First Black female brigade commander to lead midshipmen at US Naval Academy


ANNAPOLIS, Md. (NewsNation Now) — Friday night, we took a moment to highlight a milestone for women, in particular, Black women, in the U.S. Military.

You don’t have to look back too far in history to understand why. It wasn’t until 1948 that women were officially allowed to serve in the armed forces. And women weren’t invited to attend the military academies until 1976.

At the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland, the highest position of leadership is that of brigade commander: a job that requires outstanding leadership and oversees daily activities and training of the academy class, including morale.

The first woman received that title in 1992; there have been 15 more since.

This semester, the academy selected the first Black female to lead her class as brigade commander.

Her name is Sydney Barber. She’s 21 years old and was chosen for her leadership, vision and focus on making the world a better place. NewsNation’s Marni Hughes spoke with Sydney earlier this week; watch their interview in the video above.

The role of brigade commander lasts one semester. Sydney will lead her peers through graduation at the end of May.

In addition to her high marks for leadership and academics, she is also on the Navy varsity track and field team and holds the academy record in the 4×400 relay.

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