RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — The first African-American admiral in the U.S. Navy will now be honored every year in Virginia.
June 2, is now Admiral Samuel Gravely Jr. Day in the Commonwealth. Gov. Ralph Northam made this announcement on the 50th anniversary of Gravely becoming the first African-American to rise to the rank of admiral. He was also the first Black man to command a U.S. Navy warship.
“I am pleased to honor Admiral Samuel L. Gravely, Jr. for his many ground-breaking accomplishments,” Northam said in a statement.
“It took courage and patriotism to sign up for service after Pearl Harbor. Admiral Gravely continued to display that courage with a string of firsts—from being the first African American commissioned from the Navy Reserve Officer Training Course, to becoming the first African American to command a U.S. Fleet. I’m proud that Admiral Gravely is a Virginian, and I hope that on June 2, more Virginians will learn more about him and his leadership.”
Tracey Gravely, his daughter, said she is always learning more about her father’s accomplishments.
“It might be something I didn’t even know about him, so it makes me very proud that I was adopted by a man who was so large in his own way,” she said.
Graves was born in Richmond in 1922. There is also a city street in the city’s East End named in his memory.