R.I.P. Frank E. Petersen, Jr.


From the NY Times:

Frank E. Petersen Jr., who suffered bruising racial indignities as a military enlistee in the 1950s and was even arrested at an officers’ club on suspicion of impersonating a lieutenant, but who endured to become the first black aviator and the first black general in the Marine Corps, died on Tuesday at his home in Stevensville, Md., near Annapolis. He was 83.

The cause was lung cancer, his wife, Alicia, said.

The son of a former sugar-cane plantation worker from St. Croix, the Virgin Islands, General Petersen grew up in Topeka, Kan., when schools were still segregated. He was told to retake a Navy entrance exam by a recruiter who suspected he had cheated the first time; steered to naval training as a mess steward because of his race; and ejected from a public bus while training in Florida for refusing to sit with the other black passengers in the back.

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2 thoughts on “R.I.P. Frank E. Petersen, Jr.

  1. R.I.P. 😦 Thank you so much for telling this great man*s story. I did not know about him until now. Prayers and condolences to his family.

  2. ..Ditto, Courtney-he was one of the great pioneers of Black folk who opened doors for many of us other POC, according to his amazing life story about his endurance and overcoming of hardships/aka USA racism (haterism). R.I.P. Frank E. Petersen, Jr.

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