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A copy photo shows Jim Graham alongside President (Credit: Steven Sunshine)

A copy photo shows Jim Graham alongside President Bill Clinton.

Pioneering black sailor James Graham dies

Jim Graham was a radio operator on the USS Mason, the first Navy vessel that enlisted African American men during WWII. Mr. Graham, a resident of Roosevelt, died Jan. 7, 2013, at 90.

Jim Graham, a Navy veteran and radio operator
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Jim Graham, a Navy veteran and radio operator on the USS Mason, died in the Roosevelt home he shared with his wife, Barbara.

Barbara Graham, 88, of Roosevelt holds up a
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Barbara Graham, 88, of Roosevelt holds up a photograph of husband Jim Graham.

USS Mason, a 1140-ton Evarts class destroyer escort,
(Credit: US Navy Archive Handout)

USS Mason, a 1140-ton Evarts class destroyer escort, was commissioned in March 1944 with a largely African-American enlisted complement. Mason was employed on convoy escort duties in the Atlantic and Mediterranean through the remainder of World War II.

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The refitted USS Mason will honor African Americans
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

The refitted USS Mason will honor African Americans such as Jim Graham, who originally served on the vessel.

A copy photo shows Jim Graham alongside President
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

A copy photo shows Jim Graham alongside President Bill Clinton.

Barbara Graham with nephew William McIver, 67, of
(Credit: Steven Sunshine)

Barbara Graham with nephew William McIver, 67, of Landover, Md. McIver, a retired Navy man, enlisted because he was so impressed by his uncle Jim.

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