​September 29, 1942: Capt. Hugh Mulzac Launched On The SS Booker T. Washington

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Of the 2,700 Liberty ships built, this was the 1st of 17 that were named after African-Americans. 

In early 1942, Capt. Mulzac was offered command of the SS Booker T. Washington. He refused at first because the crew was to be all black. He insisted on an integrated crew, stating, “Under no circumstances will I command a Jim Crow

Hugh Nathaniel Mulzac was an African-American member of the United States Merchant Marine. He earned a Master rating in 1918 which should have qualified him to command a ship, but this did not happen because of racial discrimination.

Mulzac is the 1st African-American to hold a U. S. master’s certificate and the 1st African-American to command a 10,500-ton ship.

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