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Title: Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965
Author: MacGregor, Morris J., 1931-
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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                         INTEGRATION OF THE ARMED FORCES

                            _DEFENSE STUDIES SERIES_

                              OF THE ARMED FORCES

                           _Morris J. MacGregor, Jr._

                      _Defense Historical Studies Committee_
                            (as of 6 April 1979)

                      Alfred Goldberg
                      Office of the Secretary of Defense

                      Robert J. Watson
                      Historical Division, Joint Chiefs of Staff

                      Brig. Gen. James L. Collins, Jr.
                      Chief of Military History

                      Maj. Gen. John W. Huston
                      Chief of Air Force History

                      Maurice Matloff
                      Center of Military History

                      Stanley L. Falk
                      Office of Air Force History

                      Rear Adm. John D. H. Kane, Jr.
                      Director of Naval History

                      Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Edwin H. Simmons
                      Director of Marine Corps History and

                      Dean C. Allard
                      Naval Historical Center

                      Henry J. Shaw, Jr.
                      Marine Corps Historical Center

Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data

MacGregor, Morris J
Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965

(Defense studies series)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Supt. of Docs. no.: D 114.2:In 8/940-65
1. Afro-American soldiers. 2. United States--Race
Relations.       I. Title.      II. Series.
UB418.A47M33     335.3'3        80-607077

                         _Department of the Army_
                     _Historical Advisory Committee_
                         (as of 6 April 1979)

                         Otis A. Singletary
                         University of Kentucky

                         Maj. Gen. Robert C. Hixon
                         U.S. Army Training and Doctrine

                         Brig. Gen. Robert Arter
                         U.S. Army Command and
                         General Staff College

                         Sara D. Jackson
                         National Historical Publications
                         and Records Commission

                         Harry L. Coles
                         Ohio State University

                         Maj. Gen. Enrique Mendez, Jr.
                         Deputy Surgeon General, USA

                         Robert H. Ferrell
                         Indiana University

                         James O'Neill
                         Deputy Archivist of the United States

                         Cyrus H. Fraker
                         The Adjutant General Center

                         Benjamin Quarles
                         Morgan State College

                         William H. Goetzmann
                         University of Texas

                         Brig. Gen. Alfred L. Sanderson
                         Army War College

                         Col. Thomas E. Griess
                         U.S. Military Academy

                         Russell F. Weigley
                         Temple University


The integration of the armed forces was a momentous event in our
military and national history; it represented a milestone in the
development of the armed forces and the fulfillment of the democratic
ideal. The existence of integrated rather than segregated armed forces
is an important factor in our military establishment today. The
experiences in World War II and the postwar pressures generated by the
civil rights movement compelled all the services--Army, Navy, Air
Force, and Marine Corps--to reexamine their traditional practices of
segregation. While there were differences in the ways that the
services moved toward integration, all were subject to the same
demands, fears, and prejudices and had the same need to use their
resources in a more rational and economical way. All of them reached
the same conclusion: traditional attitudes toward minorities must give
way to democratic concepts of civil rights.

If the integration of the armed services now seems to have been
inevitable in a democratic society, it nevertheless faced opposition
that had to be overcome and problems that had to be solved through the
combined efforts of political and civil rights leaders and civil and
military officials. In many ways the military services were at the
cutting edge in the struggle for racial equality. This volume sets
forth the successive measures they and the Office of the Secretary of
Defense took to meet the challenges of a new era in a critically
important area of human relationships, during a period of transition
that saw the advance of blacks in the social and economic order as
well as in the military. It is fitting that this story should be told
in the first volume of a new Defense Studies Series.

The Defense Historical Studies Program was authorized by the then
Deputy Secretary of Defense, Cyrus Vance, in April 1965. It is
conducted under the auspices of the Defense Historical Studies Group,
an _ad hoc_ body chaired by the Historian of the Office of the
Secretary of Defense and consisting of the senior officials in the
historical offices of the services and of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
Volumes produced under its sponsorship will be interservice histories,
covering matters of mutual interest to the Army, Navy, Air Force,
Marine Corps, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The preparation of each
volume is entrusted to one of the service historical sections, in this
case the Army's Center of Military History. Although the book was
written by an Army historian, he was generously given access to the
pertinent records of the other services and the Office of the
Secretary of Defense, and this initial volume in the Defense Studies
Series covers the experiences of all components of the Department of
Defense in achieving integration.

  Washington, D.C.                      JAMES L. COLLINS, Jr.
  14 March 1980                         Brigadier General, USA
                                        Chief of Military History

The Author

Morris J. MacGregor, Jr., received the A.B. and M.A. degrees in
history from the Catholic University of America. He continued his
graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University and the University of
Paris on a Fulbright grant. Before joining the staff of the U.S. Army
Center of Military History in 1968 he served for ten years in the
Historical Division of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has written
several studies for military publications including "Armed Forces
Integration--Forced or Free?" in _The Military and Society:
Proceedings of the Fifth Military Symposium of the U.S. Air Force
Academy_. He is the coeditor with Bernard C. Nalty of the
thirteen-volume _Blacks in the United States Armed Forces: Basic
Documents_ and with Ronald Spector of _Voices of History:
Interpretations in American Military History_. He is currently working
on a sequel to _Integration of the Armed Forces_ which will also
appear in the Defense Studies Series.

Preface                                                             (p. ix)

This book describes the fall of the legal, administrative, and social
barriers to the black American's full participation in the military
service of his country. It follows the changing status of the black
serviceman from the eve of World War II, when he was excluded from
many military activities and rigidly segregated in the rest, to that
period a quarter of a century later when the Department of Defense
extended its protection of his rights and privileges even to the
civilian community. To round out the story of open housing for members
of the military, I briefly overstep the closing date given in the

The work is essentially an administrative history that attempts to
measure the influence of several forces, most notably the civil rights
movement, the tradition of segregated service, and the changing
concept of military efficiency, on the development of racial policies
in the armed forces. It is not a history of all minorities in the
services. Nor is it an account of how the black American responded to
discrimination. A study of racial attitudes, both black and white, in
the military services would be a valuable addition to human knowledge,
but practically impossible of accomplishment in the absence of
sufficient autobiographical accounts, oral history interviews, and
detailed sociological measurements. How did the serviceman view his
condition, how did he convey his desire for redress, and what was his
reaction to social change? Even now the answers to these questions are
blurred by time and distorted by emotions engendered by the civil
rights revolution. Few citizens, black or white, who witnessed it can
claim immunity to the influence of that paramount social phenomenon of
our times.

At times I do generalize on the attitudes of both black and white
servicemen and the black and white communities at large as well. But I
have permitted myself to do so only when these attitudes were clearly
pertinent to changes in the services' racial policies and only when
the written record supported, or at least did not contradict, the
memory of those participants who had been interviewed. In any case
this study is largely history written from the top down and is based
primarily on the written records left by the administrations of five
presidents and by civil rights leaders, service officials, and the

Many of the attitudes and expressions voiced by the participants in
the story are now out of fashion. The reader must be constantly on
guard against viewing the beliefs and statements of many civilian and
military officials out of context of the times in which they were
expressed. Neither bigotry nor stupidity was the monopoly of some of
the people quoted; their statements are important for what they tell
us about certain attitudes of our society rather than for what they
reveal about any individual. If the methods or attitudes of some     (p. x)
of the black spokesmen appear excessively tame to those who have
lived through the 1960's, they too should be gauged in the context of
the times. If their statements and actions shunned what now seems the
more desirable, albeit radical, course, it should be given them that
the style they adopted appeared in those days to be the most promising
for racial progress.

The words _black_ and _Negro_ have been used interchangeably in the
book, with Negro generally as a noun and black as an adjective. Aware
of differing preferences in the black community for usage of these
words, the author was interested in comments from early readers of the
manuscript. Some of the participants in the story strongly objected to
one word or the other. "Do me one favor in return for my help," Lt.
Comdr. Dennis D. Nelson said, "never call me a black." Rear Adm.
Gerald E. Thomas, on the other hand, suggested that the use of the
term Negro might repel readers with much to learn about their recent
past. Still others thought that the historian should respect the usage
of the various periods covered in the story, a solution that would
have left the volume with the term _colored_ for most of the earlier
chapters and Negro for much of the rest. With rare exception, the term
black does not appear in twentieth century military records before the
late 1960's. Fashions in words change, and it is only for the time
being perhaps that black and Negro symbolize different attitudes. The
author has used the words as synonyms and trusts that the reader will
accept them as such. Professor John Hope Franklin, Mrs. Sara Jackson
of the National Archives, and the historians and officials that
constituted the review panel went along with this approach.

The second question of usage concerns the words _integration_ and
_desegregation_. In recent years many historians have come to
distinguish between these like-sounding words. Desegregation they see
as a direct action against segregation; that is, it signifies the act
of removing legal barriers to the equal treatment of black citizens as
guaranteed by the Constitution. The movement toward desegregation,
breaking down the nation's Jim Crow system, became increasingly
popular in the decade after World War II. Integration, on the other
hand, Professor Oscar Handlin maintains, implies several things not
yet necessarily accepted in all areas of American society. In one
sense it refers to the "leveling of all barriers to association other
than those based on ability, taste, and personal preference";[1] in
other words, providing equal opportunity. But in another sense
integration calls for the random distribution of a minority throughout
society. Here, according to Handlin, the emphasis is on racial balance
in areas of occupation, education, residency, and the like.

                   [Footnote 1: Oscar Handlin, "The Goals of Integration,"
                   _Daedalus 95_ (Winter 1966): 270.]

From the beginning the military establishment rightly understood that
the breakup of the all-black unit would in a closed society
necessarily mean more than mere desegregation. It constantly used the
terms integration and equal treatment and opportunity to describe its
racial goals. Rarely, if ever, does one find the word desegregation in
military files that include much correspondence from the various    (p. xi)
civil rights organizations. That the military made the right choice,
this study seems to demonstrate, for the racial goals of the Defense
Department, as they slowly took form over a quarter of a century,
fulfilled both of Professor Handlin's definitions of integration.

The mid-1960's saw the end of a long and important era in the racial
history of the armed forces. Although the services continued to
encounter racial problems, these problems differed radically in
several essentials from those of the integration period considered in
this volume. Yet there is a continuity to the story of race relations,
and one can hope that the story of how an earlier generation struggled
so that black men and women might serve their country in freedom
inspires those in the services who continue to fight discrimination.

This study benefited greatly from the assistance of a large number of
persons during its long years of preparation. Stetson Conn, chief
historian of the Army, proposed the book as an interservice project.
His successor, Maurice Matloff, forced to deal with the complexities
of an interservice project, successfully guided the manuscript through
to publication. The work was carried out under the general supervision
of Robert R. Smith, chief of the General History Branch. He and Robert
W. Coakley, deputy chief historian of the Army, were the primary
reviewers of the manuscript, and its final form owes much to their
advice and attention. The author also profited greatly from the advice
of the official review panel, which, under the chairmanship of Alfred
Goldberg, historian, Office of the Secretary of Defense, included
Martin Blumenson; General J. Lawton Collins (USA Ret.); Lt. Gen.
Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (USAF Ret.); Roy K. Davenport, former Deputy
Assistant Secretary of the Army; Stanley L. Falk, chief historian of
the Air Force; Vice Adm. E. B. Hooper, Chief of Naval History;
Professor Benjamin Quarles; Paul J. Scheips, historian, Center of
Military History; Henry I. Shaw, chief historian of the U.S. Marine
Corps; Loretto C. Stevens, senior editor of the Center of Military
History; Robert J. Watson, chief historian of the Joint Chiefs of
Staff; and Adam Yarmolinsky, former assistant to the Secretary of

Many of the participants in this story generously shared their
knowledge with me and kindly reviewed my efforts. My footnotes
acknowledge my debt to them. Nevertheless, two are singled out here
for special mention. James C. Evans, former counselor to the Secretary
of Defense for racial affairs, has been an endless source of
information on race relations in the military. If I sometimes
disagreed with his interpretations and assessments, I never doubted
his total dedication to the cause of the black serviceman. I owe a
similar debt to Lt. Comdr. Dennis D. Nelson (USN Ret.) for sharing his
intimate understanding of race relations in the Navy. A resourceful
man with a sure social touch, he must have been one hell of a sailor.

I want to note the special contribution of several historians. Martin
Blumenson was first assigned to this project, and before leaving the
Center of Military History he assembled research material that proved
most helpful. My former colleague John Bernard Corr prepared a study
on the National Guard upon which my account of the guard is based.
In addition, he patiently reviewed many pages of the draft         (p. xii)
manuscript. His keen insights and sensitive understanding were
invaluable to me. Professors Jack D. Foner and Marie Carolyn
Klinkhammer provided particularly helpful suggestions in conjunction
with their reviews of the manuscript. Samuel B. Warner, who before his
untimely death was a historian in the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as
a colleague of Lee Nichols on some of that reporter's civil rights
investigations, also contributed generously of his talents and lent
his support in the early days of my work. Finally, I am grateful for
the advice of my colleague Ronald H. Spector at several key points in
the preparation of this history.

I have received much help from archivists and librarians, especially
the resourceful William H. Cunliffe and Lois Aldridge (now retired) of
the National Archives and Dean C. Allard of the Naval Historical
Center. Although the fruits of their scholarship appear often in my
footnotes, three fellow researchers in the field deserve special
mention: Maj. Alan M. Osur and Lt. Col. Alan L. Gropman of the U.S.
Air Force and Ralph W. Donnelly, former member of the U.S. Marine
Corps Historical Center. I have benefited from our exchange of ideas
and have had the advantage of their reviews of the manuscript.

I am especially grateful for the generous assistance of my editors,
Loretto C. Stevens and Barbara H. Gilbert. They have been both friends
and teachers. In the same vein, I wish to thank John Elsberg for his
editorial counsel. I also appreciate the help given by William G. Bell
in the selection of the illustrations, including the loan of two rare
items from his personal collection, and Arthur S. Hardyman for
preparing the pictures for publication. I would like to thank Mary Lee
Treadway and Wyvetra B. Yeldell for preparing the manuscript for panel
review and Terrence J. Gough for his helpful pre-publication review.

Finally, while no friend or relative was spared in the long years I
worked on this book, three colleagues especially bore with me through
days of doubts and frustrations and shared my small triumphs: Alfred
M. Beck, Ernest F. Fisher, Jr., and Paul J. Scheips. I also want
particularly to thank Col. James W. Dunn. I only hope that some of
their good sense and sunny optimism show through these pages.

  Washington, D.C.                      MORRIS J. MACGREGOR, Jr.
  14 March 1980

Contents                                                          (p. xiii)

_Chapter_                                                    _Page_

  1. INTRODUCTION............................................. 3
    _The Armed forces Before 1940_............................ 3
    _Civil Rights and the Law in 1940_........................ 8
    _To Segregate Is To Discriminate_........................ 13
  2. WORLD WAR II: THE ARMY.................................. 17
    _A War Policy: Reaffirming Segregation_.................. 17
    _Segregation and Efficiency_............................. 23
    _The Need for Change_.................................... 34
    _Internal Reform: Amending Racial Practices_............. 39
    _Two Exceptions_......................................... 46
  3. WORLD WAR II: THE NAVY.................................. 58
    _Development of a Wartime Policy_........................ 59
    _A Segregated Navy_...................................... 67
    _Progressive Experiments_................................ 75
    _Forrestal Takes the Helm_............................... 84
    _The First Black Marines_............................... 100
    _New Roles for Black Coast Guardsmen_................... 112
  5. A POSTWAR SEARCH....................................... 123
    _Black Demands_......................................... 123
    _The Army's Grand Review_............................... 130
    _The Navy's Informal Inspection_........................ 143
  6. NEW DIRECTIONS......................................... 152
    _The Gillem Board Report_............................... 153
    _Integration of the General Service_.................... 166
    _The Marine Corps_...................................... 170
  7. A PROBLEM OF QUOTAS.................................... 176
    _The Quota in Practice_................................. 182
    _Broader Opportunities_................................. 189
    _Assignments_........................................... 194
    _A New Approach_........................................ 198
    _The Quota System: An Assessment_....................... 202
  8. SEGREGATION'S CONSEQUENCES............................. 206
    _Discipline and Morale Among Black Troops_.............. 206
    _Improving the Status of the Segregated Soldier_........ 215
    _Discrimination and the Postwar Army_................... 223   (p. xiv)
    _Segregation in Theory and Practice_.................... 226
    _Segregation: An Assessment_............................ 231
  9. THE POSTWAR NAVY....................................... 234
    _The Steward's Branch_.................................. 238
    _Black Officers_........................................ 243
    _Public Image and the Problem of Numbers_............... 248
  10. THE POSTWAR MARINE CORPS.............................. 253
    _Racial Quotas and Assignments_......................... 253
    _Recruitment_........................................... 257
    _Segregation and Efficiency_............................ 261
    _Toward Integration_.................................... 266
  11. THE POSTWAR AIR FORCE................................. 270
    _Segregation and Efficiency_............................ 271
    _Impulse for Change_.................................... 280
  12. THE PRESIDENT INTERVENES.............................. 291
    _The Truman Administration and Civil Rights_............ 292
    _Civil Rights and the Department of Defense_............ 297
    _Executive Order 9981_.................................. 309
    _Public Reaction to Executive Order 9981_............... 315
    _The Army: Segregation on the Defensive_................ 318
    _A Different Approach_.................................. 326
    _The Navy: Business as Usual_........................... 331
    _Adjustments in the Marine Corps_....................... 334
    _The Air Force Plans for Limited Integration_........... 338
    _The Committee's Recommendations_....................... 348
    _A Summer of Discontent_................................ 362
    _Assignments_........................................... 368
    _Quotas_................................................ 371
    _An Assessment_......................................... 375
  15. THE ROLE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, 1949-1951....... 379
    _Overseas Restrictions_................................. 385
    _Congressional Concerns_................................ 389
    _The Air Force, 1949-1951_.............................. 397
    _The Navy and Executive Order 9981_..................... 412
  17. THE ARMY INTEGRATES................................... 428
    _Race and Efficiency: 1950_............................. 428
    _Training_.............................................. 434
    _Performance of Segregated Units_....................... 436
    _Final Arguments_....................................... 440
    _Integration of the Eighth Army_........................ 442
    _Integration of the European and Continental Commands_.. 448    (p. xv)
  18. INTEGRATION OF THE MARINE CORPS....................... 460
    _Impetus for Change_.................................... 461
    _Assignments_........................................... 466
  19. A NEW ERA BEGINS...................................... 473
    _The Civil Rights Revolution_........................... 474
    _Limitations on Executive Order 9981_................... 479
    _Integration of Navy Shipyards_......................... 483
    _Dependent Children and Integrated Schools_............. 487
  20. LIMITED RESPONSE TO DISCRIMINATION.................... 501
    _The Kennedy Administration and Civil Rights_........... 504
    _The Department of Defense, 1961-1963_.................. 510
    _Discrimination Off the Military Reservation_........... 511
    _Reserves and Regulars: A Comparison_................... 517
    _The Secretary Makes a Decision_........................ 530
    _The Gesell Committee_.................................. 535
    _Reaction to a New Commitment_.......................... 545
    _The Gesell Committee: Final Report_.................... 552
    _Creating a Civil Rights Apparatus_..................... 558
    _Fighting Discrimination Within the Services_........... 566
    _Development of Voluntary Action Programs_.............. 581
    _Civil Rights, 1964-1966_............................... 586
    _The Civil Rights Act and Voluntary Compliance_......... 590
    _The Limits of Voluntary Compliance_.................... 593
  24. CONCLUSION............................................ 609
    _Why the Services Integrated_........................... 609
    _How the Services Integrated, 1946-1954_................ 614
    _Equal Treatment and Opportunity_....................... 619
  NOTE ON SOURCES........................................... 625
  INDEX..................................................... 635


