U.S. Navy Launches Oral History Project of Its First Black ROTC Recruits at a Black College or University

The United States Navy is conducting an oral history project involving the first black recruits to an ROTC program at a historically black college or university. In 1968, 13 African-American men enrolled in the new ROTC program at Prairie View A&M University in Texas. At the time, there were 236 African Americans among a total of 72,000 officers in the Navy. Of the 13 recruits, 10 eventually became naval officers and three joined the Marines. Of the 10 black Navy officers to come out of the 1968 ROTC class at Prairie View A&M, two rose to the rank of admiral.

The oral history interviews, which include the recruits and two of their instructors, were conducted at the Naval History and Heritage Command in Washington, D.C.