Since there are so many facets of the history that people of African descent have made in this country, I’ve decided to continue my “Black History 365″ series from my poetry blog here on my AfrocentriqueAZ blog. I’ll be posting a new “First Black” entry every Wednesday. This week is Captain Michael Healy
Michael Augustine Healy (September 22, 1839 – August 30, 1904) was an American captain in the United States Revenue Cutter Service (predecessor of the United States Coast Guard).
Following U.S. Secretary of State William H. Seward’s Alaska purchase of the vast region in 1867, Healy patrolled the 20,000 miles (32,000 km) of Alaskan coastline for more than 20 years, earning great respect from the natives and seafarers alike. After commercial fishing had depleted the whale and seal populations, his assistance with introduction of Siberian reindeer helped prevent starvation among the native Alaskans.
Nicknamed “Hell Roaring Mike”, Healy has been identified as the first man of African-American descent to command a ship of the United States government. He identified as white Irish American during his lifetime, as he was majority white in ancestry and grew up in Irish Catholic culture. The author Jack London was inspired by his command of the USRC Bear. Commissioned in 1999, the USCGC Healy was named in his honor.
(for more read the full wiki article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Michael_A._Healy)