  Crewmen of the USS _Miami_ During the Civil War............. 4
  Buffalo Soldiers............................................ 5
  Integration in the Army of 1888............................. 9
  Gunner's Gang on the USS _Maine_........................... 10   (p. xvi)
  General John J. (Black Jack) Pershing Inspects Troops...... 11
  Heroes of the 369th Infantry, February 1919................ 13
  Judge William H. Hastie.................................... 20
  General George C. Marshall and Secretary of War Henry
    L. Stimson............................................... 21
  Engineer Construction Troops in Liberia, July 1942......... 26
  Labor Battalion Troops in the Aleutian Islands, May 1943... 27
  Sergeant Addressing the Line............................... 28
  Pilots of the 332d Fighter Group........................... 29
  Service Club, Fort Huachuca................................ 35
  93d Division Troops in Bougainville, April 1944............ 44
  Gun Crew of Battery B, 598th Field Artillery,
    September 1944........................................... 47
  Tankers of the 761st Medium Tank Battalion Prepare for
    Action................................................... 48
  WAAC Replacements.......................................... 50
  Volunteers for Combat in Training.......................... 53
  Road Repairmen............................................. 56
  Mess Attendant, First Class, Dorie Miller Addressing
    Recruits at Camp Smalls.................................. 60
  Admiral Ernest J. King and Secretary of the Navy Frank
    Knox..................................................... 61
  Crew Members of USS _Argonaut_, Pearl Harbor, 1942......... 62
  Messmen Volunteer as Gunners, July 1942.................... 65
  Electrician Mates String Power Lines....................... 68
  Laborers at Naval Ammunition Depot......................... 73
  Seabees in the South Pacific............................... 74
  Lt. Comdr. Christopher S. Sargent.......................... 76
  USS _Mason_................................................ 78
  First Black Officers in the Navy........................... 81
  Lt. (jg.) Harriet Ida Pickens and Ens. Frances Wills....... 88
  Sailors in the General Service............................. 89
  Security Watch in the Marianas............................. 90
  Specialists Repair Aircraft................................ 93
  The 22d Special Construction Battalion Celebrates V-J Day.. 97
  Marines of the 51st Defense Battalion, Montford
    Point, 1942............................................. 102
  Shore Party in Training, Camp Lejeune, 1942............... 105
  D-day on Peleliu.......................................... 106
  Medical Attendants at Rest, Peleliu, October 1944......... 107
  Gun Crew of the 52d Defense Battalion..................... 110
  Crewmen of USCG Lifeboat Station, Pea Island, North
    Carolina................................................ 112
  Coast Guard Recruits at Manhattan Beach Training
    Station, New York....................................... 113
  Stewards at Battle Station on the Cutter _Campbell_....... 117
  Shore Leave in Scotland................................... 118
  Lt. Comdr. Carlton Skinner and Crew of the USS
    _Sea Cloud_............................................. 120
  Ens. Joseph J. Jenkins and Lt. (jg.) Clarence Samuels..... 121
  President Harry S. Truman Addressing the NAACP
    Convention.............................................. 127
  Assistant Secretary of War John J. McCloy................. 130
  Civilian Aide to the Secretary of War Truman K. Gibson.... 131  (p. xvii)
  Company I, 370th Infantry, 92d Division, Advances
    Through Cascina, Italy.................................. 134
  92d Division Engineers Prepare a Ford for Arno River
    Traffic................................................. 136
  Lester Granger Interviewing Sailors....................... 146
  Granger With Crewmen of a Naval Yard Craft................ 147
  Lt. Gen. Alvan C. Gillem, U.S. Army....................... 154
  Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson...................... 162
  Admiral Louis E. Denfeld, U.S. Navy....................... 167
  General Gerald C. Thomas, U.S. Marine Corps............... 172
  Lt. Gen. Willard S. Paul.................................. 178
  Adviser to the Secretary of War Marcus Ray................ 184
  Lt. Gen. Robert L. Eichelberger Inspects 24th Infantry
    Troops.................................................. 191
  Army Specialists Report for Airborne Training............. 200
  Bridge Players, Seaview Service Club, Tokyo,
    Japan, 1948............................................. 203
  24th Infantry Band, Gifu, Japan, 1947..................... 214
  Lt. Gen. Clarence R. Huebner Inspects the 529th
    Military Police Company................................. 216
  Reporting to Kitzingen.................................... 218
  Inspection by the Chief of Staff.......................... 228
  Brig. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Sr.......................... 230
  Shore Leave in Korea...................................... 236
  Mess Attendants, USS _Bushnell_, 1918..................... 239
  Mess Attendants, USS _Wisconsin_, 1953.................... 240
  Lt. Comdr. Dennis D. Nelson II............................ 244
  Naval Unit Passes in Review, Naval Advanced Base,
    Bremerhaven, Germany.................................... 249
  Submariner................................................ 251
  Marine Artillery Team..................................... 254
  2d Lt. and Mrs. Frederick C. Branch....................... 267
  Training Exercises........................................ 269
  Damage Inspection......................................... 272
  Col. Noel F. Parrish...................................... 274
  Officers' Softball Team................................... 276
  Checking Ammunition....................................... 278
  Squadron F, 318th AAF Battalion, in Review................ 281
  Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., Commander, 477th Composite
    Group, 1945............................................. 285
  Lt. Gen. Idwal H. Edwards................................. 287
  Col. Jack F. Marr......................................... 288
  Walter F. White........................................... 295
  Truman's Civil Rights Campaign............................ 297
  A. Philip Randolph........................................ 300
  National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs, 26 April
    1948.................................................... 306
  MP's Hitch a Ride......................................... 320
  Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall Reviews
    Military Police Battalion............................... 323
  Spring Formal Dance, Fort George G. Meade,
    Maryland, 1952.......................................... 327
  Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal................... 330
  General Clifton B. Cates.................................. 335 (p. xviii)
  1st Marine Division Drill Team on Exhibition.............. 337
  Secretary of the Air Force W. Stuart Symington............ 340
  Secretary of Defense Louis C. Johnson..................... 347
  Fahy Committee With President Truman and Armed Services
    Secretaries............................................. 349
  E. W. Kenworthy........................................... 353
  Charles Fahy.............................................. 354
  Roy K. Davenport.......................................... 355
  Press Notice.............................................. 361
  Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray......................... 370
  Chief of Staff of the Army J. Lawton Collins.............. 371
  "No Longer a Dream"....................................... 377
  Navy Corpsman in Korea.................................... 382
  25th Division Troops in Japan............................. 388
  Assistant Secretary of Defense Anna M. Rosenberg.......... 391
  Assistant Secretary of the Air Force Eugene M. Zuckert.... 402
  Music Makers.............................................. 408
  Maintenance Crew, 462d Strategic Fighter Squadron......... 410
  Jet Mechanics............................................. 411
  Christmas in Korea, 1950.................................. 417
  Rearming at Sea........................................... 418
  Broadening Skills......................................... 419
  Integrated Stewards Class Graduates, Great Lakes, 1953.... 423
  WAVE Recruits, Naval Training Center, Bainbridge,
    Maryland, 1953.......................................... 425
  Rear Adm. Samuel L. Gravely, Jr........................... 426
  Moving Up................................................. 431
  Men of Battery A, 159th Field Artillery Battalion......... 433
  Survivors of an Intelligence and Reconnaissance
    Platoon, 24th Infantry.................................. 438
  General Matthew B. Ridgway, Far East Commander............ 444
  Machine Gunners of Company L, 14th Infantry, Hill 931,
    Korea................................................... 446
  Color Guard, 160th Infantry, Korea, 1952.................. 448
  Visit With the Commander.................................. 454
  Brothers Under the Skin................................... 455
  Marines on the Kansas Line, Korea......................... 465
  Marine Reinforcements..................................... 466
  Training Exercises on Iwo Jima, March 1954................ 469
  Marines From Camp Lejeune................................. 470
  Lt. Col. Frank E. Petersen, Jr............................ 471
  Sergeant Major Edgar R. Huff.............................. 472
  Clarence Mitchell......................................... 475
  Congressman Adam Clayton Powell........................... 484
  Secretary of the Navy Robert B. Anderson.................. 486
  Reading Class in the Military Dependents School, Yokohama. 495
  Civil Rights Leaders at the White House................... 503
  President John F. Kennedy and President Jorge Allessandri. 509   (p. xix)
  Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara................... 516
  Adam Yarmolinsky.......................................... 532
  James C. Evans............................................ 533
  The Gesell Committee Meets With the President............. 541
  Alfred B. Fitt............................................ 547
  Arriving in Vietnam....................................... 560
  Digging In................................................ 562
  Listening to the Squad Leader............................. 567
  Supplying the Seventh Fleet............................... 576
  USAF Ground Crew, Tan Son Nhut Air Base, Vietnam.......... 580
  Fighter Pilots on the Line................................ 583
  Medical Examination....................................... 589
  Auto Pilot Shop........................................... 594
  Submarine Tender Duty..................................... 600
  First Aid................................................. 606
  Vietnam Patrol............................................ 611
  Marine Engineers in Vietnam............................... 613
  Loading a Rocket Launcher................................. 615
  American Sailors Help Evacuate a Vietnamese Child......... 618
  Booby Trap Victim from Company B, 47th Infantry........... 619
  Camaraderie............................................... 622

All illustrations are from the files of the Department of Defense and
the National Archives and Records Service with the exception of the
pictures on pages 6 and 10, courtesy of William G. Bell; on page 20,
by Fabian Bachrach, courtesy of Judge William H. Hastie; on page 120,
courtesy of Carlton Skinner; on page 297, courtesy of the Washington
_Star_, on page 361, courtesy of the _Afro-American_ Newspapers; on
page 377, courtesy of the Sengstacke Newspapers; and on page 475,
courtesy of the Washington Bureau of the National Association for the
Advancement of Colored People.



  1. Classification of All Men Tested From March 1941 Through
     December 1942........................................... 25
  2. AGCT Percentages in Selected World War II Divisions.... 138
  3. Percentage of Black Enlisted Men and Women............. 395
  4. Disposition of Black Personnel at Eight Air Force
     Bases, 1949............................................ 403
  5. Racial Composition of Air Force Units.................. 404
  6. Black Strength in the Air Force........................ 405
  7. Racial Composition of the Training Command,
     December 1949.......................................... 406
  8. Black Manpower, U.S. Navy.............................. 416    (p. xx)
  9. Worldwide Distribution of Enlisted Personnel by Race,
     October 1952........................................... 458
  10. Distribution of Black Enlisted Personnel by Branch
      and Rank, 31 October 1952............................. 458
  11. Black Marines, 1949-1955.............................. 463
  12. Defense Installations With Segregated Public Schools.. 491
  13. Black Strength in the Armed Forces for Selected Years. 522
  14. Estimated Percentage Distribution of Draft-Age
      Males in U.S. Population by AFQT Groups............... 523
  15. Rate of Men Disqualified for Service in 1962.......... 523
  16. Rejection Rates for Failure To Pass Armed Forces
      Mental Test, 1962..................................... 524
  17. Nonwhite Inductions and First Enlistments, Fiscal
      Years 1953-1962....................................... 525
  18. Distribution of Enlisted Personnel in Each Major
      Occupation, 1956...................................... 525
  19. Occupational Group Distribution by Race, All DOD,
      1962.................................................. 525
  20. Occupational Group Distribution of Enlisted
      Personnel by Length of Service, and Race.............. 526
  21. Percentage Distribution of Navy Enlisted Personnel
      by Race, AFQT Groups and Occupational Areas, and
      Length of Service, 1962............................... 526
  22. Percentage Distribution of Blacks and Whites by Pay
      Grade, All DOD, 1962.................................. 527
  23. Percentage Distribution of Navy Enlisted Personnel
      by Race, AFQT Groups, Pay Grade, and Length of
      Service, 1962......................................... 528
  24. Black Percentages, 1962-1968.......................... 568
  25. Rates for First Reenlistments, 1964-1967.............. 569
  26. Black Attendance at the Military Academies, July 1968. 569
  27. Army and Air Force Commissions Granted at
      Predominately Black Schools........................... 570
  28. Percentage of Negroes in Certain Military Ranks,
      1964-1966............................................. 571
  29. Distribution of Servicemen in Occupational Groups
      by Race, 1967......................................... 573

INTEGRATION OF THE ARMED FORCES                                    (p. 001)

CHAPTER 1                                                          (p. 003)


In the quarter century that followed American entry into World War II,
the nation's armed forces moved from the reluctant inclusion of a few
segregated Negroes to their routine acceptance in a racially
integrated military establishment. Nor was this change confined to
military installations. By the time it was over, the armed forces had
redefined their traditional obligation for the welfare of their
members to include a promise of equal treatment for black servicemen
wherever they might be. In the name of equality of treatment and
opportunity, the Department of Defense began to challenge racial
injustices deeply rooted in American society.

For all its sweeping implications, equality in the armed forces
obviously had its pragmatic aspects. In one sense it was a practical
answer to pressing political problems that had plagued several
national administrations. In another, it was the services' expression
of those liberalizing tendencies that were permeating American society
during the era of civil rights activism. But to a considerable extent
the policy of racial equality that evolved in this quarter century was
also a response to the need for military efficiency. So easy did it
become to demonstrate the connection between inefficiency and
discrimination that, even when other reasons existed, military
efficiency was the one most often evoked by defense officials to
justify a change in racial policy.

_The Armed Forces Before 1940_

Progress toward equal treatment and opportunity in the armed forces
was an uneven process, the result of sporadic and sometimes
conflicting pressures derived from such constants in American society
as prejudice and idealism and spurred by a chronic shortage of
military manpower. In his pioneering study of race relations, Gunnar
Myrdal observes that ideals have always played a dominant role in the
social dynamics of America.[1-1] By extension, the ideals that helped
involve the nation in many of its wars also helped produce important
changes in the treatment of Negroes by the armed forces. The
democratic spirit embodied in the Declaration of Independence, for
example, opened the Continental Army to many Negroes, holding out to
them the promise of eventual freedom.[1-2]

                   [Footnote 1-1: Gunnar Myrdal, _The American Dilemma:
                   The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy_, rev. ed.
                   (New York: Harper Row, 1962), p. lxi.]

                   [Footnote 1-2: Benjamin Quarles, _The Negro in the
                   American Revolution_ (Chapel Hill: University of
                   North Carolina Press, 1961), pp. 182-85. The
                   following brief summary of the Negro in the
                   pre-World War II Army is based in part on the
                   Quarles book and Roland C. McConnell, _Negro Troops
                   of Antebellum Louisiana: A History of the
                   Battalion of Free Men of Color_ (Baton Rouge:
                   Louisiana State University Press, 1968); Dudley T.
                   Cornish, _Sable Arm: Negro Troops in the Union
                   Army, 1861-1865_ (New York: Norton, 1966); William
                   H. Leckie, _The Buffalo Soldiers: A Narrative of
                   the Negro Cavalry in the West_ (Norman: University
                   of Oklahoma Press, 1969); William Bruce White, "The
                   Military and the Melting Pot: The American Army and
                   Minority Groups, 1865-1924" (Ph.D. dissertation,
                   University of Wisconsin, 1968); Marvin E. Fletcher,
                   _The Black Soldier and Officer in the United States
                   Army, 1891-1917_ (Columbia: University of Missouri
                   Press, 1974); Arthur E. Barbeau and Florette Henri,
                   _Unknown Soldiers: Black American Troops in World
                   War I_ (Philadelphia: Temple University Press,
                   1974). For a general survey of black soldiers in
                   America's wars, see Jack Foner, _Blacks and the
                   Military in American History: A New Perspective_
                   (New York: Praeger, 1974).]

