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Navy photo by John F. Whether they were involved in Civil Rights, politics, science, technology, sports, or music, African-American history is full of innovators, though they don't always get their due. Here are 25 unheralded African-American pioneers and trailblazers you should know. While that changed in the Air Force in the early '40s with the Tuskegee Airmen, it would be Brown himself that would break that barrier for the Navy in By he was an officer, and in , the United States was at war in Korea and he was in the action. Brown and his unit were soon airborne, completing dangerous missions to take out targets and protect troops on the ground.