies. Exemplified by the story of a Salina, Kansas, businessman interned as a POW in Germany, this group portrait considers the toll of both discrimination and violence. But solidarity is an equally important focus as the men resolve to succeed together in their training and persevere through adversity, knowing they are breaking barriers for Black men and defying old notions of racial inferiority. Black social and political leaders, including Pittsburg Courier publisher Robert Lee Vann, are shown to have wielded considerable influence, lobbying for integration and naval opportunities for Black men beyond the messman and steward classes. History and military enthusiasts will appreciate Goldberg's detailed chronicles of navy life and analyses of Black American patriotism and WWII-era politics, while the sobering and heartwarming portraits of individuals succeeding against long odds have universal appeal. Copyright 2020 Booklist Reviews.

The moving story of the Navy's first black commissioned officers. Politico journalist Goldberg reminds readers that large numbers of blacks fought in the Revolutionary and Civil wars, but the triumph of Jim Crow after 1900 led to them being phased out. By 1932, blacks made up only 441 of 81,000 Navy men, all working menial jobs. "By the summer of 1940," writes the author, "discrimination in the Army and Navy 'cut deeper into Negro feelings than employment discrimination,' and had replaced lynching as the chief political priority of the black community." Their newspapers and activists pointed out the hypocrisy of fighting for freedom in a nation where they were denied it. In 1942, responding to political pressure, President Franklin Roosevelt ordered reluctant Navy officials to train blacks for better jobs. Goldberg tells his inspiring story through the lives of 16 candidates who joined that year and trained in entirely segregated facilities. They worked at routine jobs within the U.S. until December 1943, when they were flabbergasted to lea rn that they were chosen for officer training. Goldberg delivers a gripping account of the brutal two-month accelerated course taught by mostly white officers, who often made it clear they hoped the men would fail. "The men lived like lab mice caged for experimentation," writes the author. Knowing what was at stake, they studied obsessively, and everyone passed with "a collective 3.89 out of 4.0, the highest average of any class in Navy history." The white pass rate was 75%, so, without explanation, the Navy commissioned only 13 of the men. Forbidden from commanding whites, most supervised black work details, and discrimination continued. Many white sailors refused to salute, and officers' clubs sometimes emptied when black officers entered. Yet, Goldberg emphasizes, the pressure to end segregation persisted. By the time of Harry Truman's 1948 order integrating the armed forces, blacks and whites were working together on many ships. Revealing accounts of highly admirable men working diligently within an unedifying episode in American history. Copyright Kirkus 2020 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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