Frank E. Petersen, First Black General in Marines, Dies at 83

Repeating Islands

petersen-obit-blog427

Many thanks to George Marshall Miller for sharing this obituary piece from The New York Times—“Frank E. Petersen, First Black General in Marines, Dies at 83.” General Petersen, whose father was a sugar-cane plantation worker from St. Croix, U.S. Virgin Islands, was no stranger to discrimination and segregation. Here are excerpts:

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 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…

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