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Janie L. Miles made her mark on military history by becoming the first Black woman to graduate from the United States Naval Academy. Miles went on to a stellar career in business after ending her time with the U.S. Navy.

Born in 1958 in Aiken, S.C., the 1976 Aiken High School graduate and honor student was appointed by Congressman Butler Derrick that same year. In 1975, legislation was passed that mandated United States military academies admit women. Miles was the only Black woman among the first group of women to enter the Naval Academy in Annapolis, Maryland. She graduated from the Academy in 1980 at the age of 22 with a degree in Engineering, and served her country in a variety of support and logistical roles.

After leaving the Navy, Miles was awarded a fellowship from the Alfred P. Sloan School of Business Management at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. After earning her master’s degree from the school, Miles worked in management positions with several high-profile companies such as Hershey, Pepsi, and Proctor and Gamble. In the early 2000s, Miles founded her Boys To Men Club, Inc. in Fort Hill, S.C. The organization aimed its efforts at supported disadvantaged youth in Miles’ home state.

Miles has also served as a speaker for Navy events and takes pride that her historic achievement serves as an inspiration for women of color and beyond.

PHOTO: U.S. Navy

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