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Download The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers Audiobook

Extended Audio Sample The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers, by Paul Stillwell Click for printable size audiobook cover
3 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 53 out of 5 3.00 (11 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Paul Stillwell Narrator: Alan Bomar Jones Publisher: Tantor Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In January 1944, sixteen black enlisted men gathered at the Great Lakes Naval Training Station in Illinois to begin a cram course that would turn them into the US Navy’s first African American officers on active duty. The men believed that if they failed they would set back the course of racial justice, so they banded together, and all sixteen passed the course. Twelve were commissioned as ensigns, and a thirteenth was made a warrant officer.

Years later these pioneers came to be known as the Golden Thirteen, but at the outset they were treated more as pariahs than pioneers. Often denied the privileges and respect routinely accorded white naval officers, they were given menial assignments unworthy of their abilities and training. Yet despite this discrimination, these inspirational young men broke new ground and opened the door for generations to come.

In 1986 oral historian Paul Stillwell began recording the memories of the surviving members of the Golden Thirteen. He also interviewed three white officers who served with and supported the efforts of these men during World War II. This book collects their stories.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “Filled with interesting detail, especially about differing white and black perceptions of the military, this is a welcome addition covering a little-explored area of African American history."

    Library Journal

  • “This collection of interviews with eight surviving members of the group (plus three white officers who served with them) is not so much about their years in the Navy as it is about ‘what it was to grow up, to make a living, to be American, to be black’ in the middle years of this century.”

    Publishers Weekly

  • “Because this book was developed from a collection of extended interviews, it translates well to audio.”


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About the Author

Paul Stillwell joined the staff of the United States Naval Institute in 1974 and is now director of the organization’s history division. He has a bachelor’s degree in history from Drury College and a master’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri–Columbia. From 1962 to 1988, he was in the Naval Reserve, including active duty from 1966 to 1969; he served in the tank-landing ship Washoe County (LST-1165) and the battleship New Jersey (BB-62). Among his publications are USS South Dakota: The Story of Battleship X, Battleship New Jersey: An Illustrated History, and Air Raid: Pearl Harbor!