Wednesday, October 27, 2021
The Battleship Iowa Museum To Honor Black History Month With Historical Display And Award
By Sentinel News Service
Published January 31, 2017
Samuel L. Gravely, the first African American to command a Navy warship.

Samuel L. Gravely, the first African American to command a Navy warship.

The Battleship IOWA Museum is adding a temporary display entitled “Celebrating the American Spirit – Battleship IOWA Salutes Black History Month,” that will be part of the ship’s tour through February 28. Guests will get a glimpse into the achievements that many African Americans made in the United States Navy and service for this country.

The exhibit focuses on five pioneering black servicemen: Robert Penn, a Medal of Honor recipient; Alex Haley, the first chief journalist for the Coast Guard; John Henry “Dick” Turpin, one of the first African American Chief Petty Officer in the United States Navy; Doris “Dorie” Miller, the first African American to be awarded the Navy Cross; and Samuel L. Gravely, the first African American to command a Navy warship.



The Vice Admiral Samuel L. Gravely Leadership & Service Award, which is conferred annually by Pacific Battleship Center (PBC), will be presented on February 16 aboard the historic ship. This award recognizes African American leaders in Southern California who exemplify the trailblazing service of the late Vice Admiral.

Also during February, Battleship IOWA will dedicate social media posts to recognize the contributions that African Americans have made in service of the United States.

Battleship IOWA is the West Coasts only Battleship open to the public and is celebrating its fifth year at the L.A. Waterfront. Owned and operated by the nonprofit Pacific Battleship Center (PBC), Battleship IOWA is an interactive naval museum dedicated to celebrating the American spirit. Battleship IOWA offers daily tours from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. For more information, please visit

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