AASA Celebrates Black History Month

Published February 15, 2022

The African American Shipbuilders Association (AASA) is highlighting the contributions of Black shipbuilders in celebration of Black History Month.

Did you know?

While Collis P. Huntington founded Newport News Shipbuilding, a Black man named George Washington Davis got the ball rolling in 1886, when he broke ground for the shipyard’s first dry dock. There have been many more Black contributions at NNS.

Solomon Travis

Following in the footsteps of his father who started working at NNS in 1886, Solomon Travis began his shipyard career in 1916 at the age of 16 as a rivet carrier. He retired in 1965 after 48 years of service.

In 1927, Travis became the first vice president of an employee representation group. He worked to include Black employees in more company organizations and was instrumental in getting the first Black apprentice, Tommy Martin, admitted to The Apprentice School in 1956.

In a Shipyard Bulletin article from 1981, Travis said he had nothing but good things to say about NNS. “I gave the shipyard an honest day’s work for good pay, and I’m proud of it,” he said.