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Historian to discuss integration of black officers into the U. S. Navy

For Immediate Release: September 22

Media Contact:
Bill Garvin
Theme Year Director
Office: (417) 873-7482

SPRINGFIELD, Mo., Sep. 22, 2010 —Paul Stillwell will recount his research on the Golden Thirteen, the first black officers to serve in the Navy, on Thursday, Sept. 23, at 11 a.m. in Stone Chapel at Drury University.

Stillwell, Drury class of 1966, grew up on and near the Drury campus. During that time, he and his brother Mark absorbed values and inspiration from their father Carl, who was part of the college's administration for 25 years. In particular their dad, who was also a minister, preached and practiced the tenets of racial tolerance and understanding.

In 1944, the U.S. Navy commissioned the first black officers in its history—pioneers who came to be known as the Golden Thirteen. In the 1980s, drawing on his dad's example, Stillwell did oral history interviews with the eight members of the original 13 who were still living. He compiled their stories into the book The Golden Thirteen: Recollections of the First Black Naval Officers, which preserves a significant slice of history that would otherwise have been lost.

Drury University’s 2010-2011 convocation series The Persistence of Memory, Perspectives on the Past examines history and how it relates to our understanding of the present. All events are free and open to the public unless otherwise noted. For more details about speakers visit or contact Theme Year Director Bill Garvin at (417) 873-7482.


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