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June 05, 1974 - Image 13

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1974-06-05

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Wednesday, June 5, 1974

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

Page Thirteen

Naval Academy seeks black enrollees

(Oontinued from Page 3)
JOHNSON does not think the
problems have hampered his re-
cruiting. He says the kids who
do the hardest questioning are
the ones who probably were not
interested in the academy to
begin with.
"You know the Navy has the
image of being lily white, and
that has hurt. But the anti-
white feeling among youngsters
I'm working with appears to
have lessened that last year or
two. Whether it really in fact
has or whether we're just work-
ing harder, getting to more peo-
ple, I don't know," he added.
A look at academy enrallment
figures would tend to reinforce
feelings about discrimination.
Only two blacks were admtted
to Annapolis prior to 1945 and
both left after one year.
IT WAS 1966 before the num-
ber of black plebes entering
the academy reached double
figures. And it was in 1969 that
the total number of blacks ad-
mitted through 124 years added
up to 112, the same number en-
tering last summer as part of
the class of 1977.
Attracting blacks is only half
the problem for the academies.
Keeping them enrolled and
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happy is the next step.
"As far as being a black here
at the Naval Academy, it's only
what you make of it, really,"
says Kenneth Drum, a senior
from Louisville Ky.
"IF YOU want to set yourself
apart, you can. But you find
whites really- do accept you."
"Sometimes you look back
and realize you have had con-
flicts, but there haven't been
any major ones with white
classmates," the wiry football
player added. He has had white
roomnates throughout his aca-
demy career.
John Mariner, a sophomore
from Norfolk, Va., agrees that
there is "no outward racial dis-

crimination or anything like
than.".
"BUT I get this feeling that
a lot of blacks aren't really as
satisfied as a lot of whites. I
just don't feel that a lot of
blacks really identify with the
Navy" he said.
Mariner thinks the biggest
problem blacks must contend
with is the rugged first-year in-
doctrination all middies under-
go
'You come here from bigh
school where you were in the
top part of the class and they
just cut you down to nothing,"
he explains. "A lot of 'blacks
think they have their pride to
deal with. They just can't really

accept that they have to be so
subservient."
THE ONE area where black
midshipmen agree there is a
problem is socially.
While social opportunities are
limited for all middles, they
think it is worse for blacks.
"You find yourself many a
Saturday night in your room
by yourself," Drum says.
HE SAYS the situation has
improved since the social di-
reotor began bringing more
black girls from Washington
and Baltimore for academy
dances.

In his recruiting trips, John-
son says he runs into frequent
questions about how black offi-
cers fare in the Navy.
"A typical question is wheth-
er, as a black officer, white
enlisted people will take orders
from them," he says.
"WHEN I came into the Navy,
that was something that never
even crossed my mind. That
was something that was auto-
matic, and as it turns out it is
automatic."
Drum and Mariner don't ex-
pect their careers, if they stay
in the service to be hurt by
their race.

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