Yet the fact that the British themselves were taking large numbers (p. 004)
of Negroes into their ranks proved more important than revolutionary
idealism in creating a place for Negroes in the American forces. Above
all, the participation of both slaves and freedmen in the Continental
Army and the Navy was a pragmatic response to a pressing need for
fighting men and laborers. Despite the fear of slave insurrection
shared by many colonists, some 5,000 Negroes, the majority from New
England, served with the American forces in the Revolution, often in
integrated units, some as artillerymen and musicians, the majority as
infantrymen or as unarmed pioneers detailed to repair roads and

Again, General Jackson's need for manpower at New Orleans explains the
presence of the Louisiana Free Men of Color in the last great battle
of the War of 1812. In the Civil War the practical needs of the Union
Army overcame the Lincoln administration's fear of alienating the
border states. When the call for volunteers failed to produce the
necessary men, Negroes were recruited, generally as laborers at first
but later for combat. In all, 186,000 Negroes served in the Union
Army. In addition to those in the sixteen segregated combat regiments
and the labor units, thousands also served unofficially as laborers,
teamsters, and cooks. Some 30,000 Negroes served in the Navy, about 25
percent of its total Civil War strength.

The influence of the idealism fostered by the abolitionist crusade
should not be overlooked. It made itself felt during the early months
of the war in the demands of Radical Republicans and some Union
generals for black enrollment, and it brought about the postwar
establishment of black units in the Regular Army. In 1866 Congress
authorized the creation of permanent, all-black units, which in 1869
were designated the 9th and 10th Cavalry and the 24th and 25th


Military needs and idealistic impulses were not enough to guarantee
uninterrupted racial progress; in fact, the status of black servicemen
tended to reflect the changing patterns in American race relations.
During most of the nineteenth century, for example, Negroes served in
an integrated U.S. Navy, in the latter half of the century averaging
between 20 and 30 percent of the enlisted strength.[1-3] But the
employment of Negroes in the Navy was abruptly curtailed after
1900. Paralleling the rise of Jim Crow and legalized segregation   (p. 005)
in much of America was the cutback in the number of black sailors, who
by 1909 were mostly in the galley and the engine room. In contrast to
their high percentage of the ranks in the Civil War and Spanish-American
War, only 6,750 black sailors, including twenty-four women reservists
(yeomanettes), served in World War I; they constituted 1.2 percent of
the Navy's total enlistment.[1-4] Their service was limited chiefly to
mess duty and coal passing, the latter becoming increasingly rare as
the fleet changed from coal to oil.

                   [Footnote 1-3: Estimates vary; exact racial
                   statistics concerning the nineteenth century Navy
                   are difficult to locate. See Enlistment of Men of
                   Colored Race, 23 Jan 42, a note appended to
                   Hearings Before the General Board of the Navy,
                   1942, Operational Archives, Department of the Navy
                   (hereafter OpNavArchives). The following brief
                   summary of the Negro in the pre-World War II Navy
                   is based in part on Foner's _Blacks and the
                   Military in American History_ as well as Harold D.
                   Langley, "The Negro in the Navy and Merchant
                   Service, 1798-1860," _Journal of Negro History_ 52
                   (October 1967):273-86; Langley's _Social Reform in
                   the United States Navy 1798-1862_, (Urbana:
                   University of Illinois Press, 1967) Peter Karsten,
                   _The Naval Aristocracy: The Golden Age of Annapolis
                   and the Emergence of Modern American Navalism_ (New
                   York: The Free Press, 1972); Frederick S. Harrod,
                   _Manning the New Navy: The Development of a Modern
                   Naval Enlisted Force, 1899-1940_ (Westport:
                   Greenwood Press, 1978).]

                   [Footnote 1-4: Ltr, Rear Adm C. W. Nimitz, Actg
                   Chief, Bureau of Navigation, to Rep. Hamilton Fish,
                   17 Jun 37, A9-10, General Records of the Department
                   of the Navy (hereafter GenRecsNav).]

[Illustration: BUFFALO SOLDIERS. (_Frederick Remington's 1888

When postwar enlistment was resumed in 1923, the Navy recruited
Filipino stewards instead of Negroes, although a decade later it
reopened the branch to black enlistment. Negroes quickly took
advantage of this limited opportunity, their numbers rising from 441
in 1932 to 4,007 in June 1940, when they constituted 2.3 percent of
the Navy's 170,000 total.[1-5] Curiously enough, because black     (p. 006)
reenlistment in combat or technical specialties had never been barred,
a few black gunner's mates, torpedomen, machinist mates, and the like
continued to serve in the 1930's.

                   [Footnote 1-5: Memo, H. A. Badt, Bureau of
                   Navigation, for Officer in Charge, Public
                   Relations, 24 Jul 40, sub: Negroes in U.S. Navy,
                   Nav-641, Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel
                   (hereafter BuPersRecs).]

Although the Army's racial policy differed from the Navy's, the
resulting limited, separate service for Negroes proved similar. The
laws of 1866 and 1869 that guaranteed the existence of four black
Regular Army regiments also institutionalized segregation, granting
federal recognition to a system racially separate and theoretically
equal in treatment and opportunity a generation before the Supreme
Court sanctioned such a distinction in _Plessy_ v. _Ferguson_.[1-6] So
important to many in the black community was this guaranteed existence
of the four regiments that had served with distinction against the
frontier Indians that few complained about segregation. In fact, as
historian Jack Foner has pointed out, black leaders sometimes
interpreted demands for integration as attempts to eliminate black
soldiers altogether.[1-7]

                   [Footnote 1-6: 163 U.S. 537 (1896). In this 1896 case
                   concerning segregated seating on a Louisiana
                   railroad, the Supreme Court ruled that so long as
                   equality of accommodation existed, segregation
                   could not in itself be considered discriminatory
                   and therefore did not violate the equal rights
                   provision of the Fourteenth Amendment. This
                   "separate but equal" doctrine would prevail in
                   American law for more than half a century.]

                   [Footnote 1-7: Foner, _Blacks and the Military in
                   American History_, p. 66.]

The Spanish-American War marked a break with the post-Civil War
tradition of limited recruitment. Besides the 3,339 black regulars,
approximately 10,000 black volunteers served in the Army during    (p. 007)
the conflict. World War I was another exception, for Negroes made up
nearly 11 percent of the Army's total strength, some 404,000 officers
and men.[1-8] The acceptance of Negroes during wartime stemmed from
the Army's pressing need for additional manpower. Yet it was no means
certain in the early months of World War I that this need for men
would prevail over the reluctance of many leaders to arm large groups
of Negroes. Still remembered were the 1906 Brownsville affair, in
which men of the 25th Infantry had fired on Texan civilians, and the
August 1917 riot involving members of the 24th Infantry at Houston,
Texas.[1-9] Ironically, those idealistic impulses that had operated in
earlier wars were operating again in this most Jim Crow of
administrations.[1-10] Woodrow Wilson's promise to make the world safe
for democracy was forcing his administration to admit Negroes to the
Army. Although it carefully maintained racially separate draft calls,
the National Army conscripted some 368,000 Negroes, 13.08 percent of
all those drafted in World War I.[1-11]

                   [Footnote 1-8: Ulysses Lee, _The Employment of Negro
                   Troops_, United States Army in World War II
                   (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1966), p.
                   5. See also Army War College Historical Section,
                   "The Colored Soldier in the U.S. Army," May 1942,
                   p. 22, copy in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 1-9: For a modern analysis of the two
                   incidents and the effect of Jim Crow on black units
                   before World War I, see John D. Weaver, _The
                   Brownsville Raid_ (New York: W. W. Norton Co.,
                   1970); Robert V. Haynes, _A Night of Violence: The
                   Houston Riot of 1917_ (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State
                   University Press, 1976).]

                   [Footnote 1-10: On the racial attitudes of the Wilson
                   administration, see Nancy J. Weiss, "The Negro and
                   the New Freedom: Fighting Wilsonian Segregation,"
                   _Political Science Quarterly_ 84 (March

                   [Footnote 1-11: _Special Report of the Provost
                   Marshal General on Operations of the Selective
                   Service System to December 1918_ (Washington:
                   Government Printing Office, 1919), p. 193.]

Black assignments reflected the opinion, expressed repeatedly in Army
staff studies throughout the war, that when properly led by whites,
blacks could perform reasonably well in segregated units. Once again
Negroes were called on to perform a number of vital though unskilled
jobs, such as construction work, most notably in sixteen specially
formed pioneer infantry regiments. But they also served as frontline
combat troops in the all-black 92d and 93d Infantry Divisions, the
latter serving with distinction among the French forces.

Established by law and tradition and reinforced by the Army staff's
conviction that black troops had not performed well in combat,
segregation survived to flourish in the postwar era.[1-12] The familiar
practice of maintaining a few black units was resumed in the Regular
Army, with the added restriction that Negroes were totally excluded
from the Air Corps. The postwar manpower retrenchments common to all
Regular Army units further reduced the size of the remaining black
units. By June 1940 the number of Negroes on active duty stood at
approximately 4,000 men, 1.5 percent of the Army's total, about the
same proportion as Negroes in the Navy.[1-13]

                   [Footnote 1-12: The development of post-World War I
                   policy is discussed in considerable detail in Lee,
                   _Employment of Negro Troops_, Chapters I and II.
                   See also U.S. Army War College Miscellaneous File
                   127-1 through 127-23 and 127-27, U.S. Army Military
                   History Research Collection, Carlisle Barracks
                   (hereafter AMHRC).]

                   [Footnote 1-13: The 1940 strength figure is
                   extrapolated from Misc Div, AGO, Returns Sec, 9 Oct
                   39-30 Nov 41. The figures do not include some 3,000
                   Negroes in National Guard units under state

_Civil Rights and the Law in 1940_                                 (p. 008)

The same constants in American society that helped decide the status
of black servicemen in the nineteenth century remained influential
between the world wars, but with a significant change.[1-14] Where once
the advancing fortunes of Negroes in the services depended almost
exclusively on the good will of white progressives, their welfare now
became the concern of a new generation of black leaders and emerging
civil rights organizations. Skilled journalists in the black press and
counselors and lobbyists presenting such groups as the National
Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the
National Urban League, and the National Negro Congress took the lead
in the fight for racial justice in the United States. They represented
a black community that for the most part lacked the cohesion,
political awareness, and economic strength which would characterize it
in the decades to come. Nevertheless, Negroes had already become a
recognizable political force in some parts of the country. Both the
New Deal politicians and their opponents openly courted the black vote
in the 1940 presidential election.

                   [Footnote 1-14: This discussion of civil rights in
                   the pre-World War II period draws not only on Lee's
                   _Employment of Negro Troops_, but also on Lee
                   Finkle, _Forum for Protest: The Black Press During
                   World War II_ (Cranbury: Fairleigh Dickinson
                   University Press, 1975); Harvard Sitkoff, "Racial
                   Militancy and Interracial Violence in the Second
                   World War," _Journal of American History_ 58
                   (December 1971):661-81; Reinhold Schumann, "The
                   Role of the National Association for the
                   Advancement of Colored People in the Integration of
                   the Armed Forces According to the NAACP Collection
                   in the Library of Congress" (1971), in CMH; Richard
                   M. Dalfiume, _Desegregation of the United States
                   Armed Forces: Fighting on Two Fronts, 1939-1953_
                   (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1969).]

These politicians realized that the United States was beginning to
outgrow its old racial relationships over which Jim Crow had reigned,
either by law or custom, for more than fifty years. In large areas of
the country where lynchings and beatings were commonplace, white
supremacy had existed as a literal fact of life and death.[1-15] More
insidious than the Jim Crow laws were the economic deprivation and
dearth of educational opportunity associated with racial
discrimination. Traditionally the last hired, first fired, Negroes
suffered all the handicaps that came from unemployment and poor jobs,
a condition further aggravated by the Great Depression. The "separate
but equal" educational system dictated by law and the realities of
black life in both urban and rural areas, north and south, had proved
anything but equal and thus closed to Negroes a traditional avenue to
advancement in American society.

                   [Footnote 1-15: The Jim Crow era is especially well
                   described in Rayford W. Logan's _The Negro in
                   American Life and Thought: The Nadir, 1877-1901_
                   (New York: Dial, 1954) and C. Vann Woodward's _The
                   Strange Career of Jim Crow_, 3d ed. rev. (New York:
                   Oxford University Press, 1974)]

In these circumstances, the economic and humanitarian programs of the
New Deal had a special appeal for black America. Encouraged by these
programs and heartened by Eleanor Roosevelt's public support of civil
rights, black voters defected from their traditional allegiance to the
Republican Party in overwhelming numbers. But the civil rights leaders
were already aware, if the average black citizen was not, that despite
having made some considerable improvements Franklin Roosevelt never,
in one biographer's words, "sufficiently challenged Southern       (p. 009)
traditions of white supremacy to create problems for himself."[1-16]
Negroes, in short, might benefit materially from the New Deal, but
they would have to look elsewhere for advancement of their civil

                   [Footnote 1-16: Frank Freidel, _F.D.R. and the South_
                   (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press,
                   1965), pp. 71-102. See also Bayard Rustin,
                   _Strategies for Freedom: The Changing Patterns of
                   Black Protest_ (New York: Columbia University
                   Press, 1976), p. 16.]

Men like Walter F. White of the NAACP and the National Urban League's
T. Arnold Hill sought to use World War II to expand opportunities for
the black American. From the start they tried to translate the
idealistic sentiment for democracy stimulated by the war and expressed
in the Atlantic Charter into widespread support for civil rights in
the United States. At the same time, in sharp contrast to many of
their World War I predecessors, they placed a price on black support
for the war effort: no longer could the White House expect this
sizable minority to submit to injustice and yet close ranks with other
Americans to defeat a common enemy. It was readily apparent to the
Negro, if not to his white supporter or his enemy, that winning
equality at home was just as important as advancing the cause of
freedom abroad. As George S. Schuyler, a widely quoted black
columnist, put it: "If nothing more comes out of this emergency than
the widespread understanding among white leaders that the Negro's
loyalty is conditional, we shall not have suffered in vain."[1-17] The
NAACP spelled out the challenge even more clearly in its monthly
publication, _The Crisis_, which declared itself "sorry for brutality,
blood, and death among the peoples of Europe, just as we were sorry
for China and Ethiopia. But the hysterical cries of the preachers of
democracy for Europe leave us cold. We want democracy in Alabama,
Arkansas, in Mississippi and Michigan, in the District of Columbia--in
the _Senate of the United States_."[1-18]

                   [Footnote 1-17: Pittsburgh _Courier_, December 21,

                   [Footnote 1-18: _The Crisis_ 47 (July 1940):209.]

This sentiment crystallized in the black press's Double V campaign, a
call for simultaneous victories over Jim Crow at home and fascism
abroad. Nor was the Double V campaign limited to a small group of
civil rights spokesmen; rather, it reflected a new mood that, as
Myrdal pointed out, was permeating all classes of black society.[1-19]
The quickening of the black masses in the cause of equal treatment and
opportunity in the pre-World War II period and the willingness of
Negroes to adopt a more militant course to achieve this end might well
mark the beginning of the modern civil rights movement.

                   [Footnote 1-19: Myrdal, _American Dilemma_, p. 744.]

[Illustration: INTEGRATION IN THE ARMY OF 1888. _The Army Band at Fort
Duchesne, Utah, composed of soldiers from the black 9th Cavalry and
the white 21st Infantry._]

Historian Lee Finkle has suggested that the militancy advocated by
most of the civil rights leaders in the World War II era was merely a
rhetorical device; that for the most part they sought to avoid
violence over segregation, concentrating as before on traditional
methods of protest.[1-20] This reliance on traditional methods was
apparent when the leaders tried to focus the new sentiment among
Negroes on two war-related goals: equality of treatment in the armed
forces and equality of job opportunity in the expanding defense
industries. In 1938 the Pittsburgh _Courier_, the largest and one  (p. 010)
of the most influential of the nation's black papers, called upon the
President to open the services to Negroes and organized the Committee
for Negro Participation in the National Defense Program. These moves
led to an extensive lobbying effort that in time spread to many other
newspapers and local civil rights groups. The black press and its
satellites also attracted the support of several national
organizations that were promoting preparedness for war, and these
groups, in turn, began to demand equal treatment and opportunity in
the armed forces.[1-21]

                   [Footnote 1-20: Lee Finkle, "The Conservative Aims of
                   Militant Rhetoric: Black Protest During World War
                   II," _Journal of American History_ 60 (December

                   [Footnote 1-21: Some impression of the extent of this
                   campaign and its effect on the War Department can
                   be gained from the volume of correspondence
                   produced by the Pittsburgh _Courier_ campaign and
                   filed in AG 322.99 (2-23-38)(1).]

The government began to respond to these pressures before the United
States entered World War II. At the urging of the White House the Army
announced plans for the mobilization of Negroes, and Congress amended
several mobilization measures to define and increase the military
training opportunities for Negroes.[1-22] The most important of these
legislative amendments in terms of influence on future race relations
in the United States were made to the Selective Service Act of 1940.
The matter of race played only a small part in the debate on this
highly controversial legislation, but during congressional hearings on
the bill black spokesmen testified on discrimination against Negroes
in the services.[1-23] These witnesses concluded that if the draft law
did not provide specific guarantees against it, discrimination would

                   [Footnote 1-22: The Army's plans and amendments are
                   treated in great detail in Lee, _Employment of
                   Negro Troops_.]

                   [Footnote 1-23: Hearings Before the Committee on
                   Military Affairs. House of Representatives, 76th
                   Cong., 3d sess., on H.R. 10132, _Selective
                   Compulsory Military Training and Service_, pp.


