Retired Lt. Cmdr. Wesley A. Brown, who broke the color barrier at the Naval Academy and was its first African-American graduate in 1949, died Tuesday of cancer at Springhouse of Silver Spring Assisted Living.
He was 85.
"It's important for America to remember Wesley A. Brown. He was a pioneer like Jesse Owens and Jackie Robinson," said Navy historian Robert J. Schneller Jr., who wrote about Commander Brown's years at the Naval Academy in his book "Breaking the Color Barrier: The U.S. Naval Academy's First Black Midshipmen and the Struggle for Racial Equality."
"The Naval Academy was damned lucky to have such a fine gentleman that Wesley Brown was...