West Point names barracks for pioneering black cadet

The U.S. Military Academy at West Point held a day of celebration, honor and hope on Friday.

West Point unveiled new barracks named after Gen. Benjamin O. Davis Jr., a four-star general from the Class of 1936 who faced mounting challenges during a time of segregation. He was the only African American cadet in his class.

"To live by his legacy, which was success overrides all doubt," said Doug Melville, the general's great-nephew.

"While he was here for those four years he was silenced -- no other cadets spoke to him or the cadre or anyone at all -- none of them befriended him at all," said Sherman Fleek, the historian at West Point. "Only in classroom participation and performance of duties did he have any conversations."

General Davis's family came from near and far to witness the special honor.

"I'm just so happy, I'm so proud to be here and honored, because it really honors my uncle," Judge L. Scott Melville said.

Davis went on to become one of the first Tuskegee Airmen. For many of these cadets here today, the chance to live in barracks bearing this hero's name is a great privilege.

"This man, filled with passion and commitment, inspired change by breaking through color barriers and leading the charge for the integration of the Air Force," Cadet Netteange Monaus said.

This the first barracks to be built on campus since 1972. The construction won't change the number of cadets that are accepted to West Point each year, but it will ease the crowding the exists in many of the other barracks.

"The barracks is the highest honor at West Point so to know that we have the family name and today we get to unveil it is an unbelievable experience," Doug Melville said.

Davis, a name that will no doubt continue to live on.