A majority in both houses of Congress seemed to agree. During      (p. 011)
floor debate on the Selective Service Act, Senator Robert F. Wagner of
New York proposed an amendment to guarantee to Negroes and other
racial minorities the privilege of voluntary enlistment in the armed
forces. He sought in this fashion to correct evils described some ten
days earlier by Rayford W. Logan, chairman of the Committee for Negro
Participation in the National Defense, in testimony before the House
Committee on Military Affairs. The Wagner proposal triggered critical
comments and questions. Senators John H. Overton and Allen J. Ellender
of Louisiana viewed the Wagner amendment as a step toward "mixed"
units. Overton, Ellender, and Senator Lister Hill of Alabama proposed
that the matter should be "left to the Army." Hill also attacked the
amendment because it would allow the enlistment of Japanese-Americans,
some of whom he claimed were not loyal to the United States.[1-24]

                   [Footnote 1-24: _Congressional Record_, 76th Cong.,
                   3d sess., vol. 86, p. 10890.]

the 802d (Colored) Pioneer Regiment in France, 1918_.]

No filibuster was attempted, and the Wagner amendment passed the
Senate easily, 53 to 21. It provided

     that any person between the ages of eighteen and thirty-five
     regardless of race or color shall be afforded an opportunity
     voluntarily to enlist and be inducted into the land and naval
     forces (including aviation units) of the United States for the
     training and service prescribed in subsection (b), if he is
     acceptable to the land or naval forces for such training and

                   [Footnote 1-25: 54 _U.S. Stat._ 885(1940).]

The Wagner amendment was aimed at _volunteers_ for military service.
Congressman Hamilton Fish, also of New York, later introduced a
similar measure in the House aimed at _draftees_. The Fish         (p. 012)
amendment passed the House by a margin of 121 to 99 and emerged intact
from the House-Senate conference. The law finally read that in the
selection and training of men and execution of the law "there shall be
no discrimination against any person on account of race or color."[1-26]

                   [Footnote 1-26: Ibid. Fish commanded black troops in
                   World War I. Captain of Company K, Fifteenth New
                   York National Guard (Colored), which subsequently
                   became the 369th Infantry, Fish served in the much
                   decorated 93d Division in the French sector of the
                   Western Front.]

[Illustration: HEROES OF THE 369TH INFANTRY. _Winners of the Croix de
Guerre arrive in New York Harbor, February 1919._]

The Fish amendment had little immediate impact upon the services'
racial patterns. As long as official policy permitted separate draft
calls for blacks and whites and the officially held definition of
discrimination neatly excluded segregation--and both went unchallenged
in the courts--segregation would remain entrenched in the armed
forces. Indeed, the rigidly segregated services, their ranks swollen
by the draft, were a particular frustration to the civil rights forces
because they were introducing some black citizens to racial
discrimination more pervasive than any they had ever endured in
civilian life. Moreover, as the services continued to open bases
throughout the country, they actually spread federally sponsored
segregation into areas where it had never before existed with the
force of law. In the long run, however, the 1940 draft law and
subsequent draft legislation had a strong influence on the armed
forces' racial policies. They created a climate in which progress
could be made toward integration within the services. Although not
apparent in 1940, the pressure of a draft-induced flood of black   (p. 013)
conscripts was to be a principal factor in the separate decisions of
the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps to integrate their units.

_To Segregate Is To Discriminate_

As with all the administration's prewar efforts to increase
opportunities for Negroes in the armed forces, the Selective Service
Act failed to excite black enthusiasm because it missed the point of
black demands. Guarantees of black participation were no longer
enough. By 1940 most responsible black leaders shared the goal of an
integrated armed forces as a step toward full participation in the
benefits and responsibilities of American citizenship.

The White House may well have thought that Walter White of the NAACP
singlehandedly organized the demand for integration in 1939, but he
was merely applying a concept of race relations that had been evolving
since World War I. In the face of ever-worsening discrimination,
White's generation of civil rights advocates had rejected the idea of
the preeminent black leader Booker T. Washington that hope for the
future lay in the development of a separate and strong black       (p. 014)
community. Instead, they gradually came to accept the argument of one
of the founders of the National Association for the Advancement of
Colored People, William E. B. DuBois, that progress was possible only
when Negroes abandoned their segregated community to work toward a
society open to both black and white. By the end of the 1930's this
concept had produced a fundamental change in civil rights tactics and
created the new mood of assertiveness that Myrdal found in the black
community. The work of White and others marked the beginning of a
systematic attack against Jim Crow. As the most obvious practitioner
of Jim Crow in the federal government, the services were the logical
target for the first battle in a conflict that would last some thirty

This evolution in black attitudes was clearly demonstrated in
correspondence in the 1930's between officials of the NAACP and the
Roosevelt administration over equal treatment in the armed forces. The
discussion began in 1934 with a series of exchanges between Chief of
Staff Douglas MacArthur and NAACP Counsel Charles H. Houston and
continued through the correspondence between White and the
administration in 1937. The NAACP representatives rejected MacArthur's
defense of Army policy and held out for a quota guaranteeing that
Negroes would form at least 10 percent of the nation's military
strength. Their emphasis throughout was on numbers; during these first
exchanges, at least, they fought against disbandment of the existing
black regiments and argued for similar units throughout the

                   [Footnote 1-27: See especially Ltr, Houston to CofS,
                   1 Aug and 29 Aug 34; Ltr, CofS to Houston, 20 Aug
                   34; Ltr, Maj Gen Edgar T. Conley, Actg AG, USA, to
                   Walter White, 25 Nov 35; Ltr, Houston to Roosevelt,
                   8 Oct 37; Ltr, Houston to SW, 8 Oct 37. See also
                   Elijah Reynolds, _Colored Soldiers and the Regular
                   Army_ (NAACP Pamphlet, December 10, 1934). All in
                   C-376, NAACP Collection, Library of Congress.]

Yet the idea of integration was already strongly implied in Houston's
1934 call for "a more united nation of free citizens,"[1-28] and in
February 1937 the organization emphasized the idea in an editorial in
_The Crisis_, asking why black and white men could not fight side by
side as they had in the Continental Army.[1-29] And when the Army
informed the NAACP in September 1939 that more black units were
projected for mobilization, White found this solution unsatisfactory
because the proposed units would be segregated.[1-30] If democracy was
to be defended, he told the President, discrimination must be
eliminated from the armed forces. To this end, the NAACP urged
Roosevelt to appoint a commission of black and white citizens to
investigate discrimination in the Army and Navy and to recommend the
removal of racial barriers.[1-31]

                   [Footnote 1-28: Ibid. Ltr, Houston to CofS, 1 Aug

                   [Footnote 1-29: _The Crisis_ 46 (1939):49, 241, 337.]

                   [Footnote 1-30: Ltr, Presley Holliday to White, 11
                   Sep 39; Ltr, White to Holliday, 15 Sep 39. Both in
                   C-376, NAACP Collection, LC.]

                   [Footnote 1-31: Ltr, White to Roosevelt, 15 Sep 39,
                   in C-376, NAACP Collection, LC. This letter was
                   later released to the press.]

The White House ignored these demands, and on 17 October the secretary
to the President, Col. Edwin M. Watson, referred White to a War
Department report outlining the new black units being created under
presidential authorization. But the NAACP leaders were not to be
diverted from the main chance. Thurgood Marshall, then the head of (p. 015)
the organization's legal department, recommended that White tell the
President "that the NAACP is opposed to the separate units existing in
the armed forces at the present time."[1-32]

                   [Footnote 1-32: Memo, Marshall for White, 28 Oct 39;
                   Ltr, Secy to the President to White, 17 Oct 39.
                   Both in C-376, NAACP Collection, LC.]

When his associates failed to agree on a reply to the administration,
White decided on a face-to-face meeting with the President.[1-33]
Roosevelt agreed to confer with White, Hill of the Urban League, and
A. Philip Randolph, head of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters,
the session finally taking place on 27 September 1940. At that time
the civil rights officials outlined for the President and his defense
assistants what they called the "important phases of the integration
of the Negro into military aspects of the national defense program."
Central to their argument was the view that the Army and Navy should
accept men without regard to race. According to White, the President
had apparently never considered the use of integrated units, but after
some discussion he seemed to accept the suggestion that the Army could
assign black regiments or batteries alongside white units and from
there "the Army could 'back into' the formation of units without

                   [Footnote 1-33: Memo, White for Roy Wilkins et al.,
                   Oct 39; Ltr, Houston to White, Oct 39; Memo,
                   Wilkins to White, 23 Oct 39. All in C-376, NAACP
                   Collection, LC.]

                   [Footnote 1-34: Walter White, "Conference at White
                   House, Friday, September 27, 11:35 A.M.," Arthur B.
                   Spingarn Papers, Library of Congress. See also
                   White's _A Man Called White_ (New York: Viking
                   Press, 1948), pp. 186-87.]

Nothing came of these suggestions. Although the policy announced by
the White House subsequent to the meeting contained concessions
regarding the employment and distribution of Negroes in the services,
it did not provide for integrated units. The wording of the press
release on the conference implied, moreover, that the administration's
entire program had been approved by White and the others. To have
their names associated with any endorsement of segregation was
particularly infuriating to these civil rights leaders, who
immediately protested to the President.[1-35] The White House later
publicly absolved the leaders of any such endorsement, and Press
Secretary Early was forced to retract the "damaging impression" that
the leaders had in any way endorsed segregation. The President later
assured White, Randolph, and Hill that further policy changes would be
made to insure fair treatment for Negroes.[1-36]

                   [Footnote 1-35: Ltr, White to Stephen Early, 21 Oct
                   40. See also Memo, White for R. S. W. [Roy
                   Wilkins], 18 Oct 40. Both in C-376, NAACP
                   Collection, LC. See also Ltr, S. Early to White, 18
                   Oct 40, Incl to Ltr, White to Spingarn, 24 Oct 40,
                   Spingarn Papers, LC.]

                   [Footnote 1-36: White, _A Man Called White_, pp.

Presidential promises notwithstanding, the NAACP set out to make
integration of the services a matter of overriding interest to the
black community during the war. The organization encountered
opposition at first when some black leaders were willing to accept
segregated units as the price for obtaining the formation of more
all-black divisions. The NAACP stood firm, however, and demanded at
its annual convention in 1941 an immediate end to segregation.

In a related move symbolizing the growing unity behind the campaign to
integrate the military, the leaders of the March on Washington
Movement, a group of black activists under A. Philip Randolph,     (p. 016)
specifically demanded the end of segregation in the Army and Navy. The
movement was the first since the days of Marcus Garvey to involve the
black masses; in fact Negroes from every social and economic class
rallied behind Randolph, ready to demonstrate for equal treatment and
opportunity. Although some black papers objected to the movement's
militancy, the major civil rights organization showed no such hesitancy.
Roy Wilkins, a leader of the NAACP, later claimed that Randolph could
supply only about 9,000 potential demonstrators and that the NAACP had
provided the bulk of the movement's participants.[1-37]

                   [Footnote 1-37: Roy Wilkins Oral History Interview,
                   Columbia University Oral History Collection. See
                   also A. Philip Randolph, "Why Should We March,"
                   _Survey Graphic_ 31 (November 1942), as reprinted
                   in John H. Franklin and Isidore Starr, eds., _The
                   Negro in Twentieth Century America_ (New York:
                   Random House, 1967).]

Although Randolph was primarily interested in fair employment
practices, the NAACP had been concerned with the status of black
servicemen since World War I. Reflecting the degree of NAACP support,
march organizers included a discussion of segregation in the services
when they talked with President Roosevelt in June 1941. Randolph and
the others proposed ways to abolish the separate racial units in each
service, charging that integration was being frustrated by prejudiced
senior military officials.[1-38]

                   [Footnote 1-38: White, _A Man Called White_, pp.

The President's meeting with the march leaders won the administration
a reprieve from the threat of a mass civil rights demonstration in the
nation's capital, but at the price of promising substantial reform in
minority hiring for defense industries and the creation of a federal
body, the Fair Employment Practices Committee, to coordinate the
reform. While it prompted no similar reform in the racial policies of
the armed forces, the March on Washington Movement was nevertheless a
significant milestone in the services' racial history.[1-39] It signaled
the beginning of a popularly based campaign against segregation in the
armed forces in which all the major civil rights organizations, their
allies in Congress and the press, and many in the black community
would hammer away on a single theme: segregation is unacceptable in a
democratic society and hypocritical during a war fought in defense of
the four freedoms.

                   [Footnote 1-39: Herbert Garfinkle, _When Negroes
                   March: The March on Washington Movement in the
                   Organizational Politics of FEPC_ (Glencoe: The Free
                   Press, 1959), provides a comprehensive account of
                   the aims and achievements of the movement.]

CHAPTER 2                                                          (p. 017)

World War II: The Army

Civil rights leaders adopted the "Double V" slogan as their rallying
cry during World War II. Demanding victory against fascism abroad and
discrimination at home, they exhorted black citizens to support the
war effort and to fight for equal treatment and opportunity for
Negroes everywhere. Although segregation was their main target, their
campaign was directed against all forms of discrimination, especially
in the armed forces. They flooded the services with appeals for a
redress of black grievances and levied similar demands on the White
House, Congress, and the courts.

Black leaders concentrated on the services because they were public
institutions, their officials sworn to uphold the Constitution. The
leaders understood, too, that disciplinary powers peculiar to the
services enabled them to make changes that might not be possible for
other organizations; the armed forces could command where others could
only persuade. The Army bore the brunt of this attention, but not
because its policies were so benighted. In 1941 the Army was a fairly
progressive organization, and few institutions in America could match
its record. Rather, the civil rights leaders concentrated on the Army
because the draft law had made it the nation's largest employer of
minority groups.

For its part, the Army resisted the demands, its spokesmen contending
that the service's enormous size and power should not be used for
social experiment, especially during a war. Further justifying their
position, Army officials pointed out that their service had to avoid
conflict with prevailing social attitudes, particularly when such
attitudes were jealously guarded by Congress. In this period of
continuous demand and response, the Army developed a racial policy
that remained in effect throughout the war with only superficial
modifications sporadically adopted to meet changing conditions.

_A War Policy: Reaffirming Segregation_

The experience of World War I cast a shadow over the formation of the
Army's racial policy in World War II.[2-1] The chief architects of the
new policy, and many of its opponents, were veterans of the first war
and reflected in their judgments the passions and prejudices of that
era.[2-2] Civil rights activists were determined to eliminate the  (p. 018)
segregationist practices of the 1917 mobilization and to win a
fair representation for Negroes in the Army. The traditionalists of
the Army staff, on the other hand, were determined to resist any
radical change in policy. Basing their arguments on their evaluation
of the performance of the 92d Division and some other black units in
World War I, they had made, but not publicized, mobilization plans
that recognized the Army's obligation to employ black soldiers yet
rigidly maintained the segregationist policy of World War I.[2-3] These
plans increased the number of types of black units to be formed and
even provided for a wide distribution of the units among all the arms
and services except the Army Air Forces and Signal Corps, but they did
not explain how the skilled Negro, whose numbers had greatly increased
since World War I, could be efficiently used within the limitations of
black units. In the name of military efficiency the Army staff had, in
effect, devised a social rather than a military policy for the
employment of black troops.

                   [Footnote 2-1: This survey of the Army and the Negro
                   in World War II is based principally on Lee's
                   _Employment of Negro Troops_. A comprehensive
                   account of the development of policy, the
                   mobilization of black soldiers, and their use in
                   the various theaters and units of World War II,
                   this book is an indispensable source for any
                   serious student of the subject.]

                   [Footnote 2-2: For examples of how World War I
                   military experiences affected the thinking of the
                   civil rights advocates and military traditionalists
                   of World War II, see Lester B. Granger Oral History
                   Interview, 1960, Columbia University Oral History
                   Collection; Interview, Lee Nichols with Lt. Gen.
                   John C. H. Lee (c. 1953). For the influence of
                   World War II on a major contributor to postwar
                   racial policy, see Interview, Lee Nichols with
                   Harry S. Truman, 24 Jun 53. Last two in Nichols
                   Collection, CMH. These interviews are among many
                   compiled by Nichols as part of his program
                   associated with the production of _Breakthrough on
                   the Color Front_ (New York: Random House, 1954).
                   Nichols, a journalist, presented this collection of
                   interviews, along with other documents and
                   materials, to the Center of Military History in
                   1972. The interviews have proved to be a valuable
                   supplement to the official record. They capture the
                   thoughts of a number of important participants,
                   some no longer alive, at a time relatively close to
                   the events under consideration. They have been
                   checked against the sources whenever possible and
                   found accurate.]

                   [Footnote 2-3: Memo, ACofS, G-3, for CofS, 3 Jun 40,
                   sub: Employment of Negro Manpower, G-3/6541-527.]

The White House tried to adjust the conflicting demands of the civil
rights leaders and the Army traditionalists. Eager to placate and
willing to compromise, President Franklin D. Roosevelt sought an
accommodation by directing the War Department to provide jobs for
Negroes in all parts of the Army. The controversy over integration
soon became more public, the opponents less reconcilable; in the weeks
following the President's meeting with black representatives on 27
September 1940 the Army countered black demands for integration with a
statement released by the White House on 9 October. To provide "a fair
and equitable basis" for the use of Negroes in its expansion program,
the Army planned to accept Negroes in numbers approximate to their
proportion in the national population, about 10 percent. Black
officers and enlisted men were to serve, as was then customary, only
in black units that were to be formed in each major branch, both
combatant and noncombatant, including air units to be created as soon
as pilots, mechanics, and technical specialists were trained. There
would be no racial intermingling in regimental organizations because
the practice of separating white and black troops had, the Army staff
said, proved satisfactory over a long period of time. To change would
destroy morale and impair preparations for national defense. Since
black units in the Army were already "going concerns, accustomed
through many years to the present system" of segregation, "no
experiments should be tried ... at this critical time."[2-4]

                   [Footnote 2-4: Memo, TAG for CG's et al., 16 Oct 40,
                   sub: War Department Policy in Regard to Negroes, AG
                   291.21 (10-9-40) M-A-M.]

