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LOS ANGELES -- The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) presented its prestigious Chairman's Award to the U.S. Navy's first female African-American three-star admiral Feb 1.
Vice Adm. Michelle Howard, deputy commander of U.S. Fleet Forces, was recognized at the 44th NAACP Image Awards.
The NAACP Image Awards celebrates accomplishments of people of color in the fields of television, music, literature and film, and also honors individuals or groups who promote social justice through creative endeavors.
"Vice Adm. Howard is an inspiration for me and women of color across our country," said Roslyn M. Brock, chairman of the NAACP National Board of Directors. "Her service and achievements as a top-ranking officer in the U.S. Navy have paved the way for girls and young women to know their dreams can become their reality."
Howard's father was an Air Force master sergeant, and gave her a firm foundation of discipline and respectability. At age 12, Howard wanted to follow her father's footsteps by joining the military. However, service academies did not admit women until 1976.
"I am sincerely touched and honored that the NAACP would choose to recognize me with the Chairman's Award," stated Howard. "I have been privileged to serve with our nation's sons and daughters who remain my greatest inspiration. NAACP Image Awards remind us that even when we can't find role models who look like us, television and the movies allow us to dream and believe that anything is possible. From belief comes faith the possibilities become real."
Howard entered the Naval Academy in 1978, which was the third class to accept women. Upon graduation, she served on numerous ships, and became the first African-American woman to command a ship in the U.S. Navy.
"For all of you who have written, composed, directed, produced or acted, you let us believe that we can reach for the stars. I accept this award for the Sailors and Marines, who continue to inspire me," said Howard.
NAACP was founded in 1909, and it remains the nation's largest civil rights organization. The organization's goal is to promote civil rights in their communities and equal opportunity in the public and private sectors.