The other day I received this message on Facebook from my brother Kenric who wrote, "Look what I found!" At first I looked at this tarnished tray and was puzzled. But then suddenly I realized the significance of this old tray. Forty-Four years ago in June 1976, I was given this award as the Color Company Commander. This website, blog, and the book on Amazon is about this achievement as a matter of history. My grandchildren now know who I am and that their grandfather is part of Black history. This old tray was the Forrestal Award, a Silver Platter, given to the Color Company Commander. But it was the first one given to an African-American.
During my lifetime, I had only held this for about 15 seconds during the ceremony, the 1976 Color Parade, the last all male parade at the United States Naval Academy. My dad had kept this and stored at home until his death 18 years ago. My brother who was able to attend the funeral collected artifacts after the service and then gave the box to our cousin for safe keeping all that time. He was serving duty in England and told our cousin that he would pick it up after returning back to the states. After three years abroad he completely forgot about the box. It was stored in our cousin Denise's garage and recently discovered when her HVAC needed to be replaced. It was discovered by her son when it fell from a shelf. Her son took one look inside and said, Mom we got call uncle Kenny.
With the recent Black Lives Matter and racial unjustice marches there has been a resurgence of demand for books about racism and now my once self-published book Annapolis Creed is getting noticed in the world of educators because my history crossed racial barriors as a Veteran and now as a leader as a public educator and a black american who overcame racial discrimination.
There is an inscription in the middle which reads as follows:
The Forrestal Award established by the late Charles P. McCormick presented to Midshipman Jordan B. Smith Jr who commanded the Color Company which by its overall excellence won first place in the intra-brigade competition for the year 1975-1976.
It took me four hours to restore the silver platter. The finished product is pitcured below:
Dr. Jordan B smith jr.
I attended the U. S. Naval Academy from 1972-1976 earning a B.S. in Mathematics. Served 20 years both active and reserve in the US Marines. Veteran of the Desert Shield/Storm. I earned a MAED and Ed D. specializing in curriculum and instruction from the University of Phoenix in 2015. I graduated from CBC High School in Clayton, MO in 1972.