The President's "OK, F.D.R." on the War Department statement       (p. 019)
transformed what had been a routine prewar mobilization plan into a
racial policy that would remain in effect throughout the war. In fact,
quickly elevated in importance by War Department spokesmen who made
constant reference to the "Presidential Directive," the statement
would be used by some Army officials as a presidential sanction for
introducing segregation in new situations, as, for example, in the
pilot training of black officers in the Army Air Corps. Just as
quickly, the civil rights leaders, who had expected more from the tone
of the President's own comments and more also from the egalitarian
implications of the new draft law, bitterly attacked the Army's

Black criticism came at an awkward moment for President Roosevelt, who
was entering a heated campaign for an unprecedented third term and
whose New Deal coalition included the urban black vote. His opponent,
the articulate Wendell L. Willkie, was an unabashed champion of civil
rights and was reportedly attracting a wide following among black
voters. In the weeks preceding the election the President tried to
soften the effect of the Army's announcement. He promoted Col.
Benjamin O. Davis, Sr., to brigadier general, thereby making Davis the
first Negro to hold this rank in the Regular Army. He appointed the
commander of reserve officers' training at Howard University, Col.
Campbell C. Johnson, Special Aide to the Director of Selective
Service. And, finally, he named Judge William H. Hastie, dean of the
Howard University Law School, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of War.

A successful lawyer, Judge Hastie entered upon his new assignment with
several handicaps. Because of his long association with black causes,
some civil rights organizations assumed that Hastie would be their man
in Washington and regarded his duties as an extension of their crusade
against discrimination. Hastie's War Department superiors, on the
other hand, assumed that his was a public relations job and expected
him to handle all complaints and mobilization problems as had his
World War I predecessor, Emmett J. Scott. Both assumptions proved
false. Hastie was evidently determined to break the racial logjam in
the War Department, yet unlike many civil rights advocates he seemed
willing to pay the price of slow progress to obtain lasting
improvement. According to those who knew him, Hastie was confident
that he could demonstrate to War Department officials that the Army's
racial policies were both inefficient and unpatriotic.[2-5]

                   [Footnote 2-5: The foregoing impressions are derived
                   largely from Interviews, Lee Nichols with James C.
                   Evans, who worked for Judge Hastie during World War
                   II, and Ulysses G. Lee (c. 1953). Both in Nichols
                   Collection, CMH.]

Judge Hastie spent his first ten months in office observing what was
happening to the Negro in the Army. He did not like what he saw. To
him, separating black soldiers from white soldiers was a fundamental
error. First, the effect on black morale was devastating. "Beneath the
surface," he wrote, "is widespread discontent. Most white persons are
unable to appreciate the rancor and bitterness which the Negro, as a
matter of self-preservation, has learned to hide beneath a smile, a
joke, or merely an impassive face." The inherent paradox of trying to
inculcate pride, dignity, and aggressiveness in a black soldier while
inflicting on him the segregationist's concept of the Negro's      (p. 020)
place in society created in him an insupportable tension. Second,
segregation wasted black manpower, a valuable military asset. It was
impossible, Hastie charged, to employ skilled Negroes at maximum
efficiency within the traditionally narrow limitations of black units.
Third, to insist on an inflexible separation of white and black
soldiers was "the most dramatic evidence of hypocrisy" in America's
professed concern for preserving democracy.

Although he appreciated the impossibility of making drastic changes
overnight, Judge Hastie was disturbed because he found "no apparent
disposition to make a beginning or a trial of any different plan." He
looked for some form of progressive integration by which qualified
Negroes could be classified and assigned, not by race, but as
individuals, according to their capacities and abilities.[2-6]

                   [Footnote 2-6: Memo, William H. Hastie for SW, with
                   attachment, 22 Sep 41, sub: Survey and
                   Recommendations Concerning the Integration of the
                   Negro Soldiers Into the Army, G-1/15640-120. See
                   also Intervs, Nichols with Evans and Lee.]

[Illustration: JUDGE HASTIE.]

Judge Hastie gained little support from the Secretary of War, Henry L.
Stimson, or the Chief of Staff, General George C. Marshall, when he
called for progressive integration. Both considered the Army's
segregated units to be in accord with prevailing public sentiment
against mixing the races in the intimate association of military life.
More to the point, both Stimson and Marshall were sensitive to
military tradition, and segregated units had been a part of the Army
since 1863. Stimson embraced segregation readily. While conveying to
the President that he was "sensitive to the individual tragedy which
went with it to the colored man himself," he nevertheless urged
Roosevelt not to place "too much responsibility on a race which was
not showing initiative in battle."[2-7] Stimson's attitude was not
unusual for the times. He professed to believe in civil rights for
every citizen, but he opposed social integration. He never tried to
reconcile these seemingly inconsistent views; in fact, he probably did
not consider them inconsistent. Stimson blamed what he termed Eleanor
Roosevelt's "intrusive and impulsive folly" for some of the criticism
visited upon the Army's racial policy, just as he inveighed against
the "foolish leaders of the colored race" who were seeking "at     (p. 021)
bottom social equality," which, he concluded, was out of the question
"because of the impossibility of race mixture by marriage."[2-8]
Influenced by Under Secretary Robert P. Patterson, Assistant Secretary
John J. McCloy, and Truman K. Gibson, Jr., who was Judge Hastie's
successor, but most of all impressed by the performance of black
soldiers themselves, Stimson belatedly modified his defense of
segregation. But throughout the war he adhered to the traditional
arguments of the Army's professional staff.

                   [Footnote 2-7: Stimson, a Republican, had been
                   appointed by Roosevelt in 1940, along with
                   Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox, in an effort to
                   enlist bipartisan support for the administration's
                   foreign policy in an election year. Stimson brought
                   a wealth of experience with him to the office,
                   having served as Secretary of War under William
                   Howard Taft and Secretary of State under Herbert
                   Hoover. The quotations are from Stimson Diary, 25
                   October 1940, Henry L. Stimson Papers, Yale
                   University Library.]

                   [Footnote 2-8: Henry L. Stimson and McGeorge Bundy,
                   _On Active Service in Peace and War_ (New York:
                   Harper and Brothers, 1947), pp. 461-64. The
                   quotations are from Stimson Diary, 24 Jan 42.]


General Marshall was a powerful advocate of the views of the Army
staff. He lived up to the letter of the Army's regulations,
consistently supporting measures to eliminate overt discrimination in
the wartime Army. At the same time, he rejected the idea that the Army
should take the lead in altering the racial mores of the nation. Asked
for his views on Hastie's "carefully prepared memo,"[2-9] General
Marshall admitted that many of the recommendations were sound but said
that Judge Hastie's proposals

     would be tantamount to solving a social problem which has
     perplexed the American people throughout the history of this
     nation. The Army cannot accomplish such a solution and        (p. 022)
     should not be charged with the undertaking. The settlement of
     vexing racial problems cannot be permitted to complicate the
     tremendous task of the War Department and thereby jeopardize
     discipline and morale.[2-10]

                   [Footnote 2-9: Memo, USW for CofS, 6 Oct 41,

                   [Footnote 2-10: Memo, CofS for SW, 1 Dec 41, sub:
                   Report of Judge William H. Hastie, Civilian Aide to
                   the Secretary of War, dated 22 Sep 41, OCS

As Chief of Staff, Marshall faced the tremendous task of creating in
haste a large Army to deal with the Axis menace. Since for several
practical reasons the bulk of that Army would be trained in the south
where its conscripts would be subject to southern laws, Marshall saw
no alternative but to postpone reform. The War Department, he said,
could not ignore the social relationship between blacks and whites,
established by custom and habit. Nor could it ignore the fact that the
"level of intelligence and occupational skill" of the black population
was considerably below that of whites. Though he agreed that the Army
would reach maximum strength only if individuals were placed according
to their abilities, he concluded that experiments to solve social
problems would be "fraught with danger to efficiency, discipline, and
morale." In sum, Marshall saw no reason to change the policy approved
by the President less than a year before.[2-11]

                   [Footnote 2-11: Ibid. See also Forrest C. Pogue,
                   _George C. Marshall: Organizer of Victory_ (New
                   York: The Viking Press, 1973), pp. 96-99.]

The Army's leaders and the secretary's civilian aide had reached an
impasse on the question of policy even before the country entered the
war. And though the use of black troops in World War I was not
entirely satisfactory even to its defenders,[2-12] there appeared to be
no time now, in view of the larger urgency of winning the war, to plan
other approaches, try other solutions, or tamper with an institution
that had won victory in the past. Further ordering the thoughts of
some senior Army officials was their conviction that wide-scale mixing
of the races in the services might, as Under Secretary Patterson
phrased it, foment social revolution.[2-13]

                   [Footnote 2-12: The Army staff's mobilization
                   planning for black units in the 1930's generally
                   relied upon the detailed testimony of the
                   commanders of black units in World War I. This
                   testimony, contained in documents submitted to the
                   War Department and the Army War College, was often
                   critical of the Army's employment of black troops,
                   although rarely critical of segregation. The
                   material is now located in the U.S. Army's Military
                   History Research Collection, Carlisle Barracks,
                   Pennsylvania. For discussion of the post-World War
                   I review of the employment of black troops, see
                   Lee's _Employment of Negro Troops_, Chapter I, and
                   Alan M. Osur's _Blacks in the Army Air Forces
                   During World War II: The Problem of Race Relations_
                   (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1977),
                   Chapter I.]

                   [Footnote 2-13: Memo, USW for Maj Gen William Bryden
                   (principal deputy chief of staff), 10 Jan 42, OCS

These opinions were clearly evident on 8 December 1941, the day the
United States entered World War II, when the Army's leaders met with a
group of black publishers and editors. Although General Marshall
admitted that he was not satisfied with the department's progress in
racial matters and promised further changes, the conference concluded
with a speech by a representative of The Adjutant General who
delivered what many considered the final word on integration during
the war.

     The Army is made up of individual citizens of the United States
     who have pronounced views with respect to the Negro just as they
     have individual ideas with respect to other matters in their
     daily walk of life. Military orders, fiat, or dicta, will not
     change their viewpoints. The Army then cannot be made the     (p. 023)
     means of engendering conflict among the mass of people
     because of a stand with respect to Negroes which is not
     compatible with the position attained by the Negro in civil
     life.... The Army is not a sociological laboratory; to be
     effective it must be organized and trained according to the
     principles which will insure success. Experiments to meet the
     wishes and demands of the champions of every race and creed for
     the solution of their problems are a danger to efficiency,
     discipline and morale and would result in ultimate defeat.[2-14]

                   [Footnote 2-14: Col Eugene R. Householder, TAGO,
                   Speech Before Conference of Negro Editors and
                   Publishers, 8 Dec 41, AG 291.21 (12-1-41) (1).]

The civil rights advocates refused to concede that the discussion was
over. Judge Hastie, along with a sizable segment of the black press,
believed that the beginning of a world war was the time to improve
military effectiveness by increasing black participation in that
war.[2-15] They argued that eliminating segregation was part of the
struggle to preserve democracy, the transcendent issue of the war, and
they viewed the unvarying pattern of separate black units as consonant
with the racial theories of Nazi Germany.[2-16] Their continuing efforts
to eliminate segregation and discrimination eventually brought Hastie
a sharp reminder from John J. McCloy. "Frankly, I do not think that
the basic issues of this war are involved in the question of whether
colored troops serve in segregated units or in mixed units and I doubt
whether you can convince people of the United States that the basic
issues of freedom are involved in such a question." For Negroes, he
warned sternly, the basic issue was that if the United States lost the
war, the lot of the black community would be far worse off, and some
Negroes "do not seem to be vitally concerned about winning the war."
What all Negroes ought to do, he counseled, was to give unstinting
support to the war effort in anticipation of benefits certain to come
after victory.[2-17]

                   [Footnote 2-15: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_,
                   ch. VI.]

                   [Footnote 2-16: Noteworthy is the fact that for
                   several reasons not related to race (for instance,
                   language and nationality) the German Army also
                   organized separate units. Its 162d Infantry
                   Division was composed of troops from Turkestan and
                   the Caucasus, and its 5th SS Panzer Division had
                   segregated Scandinavian, Dutch, and Flemish
                   regiments. Unlike the racially segregated U.S.
                   Army, Germany's so-called Ost units were only
                   administratively organized into separate divisions,
                   and an Ost infantry battalion was often integrated
                   into a "regular" German infantry regiment as its
                   fourth infantry battalion. Several allied armies
                   also had segregated units, composed, for example,
                   of Senegalese, Gurkhas, Maoris, and Algerians.]

                   [Footnote 2-17: Memo, ASW for Judge Hastie, 2 Jul 42,
                   ASW 291.2, NT 1942.]

Thus very early in World War II, even before the United States was
actively engaged, the issues surrounding the use of Negroes in the
Army were well defined and the lines sharply drawn. Was segregation, a
practice in conflict with the democratic aims of the country, also a
wasteful use of manpower? How would modifications of policy
come--through external pressure or internal reform? Could traditional
organizational and social patterns in the military services be changed
during a war without disrupting combat readiness?

_Segregation and Efficiency_

In the years before World War II, Army planners never had to consider
segregation in terms of manpower efficiency. Conditioned by the
experiences of World War I, when the nation had enjoyed a surplus of
untapped manpower even at the height of the war, and aware of the
overwhelming manpower surplus of the depression years, the staff   (p. 024)
formulated its mobilization plans with little regard for the
economical use of the nation's black manpower. Its decision to use
Negroes in proportion to their percentage of the population was the
result of political pressures rather than military necessity. Black
combat units were considered a luxury that existed to indulge black
demands. When the Army began to mobilize in 1940 it proceeded to honor
its pledge, and one year after Pearl Harbor there were 399,454 Negroes
in the Army, 7.4 percent of the total and 7.95 percent of all enlisted

                   [Footnote 2-18: Strength of the Army, 1 Jan 46,
                   STM-30, p. 61.]

The effect of segregation on manpower efficiency became apparent only
as the Army tried to translate policy into practice. In the face of
rising black protest and with direct orders from the White House, the
Army had announced that Negroes would be assigned to all arms and
branches in the same ratio as whites. Several forces, however, worked
against this equitable distribution. During the early months of
mobilization the chiefs of those arms and services that had
traditionally been all white accepted less than their share of black
recruits and thus obliged some organizations, the Quartermaster Corps
and the Engineer Corps in particular, to absorb a large percentage of
black inductees. The imbalance worsened in 1941. In December of that
year Negroes accounted for 5 percent of the Infantry and less than 2
percent each of the Air Corps, Medical Corps, and Signal Corps. The
Quartermaster Corps was 15 percent black, the Engineer Corps 25
percent, and unassigned and miscellaneous detachments were 27 percent

The rejection of black units could not always be ascribed to racism
alone. With some justification the arms and services tried to restrict
the number and distribution of Negroes because black units measured
far below their white counterparts in educational achievement and
ability to absorb training, according to the Army General
Classification Test (AGCT). The Army had introduced this test system
in March 1941 as its principal instrument for the measurement of a
soldier's learning ability. Five categories, with the most gifted in
category I, were used in classifying the scores made by the soldiers
taking the test (_Table 1_). The Army planned to take officers and
enlisted specialists from the top three categories and the semiskilled
soldiers and laborers from the two lowest.

Table 1--Classification of All Men Tested From March 1941 Through
December 1942

                         White                  Black
  AGCT Category      Number  Percentage     Number  Percentage

  I                 273,626        6.6       1,580        0.4
  II              1,154,700       28.0      14,891        3.4
  III             1,327,164       32.1      54,302       12.3
  IV              1,021,818       24.8     152,725       34.7
  V                 351,951        8.5     216,664       49.2
  Total           4,129,259      100.0     440,162      100.0

_Source_: Tab A, Memo, G-3 for CofS, 10 Apr 43, AG 201.2 (19 Mar 43)(1).

Although there was considerable confusion on the subject, basically
the Army's mental tests measured educational achievement rather than
native intelligence, and in 1941 educational achievement in the United
States hinged more on geography and economics than color. Though black
and white recruits of comparable educations made comparable scores,
the majority of Negroes came from areas of the country where inferior
schools combined with economic and cultural poverty to put them at a
significant disadvantage.[2-19] Many whites suffered similar       (p. 025)
disadvantages, and in absolute numbers more whites than blacks appeared
in the lower categories. But whereas the Army could distribute the
low-scoring white soldiers throughout the service so that an
individual unit could easily absorb its few illiterate and
semiliterate white men, the Army was obliged to assign an almost equal
number of low-scoring Negroes to the relatively few black units where
they could neither be absorbed nor easily trained. By the same token,
segregation penalized the educated Negro whose talents were likely to
be wasted when he was assigned to service units along with the

                   [Footnote 2-19: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_,
                   pp. 241-57. For an extended discussion of Army test
                   scores and their relation to education, see
                   Department of the Army, _Marginal Man and Military
                   Service: A Review_ (Washington: Government Printing
                   Office, 1966). This report was prepared for the
                   Deputy Under Secretary of the Army for Personnel
                   Management by a working group under the leadership
                   of Dr. Samuel King, Office of the Chief of Research
                   and Development.]

Segregation further hindered the efficient use of black manpower by
complicating the training of black soldiers. Although training
facilities were at a premium, the Army was forced to provide its
training and replacement centers with separate housing and other
facilities. With an extremely limited number of Regular Army Negroes
to draw from, the service had to create cadres for the new units and
find officers to lead them. Black recruits destined for most arms and
services were assured neither units, billets, nor training cadres. The
Army's solution to the problem: lower the quotas for black inductees.

