PEEK

The Harder Path Traveled

Richard Blair: Long before the civil rights struggles of the 1960's, Capt. David Parham (USN-Ret.) blazed trails for the military.
There are days when I think about the topic of equality, in all its various forms, and lament the fact that America still has miles to go in terms of accepting our national diversity. And then there are days when I learn a bit of history, and allow that we've come a long way in a (relatively speaking) short period of time. This morning, David Parham's life story taught me a little bit of that history.

He was the first African American to be promoted to the rank of Captain in the U.S. Navy, which is one step shy of flag-rank Admiral. I don't suppose that this would be particularly remarkable, except that it happened fairly recently - 1966. Parham was also the second black chaplain in the U.S. Navy chaplain corps, having entered the corps in 1944, a few years after being told by a Navy recruiter that his application couldn't be taken because of his color. He finally retired in 1982.

Capt. David Parham passed away on April 16th. The story of his life, which I've only synopsized above, is truly inspirational. If you need a bit of a lift today, check it out.
Richard Blair is a Philadelphia based freelance writer, and the blogmaster of All Spin Zone.
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