“Born in 1946 and raised in segregated South Carolina, Bolden, an African American, set his sights on the U.S. Naval Academy, despite legislators from his district withholding their recommendations.
“Bolden finally made it to the Naval Academy—and hated it. ‘I thought it was tough. I thought it was unfair. I faced discrimination,’ Bolden recalls. ‘I cried to my mom and dad every weekend during my [freshman] year, saying I wanted to come home. My dad told me to just hang in there one more day, one more week.’
“‘The thing that made me decide I was going to stay was two of my company-mates coming in and telling me I wasn’t going to make it through the Naval Academy,’ Bolden continues. ‘I asked them what made them think I wasn’t going to get through, and they said, “We’re not going to let you get through.” When they walked out of my room, I changed my mind. I said, “I may not like this place, but I am not leaving. They are not going to drag me out of here…”‘”
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