The use of quotas to regulate inductees by race was itself a source of
tension between the Army and the Bureau of Selective Service.[2-20]
Selective Service questioned the legality of the whole procedure
whereby white and black selectees were delivered on the basis of
separate calls; in many areas of the country draft boards were under
attack for passing over large numbers of Negroes in order to fill
these racial quotas. With the Navy depending exclusively on
volunteers, Selective Service had by early 1943 a backlog of 300,000
black registrants who, according to their order numbers, should have
been called to service but had been passed over. Selective Service
wanted to eliminate the quota system altogether. At the very least it
demanded that the Army accept more Negroes to adjust the racial
imbalance of the draft rolls. The Army, determined to preserve the
quota system, tried to satisfy the Selective Service's minimum
demands, making room for more black inductees by forcing its arms  (p. 026)
and services to create more black units. Again the cost to efficiency
was high.

                   [Footnote 2-20: For discussion of how Selective
                   Service channeled manpower into the armed forces,
                   see Selective Service System, Special Monograph
                   Number 10, _Special Groups_ (Washington: Government
                   Printing Office, 1953), ch. VIII, and Special
                   Monograph Number 12, _Quotas, Calls, and
                   Inductions_ (Washington: Government Printing
                   Office, 1948), chs. IV-VI.]

     Under the pressure of providing sufficient units for Negroes, the
     organization of units for the sake of guaranteeing vacancies
     became a major goal. In some cases, careful examination of the
     usefulness of the types of units provided was subordinated to the
     need to create units which could receive Negroes. As a result,
     several types of units with limited military value were formed in
     some branches for the specific purpose of absorbing otherwise
     unwanted Negroes. Conversely, certain types of units with
     legitimate and important military functions were filled with
     Negroes who could not function efficiently in the tasks to which
     they were assigned.[2-21]

                   [Footnote 2-21: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_, p.


The practice of creating units for the specific purpose of absorbing
Negroes was particularly evident in the Army Air Forces.[2-22] Long
considered the most recalcitrant of branches in accepting Negroes, (p. 027)
the Air Corps had successfully exempted itself from the allotment of
black troops in the 1940 mobilization plans. Black pilots could not be
used, Maj. Gen. Henry H. Arnold, Chief of the Air Corps, explained,
"since this would result in having Negro officers serving over white
enlisted men. This would create an impossible social problem."[2-23]
And this situation could not be avoided, since it would take several
years to train black mechanics; meanwhile black pilots would have to
work with white ground crews, often at distant bases outside their
regular chain of command. The Air Corps faced strong opposition    (p. 028)
when both the civil rights advocates and the rest of the Army attacked
this exclusion. The civil rights organizations wanted a place for
Negroes in the glamorous Air Corps, but even more to the point the
other arms and services wanted this large branch of the Army to absorb
its fair share of black recruits, thus relieving the rest of a
disproportionate burden.

                   [Footnote 2-22: The Army's air arm was reorganized
                   several times. Designated as the Army Air Corps in
                   1926 (the successor to the historic Army Air
                   Service), it became the Army Air Forces in the
                   summer of 1941. This designation lasted until a
                   separate U.S. Air Force was created in 1947.
                   Organizationally, the Army was divided in March
                   1942 into three equal parts: the Army Ground
                   Forces, the Army Service Forces (originally
                   Services of Supply), and the Army Air Forces. This
                   division was administrative. Each soldier continued
                   to be assigned to a branch of the Army, for
                   example, Infantry, Artillery, or Air Corps, a title
                   retained as the name of an Army branch.]

                   [Footnote 2-23: Memo, CofAC for G-3, 31 May 40, sub:
                   Employment of Negro Personnel in Air Corps Units,

1943. _Stevedores pause for a hot meal at Massacre Bay._]

[Illustration: SERGEANT ADDRESSING THE LINE. _Aviation squadron
standing inspection, 1943._]

When the War Department supported these demands the Army Air Forces
capitulated. Its 1941 mobilization plans provided for the formation of
nine separate black aviation squadrons which would perform the
miscellaneous tasks associated with the upkeep of airfields. During
the next year the Chief of Staff set the allotment of black recruits
for the air arm at a rate that brought over 77,500 Negroes into the
Air Corps by 1943. On 16 January 1941 Under Secretary Patterson
announced the formation of a black pursuit squadron, but the Army Air
Forces, bowing to the opposition typified by General Arnold's comments
of the previous year, trained the black pilots in separate facilities
at Tuskegee, Alabama, where the Army tried to duplicate the expensive
training center established for white officers at Maxwell Field, just
forty miles away.[2-24] Black pilots were at first trained exclusively
for pursuit flying, a very difficult kind of combat for which a Negro
had to qualify both physically and technically or else, in Judge   (p. 029)
Hastie's words, "not fly at all."[2-25] The 99th Fighter Squadron was
organized at Tuskegee in 1941 and sent to the Mediterranean theater in
April 1943. By then the all-black 332d Fighter Group with three
additional fighter squadrons had been organized, and in 1944 it too
was deployed to the Mediterranean.

                   [Footnote 2-24: USAF Oral History Program, Interv
                   with Maj Gen Noel F Parrish (USAF, Ret.), 30 Mar

                   [Footnote 2-25: William H. Hastie, _On Clipped Wings:
                   The Story of Jim Crow in the Army Air Corps_ (New
                   York: NAACP, 1943). Based on War Department
                   documents and statistics, this famous pamphlet was
                   essentially an attack on the Army Air Corps. For a
                   more comprehensive account of the Negro and the
                   Army Air Forces, see Osur, _Blacks in the Army Air
                   Forces During World War II_.]

combat mission in Italy_.]

These squadrons could use only a limited number of pilots, far fewer
than those black cadets qualified for such training. All applicants in
excess of requirements were placed on an indefinite waiting list where
many became overage or were requisitioned for other military and
civilian duties. Yet when the Army Air Forces finally decided to
organize a black bomber unit, the 477th Bombardment Group, in late
1943, it encountered a scarcity of black pilots and crewmen. Because
of the lack of technical and educational opportunities for Negroes in
America, fewer blacks than whites were included in the manpower pool,
and Tuskegee, already overburdened with its manifold training
functions and lacking the means to train bomber crews, was unable to
fill the training gap. Sending black cadets to white training schools
was one obvious solution; the Army Air Forces chose instead to
postpone the operational date of the 477th until its pilots could be
trained at Tuskegee. In the end, the 477th was not declared        (p. 030)
operational until after the war. Even then some compromise with the
Army Air Forces' segregation principles was necessary, since Tuskegee
could not accommodate B-25 pilot transition and navigator-bombardier
training. In 1944 black officers were therefore temporarily assigned
to formerly all-white schools for such training. Tuskegee's position
as the sole and separate training center for black pilots remained
inviolate until its closing in 1946, however, and its graduates, the
"Tuskegee Airmen," continued to serve as a powerful symbol of armed
forces segregation.[2-26]

                   [Footnote 2-26: For a detailed discussion of the
                   black training program, see Osur, _Blacks in the
                   Army Air Forces During World War II_, ch. III; Lee,
                   _Employment of Negro Troops_, pp. 461-66; Charles
                   E. Francis, _The Tuskegee Airmen: The Story of the
                   Negro in the U.S. Air Force_ (Boston Bruce
                   Humphries, 1955).]

Training for black officer candidates other than flyers, like that of
most officer candidates throughout the Army, was integrated. At first
the possibility of integrated training seemed unlikely, for even
though Assistant Secretary of War for Air Robert A. Lovett had assured
Hastie that officer candidate training would be integrated, the
Technical Training Command announced plans in 1942 for a segregated
facility. Although the plans were quickly canceled the command's
announcement was the immediate cause for Hastie's resignation from the
War Department. The Air staff assured the Assistant Secretary of War
in January of 1943 that qualified Negroes were being sent to officer
candidate schools and to training courses "throughout the school
system of the Technical Training Command."[2-27] In fact, Negroes did
attend the Air Forces' officer candidate school at Miami Beach,
although not in great numbers. In spite of their integrated training,
however, most of these black officers were assigned to the
predominantly black units at Tuskegee and Godman fields.

                   [Footnote 2-27: Memo, CofAS for ASW, 12 Jan 43, ASW

The Army Air Forces found it easier to absorb the thousands of black
enlisted men than to handle the black flying squadrons. For the
enlisted men it created a series of units with vaguely defined duties,
usually common labor jobs operating for the most part under a bulk
allotment system that allowed the Air Forces to absorb great numbers
of new men. Through 1943 hundreds of these aviation training
squadrons, quartermaster truck companies, and engineer aviation and
air base security battalions were added to the Air Forces'
organization tables. Practically every American air base in the world
had its contingent of black troops performing the service duties
connected with air operations.

The Air Corps, like the Armor and the Artillery branches, was able to
form separate squadrons or battalions for black troops, but the
Infantry and Cavalry found it difficult to organize the growing number
of separate black battalions and regiments. The creation of black
divisions was the obvious solution, although this arrangement would
run counter to current practice, which was based in part on the Army's
experience with the 92d Division in World War I. Convinced of the poor
performance of that unit in 1918, the War Department had decided in
the 1920's not to form any more black divisions. The regiment would
serve as the basic black unit, and from time to time these regiments
would be employed as organic elements of divisions whose other
regiments and units would be white. In keeping with this decision, the
black 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments were combined in October      (p. 031)
1940 with white regiments to form the 2d Cavalry Division.

Before World War II most black leaders had agreed with the Army's
opposition to all-black divisions, but for different reasons. They
considered that such divisions only served to strengthen the
segregation pattern they so opposed. In the early weeks of the war a
conference of black editors, including Walter White, pressed for the
creation of an experimental integrated division of volunteers. White
argued that such a unit would lift black morale, "have a tremendous
psychological effect upon white America," and refute the enemy's
charge that "the United States talks about democracy but practices
racial discrimination and segregation."[2-28] The NAACP organized a
popular movement in support of the idea, which was endorsed by many
important individuals and organizations.[2-29] Yet this experiment was
unacceptable to the Army. Ignoring its experience with all-volunteer
paratroopers and other special units, the War Department declared that
the volunteer system was "an ineffective and dangerous" method of
raising combat units. Admitting that the integrated division might be
an encouraging gesture toward certain minorities, General Marshall
added that "the urgency of the present military situation necessitates
our using tested and proved methods of procedure, and using them with
all haste."[2-30]

                   [Footnote 2-28: Ltr, Walter White to Gen Marshall, 22
                   Dec 41, AG 291.21 (12-22-41).]

                   [Footnote 2-29: See C-279, 2, Volunteer Division
                   Folder, NAACP Collection, Manuscripts Division,

                   [Footnote 2-30: Ltr, CofS to Dorothy Canfield Fisher,
                   16 Feb 42, OCS 20602-254.]

Even though it rejected the idea of a volunteer, integrated division,
the Army staff reviewed in the fall of 1942 a proposal for
the assignment of some black recruits to white units. The
Organization-Mobilization Group of G-3, headed by Col. Edwin W.
Chamberlain, argued that the Army General Classification Test scores
proved that black soldiers in groups were less useful to the Army than
white soldiers in groups. It was a waste of manpower, funds, and
equipment, therefore, to organize the increasingly large numbers of
black recruits into segregated units. Not only was such organization
wasteful, but segregation "aggravated if not caused in its entirety"
the racial friction that was already plaguing the Army. To avoid both
the waste and the strife, Chamberlain recommended that the Army halt
the activation of additional black units and integrate black recruits
in the low-score categories, IV and V, into white units in the ratio
of one black to nine whites. The black recruits would be used as
cooks, orderlies, and drivers, and in other jobs which required only
the minimum basic training and which made up 10 to 20 percent of those
in the average unit. Negroes in the higher categories, I through III,
would be assigned to existing black units where they could be expected
to improve the performance of those units. Chamberlain defended his
plan against possible charges of discrimination by pointing out that
the Negroes would be assigned wholly on the basis of native capacity,
not race, and that this plan would increase the opportunities for
Negroes to participate in the war effort. To those who objected on the
grounds that the proposal meant racial integration, Chamberlain
replied that there was no more integration involved than in "the   (p. 032)
employment of Negroes as servants in a white household."[2-31]

                   [Footnote 2-31: Draft Memo (initialed E.W.C.) for Gen
                   Edwards, G-3 Negro File, 1942-44. See also Lee,
                   _Employment of Negro Troops_, pp. 152-57.]

The Chamberlain Plan and a variant proposed the following spring
prompted discussion in the Army staff that clearly revealed general
dissatisfaction with the current policy. Nonetheless, in the face of
opposition from the service and ground forces, the plan was abandoned.
Yet because something had to be done with the mounting numbers of
black draftees, the Army staff reversed the decision made in its
prewar mobilization plans and turned once more to the concept of the
all-black division. The 93d Infantry Division was reactivated in the
spring of 1942 and the 92d the following fall. The 2d Cavalry Division
was reconstituted as an all-black unit and reactivated in February
1943. These units were capable of absorbing 15,000 or more men each
and could use men trained in the skills of practically every arm and

This absorbency potential became increasingly important in 1943 when
the chairman of the War Manpower Commission, Paul V. McNutt, began to
attack the use of racial quotas in selecting inductees. He considered
the practice of questionable legality, and the commission faced
mounting public criticism as white husbands and fathers were drafted
while single healthy Negroes were not called.[2-32] Secretary Stimson
defended the legality of the quota system. He did not consider the
current practice "discriminatory in any way" so long as the Army
accepted its fair percentage of Negroes. He pointed out that the
Selective Service Act provided that no man would be inducted "_unless
and until_" he was acceptable to the services, and Negroes were
acceptable "only at a rate at which they can be properly
assimilated."[2-33] Stimson later elaborated on this theme, arguing that
the quota system would be necessary even after the Army reached full
strength because inductions would be limited to replacement of losses.
Since there were few Negroes in combat, their losses would be
considerably less than those of whites. McNutt disagreed with
Stimson's interpretation of the law and announced plans to abandon it
as soon as the current backlog of uninducted Negroes was absorbed, a
date later set for January 1944.[2-34]

                   [Footnote 2-32: Ltr, Paul V. McNutt to SW, 17 Feb 43,
                   AG 327.31 (9-19-40) (1) sec. 12.]

                   [Footnote 2-33: Ltr, SW to McNutt, 20 Feb 43, AG
                   327.31 (9-19-40) (1) sec. 12.]

                   [Footnote 2-34: Ltr, McNutt to SW, 23 Mar 43, AG
                   327.31 (9-19-40) (1) sec. 12.]

A crisis over the quota system was averted when, beginning in the
spring of 1943, the Army's monthly manpower demands outran the ability
of the Bureau of Selective Service to provide black inductees. So long
as the Army requested more Negroes than the bureau could supply,
little danger existed that McNutt would carry out his threat.[2-35] But
it was no victory for the Army. The question of the quota's legality
remained unanswered, and it appeared that the Army might be forced to
abandon the system at some future time when there was a black surplus.

                   [Footnote 2-35: The danger was further reduced when,
                   as part of a national manpower allocation reform,
                   President Roosevelt removed the Bureau of Selective
                   Service from the War Manpower Commission's control
                   and restored it to its independent status as the
                   Selective Service System on 5 December 1943. See
                   Stimson and Bundy, _On Active Service_, pp. 483-86;
                   Theodore Wyckoff, "The Office of the Secretary of
                   War Under Henry L. Stimson," in CMH.]

There were many reasons for the sudden shortage of black inductees (p. 033)
in the spring of 1943. Since more Negroes were leaving the service for
health or other reasons, the number of calls for black draftees had
increased. In addition, local draft boards were rejecting more
Negroes. But the basic reason for the shortage was that the magnitude
of the war had finally turned the manpower surpluses of the 1930's
into manpower shortages, and the shortages were appearing in black as
well as white levies for the armed forces. The Negro was no longer a
manpower luxury. The quota calls for Negroes rose in 1944, and black
strength stood at 701,678 men in September, approximately 9.6 percent
of the whole Army. [2-36] The percentage of black women in the Army
stayed at less than 6 percent of the Women's Army Auxiliary
Corps--after July 1943 the Women's Army Corps--throughout the war.
Training and serving under the same racial policy that governed the
employment of men, the women's corps also had a black recruitment goal
of 10 percent, but despite the active efforts of recruiters and
generally favorable publicity from civil rights groups, the volunteer
organization was unable to overcome the attitude among young black
women that they would not be well received at Army posts.[2-37]

                   [Footnote 2-36: Strength of the Army, 1 Jan 46,
                   STM-30, p. 60.]

                   [Footnote 2-37: Memo, Dir of Mil Pers, SOS, for G-1,
                   12 Sep 42, SPGAM/322.5 (WAAC) (8-24-42). See also
                   Edwin R. Embree, "Report of Informal Visit to
                   Training Camp for WAAC's Des Moines, Iowa" (c.
                   1942), SPWA 291.21. For a general description of
                   Negroes in the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, see
                   Mattie E. Treadwell, _The Women's Army Corps_,
                   United States Army in World War II (Washington:
                   Government Printing Office, 1954), especially
                   Chapter III. See also Lee, _Employment of Negro
                   Troops_, pp. 421-26.]

Faced with manpower shortages, the Army began to reassess its plan to
distribute Negroes proportionately throughout the arms and services.
The demand for new service units had soared as the size of the
overseas armies grew, while black combat units, unwanted by overseas
commanders, had remained stationed in the United States. The War
Department hoped to ease the strain on manpower resources by
converting black combat troops into service troops. A notable example
of the wholesale conversion of such combat troops and one that
received considerable notice in the press was the inactivation of the
2d Cavalry Division upon its arrival in North Africa in March 1944.
Victims of the change included the 9th and 10th Cavalry regiments,
historic combat units that had fought with distinction in the Indian
wars, with Teddy Roosevelt in Cuba, and in the Philippine

                   [Footnote 2-38: Inactivation of the 2d Cavalry
                   Division began in February 1944, and its
                   headquarters completed the process on 10 May. The
                   9th Cavalry was inactivated on 7 March, the 10th
                   Cavalry on 20 March 1944.]

