HATTIESBURG, MISS. – Wednesday morning, the African American Military Museum took a dive into “Black History Month” by examing the history of a prominent member of the U.S. Navy.
During the black history event, guest speaker, Edmond Hughes (the vice president and human resources & administration for Ingalls Shipbuilding) spoke about ships Ingalls named after prominent African American military members. However, Hughes focused particularly on a ship the company built back in 2007.
“The one we are going to talk about today is the USS Samuel Gravely,” Hughes stated. “That [ship] was built by Ingalls and named after the first African American admiral in the navy.”
Samuel Gravely Jr. became the first African American to command a warship during a time of combat, and the highly decorated Navy officer also pioneered the way for many more African Americans to follow in his footsteps.
“That’s what I really wanted to highlight during Black History Month is the role that these individuals played,” Hughes said. “First, they had a distinguished career in the military, and to have a ship named in their honor is really important and impressive.”
Currently, Ingalls Shipbuilding has a total of three ships named after prominent African American military members, with the most recent ship, USS Ralph Johnson being commissioned in 2018.