A boy was born this day in Hattiesburg Mississippi, the son of poor tenant farmers. Jesse LeRoy Brown had all the disadvantages of a poor black child growing up under depression-era segregation, but Julia and John Brown kept their son on the “straight & narrow”, insisting he stuck with his studies.
Thomas Jerome Hudner, Jr. was born in 1924, son of the Irish American owner of a chain of grocery stores from Fall River Massachusetts, who went on to attend the prestigious Phillips Andover Academy, in 1939.
Jesse Brown and Thomas Hudner could not have come from more different backgrounds. The lives of the two came together with the United States Navy, the two men becoming pilots and serving together during the conflict in Korea.
“Ensign Jesse L. Brown, the first African-American Navy aviator, walks across the flight deck of the USS Leyte in November 1950, about a month before…
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