By trying to justify the conversion, Secretary Stimson only aggravated
the controversy. In the face of congressional questions and criticism
in the black press, Stimson declared that the decision stemmed from a
study of the relative abilities and status of training of the troops
in the units available for conversion. If black units were
particularly affected, it was because "many of the Negro units have
been unable to master efficiently the techniques of modern
weapons."[2-39] Thus, by the end of 1944, the Army had abandoned its
attempt to maintain a balance between black combat and service units,
and during the rest of the war most Negroes were assigned to service

                   [Footnote 2-39: Ltr, SW to Rep. Hamilton Fish, 19 Feb
                   44, reprinted in U.S. Congress, House,
                   _Congressional Record_, 78th Cong., 2d sess., pp.

According to the War Department, the relationship between Negroes  (p. 034)
and the Army was a mutual obligation. Negroes had the right and duty
to serve their country to the best of their abilities; the Army had
the right and the duty to see that they did so. True, the use of black
troops was made difficult because their schooling had been largely
inferior and their work therefore chiefly unskilled. Nevertheless, the
Army staff concluded, all races were equally endowed for war and most
of the less mentally alert could fight if properly led.[2-40] A manual
on leadership observed:

     War Department concern with the Negro is focused directly and
     solely on the problem of the most effective use of colored troops
      ... the Army has no authority or intention to participate in
     social reform as such but does view the problem as a matter of
     efficient troop utilization. With an imposed ceiling on the
     maximum strength of the Army it is the responsibility of all
     officers to assure the most efficient use of the manpower

                   [Footnote 2-40: War Department Pamphlet 20-6,
                   _Command of Negro Troops_, 29 February 1944.]

                   [Footnote 2-41: Army Service Forces Manual M-5,
                   _Leadership and the Negro Soldier_, October 1944,
                   p. iv.]

But the best efforts of good officers could not avail against poor
policy. Although the Army maintained that Negroes had to bear a
proportionate share of the casualties, by policy it assigned the
majority to noncombat units and thus withheld the chance for them to
assume an equal risk. Subscribing to the advantage of making full use
of individual abilities, the Army nevertheless continued to consider
Negroes as a group and to insist that military efficiency required
racially segregated units. Segregation in turn burdened the service
with the costly provision of separate facilities for the races.
Although a large number of Negroes served in World War II, their
employment was limited in opportunity and expensive for the service.

_The Need for Change_

If segregation weakened the Army's organization for global war, it had
even more serious effects on every tenth soldier, for as it deepened
the Negro's sense of inferiority it devastated his morale. It was a
major cause of the poor performance and the disciplinary problems that
plagued so many black units. And it made black soldiers blame their
personal difficulties and misfortunes, many the common lot of any
soldier, on racial discrimination.[2-42]

                   [Footnote 2-42: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_, p.
                   84; for a full discussion of morale, see ch. XI.
                   See also David G. Mandelbaum, _Soldier Groups and
                   Negro Soldiers_ (Berkeley: University of California
                   Press, 1952); Charles Dollard and Donald Young, "In
                   the Armed Forces," _Survey Graphic_ 36 (January

Deteriorating morale in black units and pressure from a critical
audience of articulate Negroes and their sympathizers led the War
Department to focus special attention on its race problem. Early in
the war Secretary Stimson had agreed with a General Staff
recommendation that a permanent committee be formed to evaluate racial
incidents, propose special reforms, and answer questions involving the
training and assignment of Negroes.[2-43] On 27 August 1942 he
established the Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies, with
Assistant Secretary McCloy as chairman.[2-44] Caught in the cross  (p. 035)
fire of black demands and Army traditions, the committee contented
itself at first with collecting information on the racial situation
and acting as a clearinghouse for recommendations on the employment of
black troops.[2-45]

                   [Footnote 2-43: Memo, G-1 for CofS, 18 Jul 42; DF,
                   G-1 to TAG, 11 Aug 42. Both in AG 334 (Advisory
                   Cmte on Negro Trp Policies, 11 Jul 42) (1).]

                   [Footnote 2-44: The committee included the Assistant
                   Chiefs of Staff, G-1, of the War Department General
                   Staff, the Air Staff, and the Army Ground Forces;
                   the Director of Personnel, Army Service Forces;
                   General Davis, representing The Inspector General,
                   and an acting secretary. The Civilian Aide to the
                   Secretary of War was not a member, although Judge
                   Hastie's successor was made an _ex officio_ member
                   in March 1943. See Min of Mtg of Advisory Cmte, Col
                   J. S. Leonard, 22 Mar 43, ASW 291.2 NTC.]

                   [Footnote 2-45: See, for example, Memo, Recorder,
                   Cmte on Negro Troop Policies (Col John H.
                   McCormick), for CofS, sub: Negro Troops, WDCSA
                   291.2 (12-24-42).]


Serious racial trouble was developing by the end of the first year of
the war. The trouble was a product of many factors, including the
psychological effects of segregation which may not have been so
obvious to the committee or even to the black soldier. Other factors,
however, were visible to all and begged for remedial action. For
example, the practice of using racially separated facilities on
military posts, which was not sanctioned in the Army's basic plan for
black troops, took hold early in the war. Many black units were
located at camps in the south, where commanders insisted on applying
local laws and customs inside the military reservations. This      (p. 036)
practice spread rapidly, and soon in widely separated sections of the
country commanders were separating the races in theaters, post
exchanges, service clubs, and buses operating on posts. The
accommodations provided Negroes were separate but rarely equal, and
substandard recreational and housing facilities assigned to black
troops were a constant source of irritation. In fact the Army, through
the actions of local commanders, actually introduced Jim Crow in some
places at home and abroad. Negroes considered such practices in
violation of military regulations and inconsistent with the announced
principles for which the United States was fighting. Many believed
themselves the victims of the personal prejudices of the local
commander. Judge Hastie reported their feelings: "The traditional
mores of the South have been widely accepted and adopted by the Army
as the basis of policy and practice affecting the Negro soldier.... In
tactical organization, in physical location, in human contacts, the
Negro soldier is separated from the white soldier as completely as

                   [Footnote 2-46: Memo, Hastie for SW, 22 Sep 41, sub:
                   Survey and Recommendations Concerning the
                   Integration of the Negro Soldier Into the Army,

In November 1941 another controversy erupted over the discovery that
the Red Cross had established racially segregated blood banks. The Red
Cross readily admitted that it had no scientific justification for the
racial separation of blood and blamed the armed services for the
decision. Despite the evidence of science and at risk of demoralizing
the black community, the Army's Surgeon General defended the
controversial practice as necessary to insure the acceptance of a
potentially unpopular program. Ignoring constant criticism from the
NAACP and elements of the black press, the armed forces continued to
demand segregated blood banks throughout the war. Negroes appreciated
the irony of the situation, for they were well aware that a black
doctor, Charles R. Drew, had been a pioneer researcher in the plasma
extraction process and had directed the first Red Cross blood

                   [Footnote 2-47: On 16 January 1942 the Navy announced
                   that "in deference to the wishes of those for whom
                   the plasma is being provided, the blood will be
                   processed separately so that those receiving
                   transfusions may be given blood of their own race."
                   Three days later the Chief of the Bureau of
                   Medicine, who was also the President's personal
                   physician, told the Secretary of the Navy, "It is
                   my opinion that at this time we cannot afford to
                   open up a subject such as mixing blood or plasma
                   regardless of the theoretical fact that there is no
                   chemical difference in human blood." See Memo, Rear
                   Adm Ross T. McIntire for SecNav, 19 Jan 42,
                   GenRecsNav. See also Florence Murray, ed., _Negro
                   Handbook, 1946-1947_ (New York: A. A. Wyn, 1948),
                   pp. 373-74. For effect of segregated blood banks on
                   black morale, see Mary A. Morton, "The Federal
                   Government and Negro Morale," _Journal of Negro
                   Education_ (Summer 1943): 452, 455-56.]

Black morale suffered further in the leadership crisis that developed
in black units early in the war. The logic of segregated units
demanded a black officer corps, but there were never enough black
officers to command all the black units. In 1942 only 0.35 percent of
the Negroes in the Army were officers, a shortcoming that could not be
explained by poor education alone.[2-48] But when the number of black
officers did begin to increase, obstacles to their employment
appeared: some white commanders, assuming that Negroes did not
possess leadership ability and that black troops preferred white   (p. 037)
officers, demanded white officers for their units. Limited segregated
recreational and living facilities for black officers prevented their
assignment to some bases, while the active opposition of civilian
communities forced the Army to exclude them from others. The Army
staff practice of forbidding Negroes to outrank or command white
officers serving in the same unit not only limited the employment and
restricted the rank of black officers but also created invidious
distinctions between white and black officers in the same unit. It
tended to convince enlisted men that their black leaders were not
full-fledged officers. Thus restricted in assignment and segregated
socially and professionally, his ability and status in question, the
black officer was often an object of scorn to himself and to his men.

                   [Footnote 2-48: Eli Ginzberg, _The Negro Potential_
                   (New York: Columbia University Press, 1956), p. 85.
                   Ginzberg points out that only about one out of ten
                   black soldiers in the upper two mental categories
                   became an officer, compared to one out of four
                   white soldiers.]

The attitude and caliber of white officers assigned to black units
hardly compensated for the lack of black officers. In general, white
officers resented their assignment to black units and were quick to
seek transfer. Worse still, black units, where sensitive and patient
leaders were needed to create an effective military force, often
became, as they had in earlier wars, dumping grounds for officers
unwanted in white units.[2-49] The Army staff further aggravated black
sensibilities by showing a preference for officers of southern birth
and training, believing them to be generally more competent to
exercise command over Negroes. In reality many Negroes, especially
those from the urban centers, particularly resented southern officers.
At best these officers appeared paternalistic, and Negroes disliked
being treated as a separate and distinct group that needed special
handling and protection. As General Davis later circumspectly
reported, "many colored people of today expect only a certain line of
treatment from white officers born and reared in the South, namely,
that which follows the southern pattern, which is most distasteful to

                   [Footnote 2-49: Memo, DCofS to CG, AAF, 10 Aug 42,
                   sub: Professional Qualities of Officers Assigned to
                   Negro Units, WDGAP 322.99; Memo, CG, VII Corps, to
                   CG, AGF, 28 Aug 42, same sub, GNAGS 210.31.]

                   [Footnote 2-50: Brig Gen B. O. Davis, "History of a
                   Special Section Office of the Inspector General (29
                   June 1941 to 16 November 1944)," p. 8, in CMH.]

Some of these humiliations might have been less demeaning had the
black soldier been convinced that he was a full partner in the crusade
against fascism. As news of the conversion of black units from combat
to service duties and the word that no new black combat units were
being organized became a matter of public knowledge, the black press
asked: Will any black combat units be left? Will any of those left be
allowed to fight? In fact, would black units ever get overseas?

Actually, the Army had a clear-cut plan for the overseas employment of
both black service and combat units. In May 1942 the War Department
directed the Army Air Forces, Ground Forces, and Service Forces to
make sure that black troops were ordered overseas in numbers not less
than their percentage in each of these commands. Theater commanders
would be informed of orders moving black troops to their commands, but
they would not be asked to agree to their shipment beforehand. Since
troop shipments to the British Isles were the chief concern at     (p. 038)
that time, the order added that "there will be no positive
restrictions on the use of colored troops in the British Isles, but
shipment of colored units to the British Isles will be limited,
initially, to those in the service categories."[2-51]

                   [Footnote 2-51: Ltr, TAG to CG, AAF, et al., 13 May
                   42, AG 291.21 (3-31-42).]

The problem here was not the Army's policy but the fact that certain
foreign governments and even some commanders in American territories
wanted to exclude Negroes. Some countries objected to black soldiers
because they feared race riots and miscegenation. Others with large
black populations of their own felt that black soldiers with their
higher rates of pay might create unrest. Still other countries had
national exclusion laws. In the case of Alaska and Trinidad, Secretary
Stimson ordered, "Don't yield." Speaking of Iceland, Greenland, and
Labrador, he commented, "Pretty cold for blacks." To the request of
Panamanian officials that a black signal construction unit be
withdrawn from their country he replied, "Tell them [the black unit]
they must complete their work--it is ridiculous to raise such
objections when the Panama Canal itself was built with black labor."
As for Chile and Venezuela's exclusion of Negroes he ruled that "As we
are the petitioners here we probably must comply."[2-52] Stimson's
rulings led to a new War Department policy: henceforth black soldiers
would be assigned without regard to color except that they would not
be sent to extreme northern areas or to any country against its will
when the United States had requested the right to station troops in
that country.[2-53]

                   [Footnote 2-52: Stimson's comments were not limited
                   to overseas areas. To a request by the Second Army
                   commander that Negroes be excluded from maneuvers
                   in certain areas of the American south he replied:
                   "No, get the Southerners used to them!" Memo,
                   ACofS, WPD, for CofS, 25 Mar 42, sub: The Colored
                   Troop Problem, OPD 291.2. Stimson's comments are
                   written marginally in ink and initialed "H.L.S."]

                   [Footnote 2-53: Memo, G-1 for TAG, 4 Apr 42, and
                   Revised Proposals, 22 Apr and 30 Apr 42. All in

Ultimately, theater commanders decided which troops would be committed
to action and which units would be needed overseas; their decisions
were usually respected by the War Department where few believed that
Washington should dictate such matters. Unwilling to add racial
problems to their administrative burdens, some commanders had been
known to cancel their request for troops rather than accept black
units. Consequently, very few Negroes were sent overseas in the early
years of the war.

Black soldiers were often the victims of gross discrimination that
transcended their difficulties with the Army's administration. For
instance, black soldiers, particularly those from more integrated
regions of the country, resented local ordinances governing
transportation and recreation facilities that put them at a great
disadvantage in the important matters of leave and amusement.
Infractions of local rules were inevitable and led to heightened
racial tension and recurring violence.[2-54] At times black soldiers
themselves, reflecting the low morale and lack of discipline in their
units, instigated the violence. Whoever the culprits, the Army's files
are replete with cases of discrimination charged, investigations
launched, and exonerations issued or reforms ordered.[2-55] An
incredible amount of time and effort went into handling these cases
during the darkest days of the war--cases growing out of a policy  (p. 039)
created in the name of military efficiency.

                   [Footnote 2-54: Memo, Civilian Aide to SW, 17 Nov 42,
                   ASW 291.2 NT.]

                   [Footnote 2-55: See, for example, AAF Central Decimal
                   Files for October 1942-May 1944 (RG 18). For an
                   extended discussion of this subject, see Lee,
                   _Employment of Negro Troops_, ch XI-XIII.]

Nor was the violence limited to the United States. Racial friction
also developed in Great Britain where some American troops, resenting
their black countrymen's social acceptance by the British, tried to
export Jim Crow by forcing the segregation of recreational facilities.
Appreciating the treatment they were receiving from the British, the
black soldiers fought back, and the clashes grew at times to riot
proportions. General Davis considered discrimination and prejudice the
cause of trouble, but he placed the immediate blame on local
commanders. Many commanders, convinced that they had little
jurisdiction over racial disputes in the civilian community or simply
refusing to accept responsibility, delegated the task of keeping order
to their noncommissioned officers and military police.[2-56] These men,
rarely experienced in handling racial disturbances and often
prejudiced against black soldiers, usually managed to exacerbate the

                   [Footnote 2-56: Memo, Brig Gen B. O. Davis for the
                   IG, 24 Dec 42, IG 333.9-Great Britain.]

In an atmosphere charged with rumors and counterrumors, personal
incidents involving two men might quickly blow up into riots involving
hundreds. In the summer of 1943 the Army began to reap what Ulysses
Lee called the "harvest of disorder." Race riots occurred at military
reservations in Mississippi, Georgia, California, Texas, and Kentucky.
At other stations, the Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies
somberly warned, there were indications of unrest ready to erupt into
violence.[2-57] By the middle of the war, violence over racial issues at
home and abroad had become a source of constant concern for the War

                   [Footnote 2-57: Memo, ASW for CofS, 3 Jul 43, sub:
                   Negro Troops, ASW 291.2 NT. The Judge Advocate
                   General described disturbances of this type as
                   military "mutiny." See The Judge Advocate General,
                   _Military Justice, 1 July 1940 to 31 December
                   1945_, p. 60, in CMH.]

_Internal Reform: Amending Racial Practices_

Concern over troop morale and discipline and the attendant problem of
racial violence did not lead to a substantial revision of the Army's
racial policy. On the contrary, the Army staff continued to insist
that segregation was a national issue and that the Army's task was to
defend the country, not alter its social customs. Until the nation
changed its racial practices or until Congress ordered such changes
for the armed forces, racially separated units would remain.[2-58] In
1941 the Army had insisted that debate on the subject was closed,[2-59]
and, in fact, except for discussion of the Chamberlain Plan there was
no serious thought of revising racial policy in the Army staff until
after the war.

                   [Footnote 2-58: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_, p.

                   [Footnote 2-59: Ltr, TAG to Dr. Amanda V. G. Hillyer,
                   Chmn Program Cmte, D.C. Branch, NAACP, 12 Apr 41,
                   AG 291.21 (2-28-41) (1).]

Had the debate been reopened in 1943, the traditionalists on the Army
staff would have found new support for their views in a series of surveys
made of white and black soldiers in 1942 and 1943. These surveys
supported the theory that the Army, a national institution         (p. 040)
composed of individual citizens with pronounced views on race, would
meet massive disobedience and internal disorder as well as national
resistance to any substantial change in policy. One extensive survey,
covering 13,000 soldiers in ninety-two units, revealed that 88 percent
of the whites and 38 percent of the Negroes preferred segregated
units. Among the whites, 85 percent preferred separate service clubs
and 81 percent preferred separate post exchanges. Almost half of the
Negroes thought separate service clubs and post exchanges were a good
idea.[2-60] These attitudes merely reflected widely held national
views as suggested in a 1943 survey of five key cities by the Office
of War Information.[2-61] The survey showed that 90 percent of the
whites and 25 percent of the blacks questioned supported segregation.

                   [Footnote 2-60: Research Branch, Special Service
                   Division, "What the Soldier Thinks," 8 December
                   1942, and "Attitudes of the Negro Soldier," 28 July
                   1943. Both cited in Lee, _Employment of Negro
                   Troops_, pp. 304-06. For detailed analysis, see
                   Samuel A. Stouffer et al., _Studies in Social
                   Psychology in World War II_, vol. I, _The American
                   Soldier: Adjustment During Army Life_ (Princeton:
                   Princeton University Press, 1949), pp. 556-80. For
                   a more personal view of black experiences in World
                   War II service clubs, see Margaret Halsey's _Color
                   Blind: A White Woman Looks at the Negro_ (New York:
                   Simon and Schuster, 1946). For a comprehensive
                   expression of the attitudes of black soldiers, see
                   Mary P. Motley, ed., _The Invisible Soldier: The
                   Experience of the Black Soldier, World War II_
                   (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 1975), a
                   compilation of oral histories by World War II
                   veterans. Although these interviews were conducted
                   a quarter of a century after the event and in the
                   wake of the modern civil rights movement, they
                   provide useful insight to the attitude of black
                   soldiers toward discrimination in the services.]

                   [Footnote 2-61: Office of War Information, The
                   Negroes' Role in the War: A Study of White and
                   Colored Opinions (Memorandum 59, Surveys Division,
                   Bureau of Special Services), 8 Jul 43, in CMH.]

Some Army officials considered justification by statistics alone a
risky business. Reviewing the support for segregation revealed in the
surveys, for example, the Special Services Division commented: "Many
of the Negroes and some of the whites who favor separation in the Army
indicate by their comments that they are opposed to segregation in
principle. They favor separation in the Army to avoid trouble or
unpleasantness." Its report added that the longer a Negro remained in
the Army, the less likely he was to support segregation.[2-62] Nor did
it follow from the overwhelming support for segregation that a policy
of integration would result in massive resistance. As critics later
pointed out, the same surveys revealed that almost half the
respondents expressed a strong preference for civilian life, but the
Army did not infer that serious disorders would result if these men
were forced to remain in uniform.[2-63]

                   [Footnote 2-62: Special Services Division, "What the
                   Soldier Thinks," Number 2, August 1943, pp. 58-59,
                   SSD 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 2-63: Dollard and Young, "In the Armed
                   Forces," p. 68.]

By 1943 Negroes within and without the War Department had just about
exhausted arguments for a policy change. After two years of trying,
Judge Hastie came to believe that change was possible only in response
to "strong and manifest public opinion." He concluded that he would be
far more useful as a private citizen who could express his views
freely and publicly than he was as a War Department employee, bound to
conform to official policy. Quitting the department, Hastie joined the
increasingly vocal black organizations in a sustained attack on the
Army's segregation policy, an attack that was also being translated
into political action by the major civil rights organizations. In
1943, a full year before the national elections, representatives of
twenty-five civil rights groups met and formulated the demands     (p. 041)
they would make of the presidential candidates: full integration (some
groups tempered this demand by calling for integrated units of
volunteers); abolition of racial quotas; abolition of segregation in
recreational and other Army facilities; abolition of blood plasma
segregation; development of an educational program in race relations
in the Army; greater black participation in combat forces; and the
progressive removal of black troops from areas where they were subject
to disrespect, abuse, and even violence.[2-64]

                   [Footnote 2-64: New York _Times_, December 2, 1943.]

The Army could not afford to ignore these demands completely, as
Truman K. Gibson, Jr., Judge Hastie's successor, pointed out.[2-65] The
political situation indicated that the racial policy of the armed
forces would be an issue in the next national election. Recalling the
changes forced on the Army as a result of political pressures applied
before the 1940 election, Gibson predicted that actions that might now
seem impolitic to the Army and the White House might not seem so
during the next campaign when the black vote could influence the
outcome in several important states, including New York, Pennsylvania,
Illinois, and Michigan. Already the Chicago _Tribune_ and other
anti-administration groups were trying to encourage black protest in
terms not always accurate but nonetheless believable to the black
voter. Gibson suggested that the Army act before the political
pressure became even more intense.[2-66]

                   [Footnote 2-65: Gibson, a lawyer and a graduate of
                   the University of Chicago, became Judge Hastie's
                   assistant in 1940. After Hastie's resignation on 29
                   January 1943, Gibson served as acting civilian aide
                   and assumed the position permanently on 21
                   September 1943. See Memo, ASW for Admin Asst (John
                   W. Martyn), 21 Sep 43, ASW 291.2 NT-Civ Aide.]

                   [Footnote 2-66: Memo, Gibson to ASW, 3 Nov 43, ASW
                   291.2 NT. See also New York _Times_, December 2,

Caught between the black demands and War Department traditions, the
Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies launched an attack--much
too late and too weak, its critics agreed--on what it perceived as the
causes of the Army's racial disorders. Some of the credit for this
attack must go to Truman Gibson. No less dedicated to abolition of
racial segregation than Hastie, Gibson eschewed the grand gesture and
emphasized those practical changes that could be effected one step at
a time. For all his zeal, Gibson was admirably detached.[2-67] He knew
that his willingness to recognize that years of oppression and
injustice had marred the black soldier's performance would earn for
him the scorn of many civil rights activists, but he also knew that
his fairness made him an effective advocate in the War Department. He
worked closely with McCloy's committee, always describing with his
alternatives for action their probable effect upon the Army, the
public, and the developing military situation. As a result of the
close cooperation between the Advisory Committee and Gibson, the Army
for the first time began to agree on practical if not policy changes.

                   [Footnote 2-67: For discussion of Gibson's attitude
                   and judgments, see Interv, author with Evans, 3 Jun

The Advisory Committee's first campaign was directed at local commanders.
After a long review of the evidence, the committee was convinced that
the major cause of racial disorder was the failure of commanders in
some echelons to appreciate the seriousness of racial unrest and their
own responsibility for dealing with the discipline, morale, and    (p. 042)
welfare of their men. Since it found that most disturbances began with
real or fancied incidents of discrimination, the committee concluded
that there should be no discrimination against Negroes in the matter
of privileges and accommodations and none in favor of Negroes that
compromised disciplinary standards. The committee wanted local
commanders to be reminded that maintaining proper discipline and good
order among soldiers, and between soldiers and civilians, was a
definite command responsibility.[2-68]

                   [Footnote 2-68: Memo, Chmn, Advisory Cmte, for CofS,
                   3 Jul 43, sub: Negro Troops, ASW 291.2 NT. This was
                   not sent until 6 July.]

General Marshall incorporated the committee's recommendations in a
letter to the field. He concluded by saying that "failure on the part
of any commander to concern himself personally and vigorously with
this problem will be considered as evidence of lack of capacity and
cause for reclassification and removal from assignment."[2-69] At the
same time, the Chief of Staff did not adopt several of the committee's
specific recommendations. He did not require local commanders to
recommend changes in War Department policy on the treatment of Negroes
and the organization and employment of black units. Nor did he require
them to report on steps taken by them to follow the committee's
recommendations. Moreover, he did not order the dispatch of black
combat units to active theaters although the committee had pointed to
this course as "the most effective means of reducing tension among
Negro troops."

                   [Footnote 2-69: Memo, CofS for CG, AAF, et al., 13
                   Jul 43, sub: Negro Troops, WDCSA 291.21.]

Next, the Advisory Committee turned its attention to the black press.
Judge Hastie and the representatives of the senior civil rights
organizations were judicious in their criticism and accurate in their
charges, but this statement could not be made for much of the black
press. Along with deserving credit for spotlighting racial injustices
and giving a very real impetus to racial progress, a segment of the
black press had to share the blame for fomenting racial disorder by
the frequent publication of inaccurate and inflammatory war stories.
Some field commanders charged that the constant criticism was
detrimental to troop morale and demanded that the War Department
investigate and even censor particular black newspapers. In July 1943
the Army Service Forces recommended that General Marshall officially
warn the editors against printing inciting and untrue stories and
suggested that if this caution failed sedition proceedings be
instituted against the culprits.[2-70] General Marshall followed a more
moderate course suggested by Assistant Secretary McCloy.[2-71] The Army
staff amplified and improved the services of the Bureau of Public
Relations by appointing Negroes to the bureau and by releasing more
news items of special interest to black journalists. The result was a
considerable increase in constructive and accurate stories on      (p. 043)
black participation in the war, although articles and editorials
continued to be severely critical of the Army's segregation policy.

                   [Footnote 2-70: Memo, Advisory Cmte for CofS, 16 Mar
                   43, sub: Inflammatory Publications, ASW 291.2 NT
                   Cmte; Memo, CG, 4th Service Cmd, ASF, to CG, ASF,
                   12 Jul 43, sub: Disturbances Among Negro Troops,
                   with attached note initialed by Gen Marshall, WDCSA
                   291.2 (12 Jul 43).]

                   [Footnote 2-71: Memo, J. J. McC (John J. McCloy) for
                   Gen Marshall, 21 Jul 43, with attached note signed
                   "GCM," ASW 291.2 NT.]

The proposal to send black units into combat, rejected by Marshall
when raised by the Advisory Committee in 1943, became the preeminent
racial issue in the Army during the next year.[2-72] It was vitally
necessary, the Advisory Committee reasoned, that black troops not be
wasted by leaving them to train endlessly in camps around the country,
and that the War Department begin making them a "military asset." In
March 1944 it recommended to Secretary Stimson that black units be
introduced into combat and that units and training schedules be
reorganized if necessary to insure that this deployment be carried out
as promptly as possible. Elaborating on the committee's
recommendation, Chairman McCloy added:

     There has been a tendency to allow the situation to develop where
     selections are made on the basis of efficiency with the result
     that the colored units are discarded for combat service, but
     little is done by way of studying new means to put them in shape
     for combat service.

     With so large a portion of our population colored, with the
     example of the effective use of colored troops (of a much lower
     order of intelligence) by other nations, and with the many
     imponderables that are connected with the situation, we must, I
     think, be more affirmative about the use of our Negro troops. If
     present methods do not bring them to combat efficiency, we should
     change those methods. That is what this resolution purports to

                   [Footnote 2-72: Min of Mtg of Advisory Cmte on Negro
                   Troop Policies, 29 Feb 44, ASW 291.2 Negro Troops
                   Cmte; Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_, pp.

                   [Footnote 2-73: Memo, ASW for SW, 2 Mar 44, inclosing
                   formal recommendations, WDCSA 291.2/13 Negroes

Stimson agreed, and on 4 March 1944 the Advisory Committee met with
members of the Army staff to decide on combat assignments for
regimental combat teams from the 92d and 93d Divisions. In order that
both handpicked soldiers and normal units might be tested, the team
from the 93d would come from existing units of that division, and the
one from the 92d would be a specially selected group of volunteers.
General Marshall and his associates continued to view the commitment
of black combat troops as an experiment that might provide
documentation for the future employment of Negroes in combat.[2-74] In
keeping with this experiment, the Army staff suggested to field
commanders how Negroes might be employed and requested continuing
reports on the units' progress.

                   [Footnote 2-74: Pogue, _Organizer of Victory_, p.

The belated introduction of major black units into combat helped
alleviate the Army's racial problems. After elements of the 93d
Division were committed on Bougainville in March 1944 and an advanced
group of the 92d landed in Italy in July, the Army staff found it
easier to ship smaller supporting units to combat theaters, either as
separate units or as support for larger units, a course that reduced
the glut of black soldiers stationed in the United States. Recognizing
that many of these units had poor leaders, Lt. Gen. Lesley J. McNair,
head of the Army Ground Forces, ordered that, "if practicable," all
leaders of black units who had not received "excellent" or higher  (p. 044)
in their efficiency ratings would be replaced before the units were
scheduled for overseas deployment.[2-75] Given the "if practicable"
loophole, there was little chance that all the units would go overseas
with "excellent" commanders.

                   [Footnote 2-75: Memo, CG, AGF, for CG's, Second Army,
                   et al., n.d., sub: Efficiency Ratings of Commanders
                   of Negro Units Scheduled for Overseas Shipment,
                   GNGAP-L 201.61/9.]

packing mortar shells, cross the West Branch Texas River._]

A source of pride to the black community, the troop commitments also
helped to reduce national racial tensions, but they did little for the
average black soldier who remained stationed in the United States. He
continued to suffer discrimination within and without the gates of the
camp. The committee attributed that discrimination to the fact that
War Department policy was not being carried out in all commands. In
some instances local commanders were unaware of the policy; in others
they refused to pay sufficient attention to the seriousness of what
was, after all, but one of many problems facing them. For some time
committee members had been urging the War Department to write special
instructions, and finally in February 1944 the department issued a
pamphlet designed to acquaint local commanders with an official
definition of Army racial policy and to improve methods of developing
leaders in black units. _Command of Negro Troops_ was a landmark   (p. 045)
publication.[2-76] Its frank statement of the Army's racial problems,
its scholarly and objective discussion of the disadvantages that
burdened the black soldier, and its outline of black rights and
responsibilities clearly revealed the committee's intention to foster
racial harmony by promoting greater command responsibility. The
pamphlet represented a major departure from previous practice and
served as a model for later Army and Navy statements on race.[2-77]

                   [Footnote 2-76: WD PAM 20-6, _Command of Negro
                   Troops_, 29 Feb 44.]

                   [Footnote 2-77: The Army Service Forces published a
                   major supplement to War Department Pamphlet 20-6 in
                   October 1944, see Army Service Forces Manual M-5,
                   _Leadership and the Negro Soldier_.]

But pamphlets alone would not put an end to racial discrimination; the
committee had to go beyond its role of instructor. Although the War
Department had issued a directive on 10 March 1943 forbidding the
assignment of any recreational facility, "including theaters and post
exchanges," by race and requiring the removal of signs labeling
facilities for "white" and "colored" soldiers, there had been little
alteration in the recreational situation. The directive had allowed
the separate use of existing facilities by designated units and camp
areas, so that in many places segregation by unit had replaced
separation by race, and inspectors and commanders reported that
considerable confusion existed over the War Department's intentions.
On other posts the order to remove the racial labels from facilities
was simply disregarded. On 8 July 1944 the committee persuaded the War
Department to issue another directive clearly informing commanders
that facilities could be allocated to specific areas or units, but
that all post exchanges and theaters must be opened to all soldiers
regardless of race. All government transportation, moreover, was to be
available to all troops regardless of race. Nor could soldiers be
restricted to certain sections of government vehicles on or off base,
regardless of local customs.[2-78]

                   [Footnote 2-78: Ltr, TAG to CG, AAF, et al., 8 Jul
                   44, sub: Recreational Facilities, AG 353.8 (5 Jul
                   44) OB-S-A-M.]

Little dramatic change ensued in day-to-day life on base. Some
commanders, emphasizing that part of the directive which allowed the
designation of facilities for units and areas, limited the degree of
the directive's application to post exchanges and theaters and ignored
those provisions concerned with individual rights. This interpretation
only added to the racial unrest that culminated in several incidents,
of which the one at the officers' club at Freeman Field, Indiana, was
the most widely publicized.[2-79] After this incident the committee
promptly asked for a revision of WD Pamphlet 20-6 on the command of
black troops that would clearly spell out the intention of the authors
of the directive to apply its integration provisions explicitly to
"officers' clubs, messes, or similar social organizations."[2-80] In
effect the War Department was declaring that racial separation applied
to units only. For the first time it made a clear distinction      (p. 046)
between Army race policy to be applied on federal military reservations
and local civilian laws and customs to be observed by members of the
armed forces when off post. In Acting Secretary Patterson's words:

     The War Department has maintained throughout the emergency and
     present war that it is not an appropriate medium for effecting
     social readjustments but has insisted that all soldiers,
     regardless of race, be afforded equal opportunity to enjoy the
     recreational facilities which are provided at posts, camps and
     stations. The thought has been that men who are fulfilling the
     same obligation, suffering the same dislocation of their private
     lives, and wearing the identical uniform should, within the
     confines of the military establishment, have the same privileges
     for rest and relaxation.[2-81]

                   [Footnote 2-79: Actually, the use of officers' clubs
                   by black troops was clearly implied if not ordained
                   in paragraph 19 of Army Regulation 210-10, 20
                   December 1940, which stated that any club operating
                   on federal property must be open to all officers
                   assigned to the post, camp, or station. For more on
                   the Freeman Field incident, see Chapter 5, below.]

                   [Footnote 2-80: Memo, Secy, Advisory Cmte, for
                   Advisory Cmte on Special Troop Policies, 13 Jun 45,
                   sub: Minutes of Meeting, ASW 291.2 NT.]

                   [Footnote 2-81: Ltr, Actg SW to Gov. Chauncey Sparks
                   of Alabama, 1 Sep 44, WDCSA 291.2 (26 Aug 44).]

Widely disseminated by the black press as the "anti-Jim Crow law," the
directive and its interpretation by senior officials produced the
desired result. Although soldiers most often continued to frequent the
facilities in their own base areas, in effect maintaining racial
separation, they were free to use any facilities, and this knowledge
gradually dispelled some of the tensions on posts where restrictions
of movement had been a constant threat to good order.

With some pride, Assistant Secretary McCloy claimed on his Advisory
Committee's first birthday that the Army had "largely eliminated
discrimination against the Negroes within its ranks, going further in
this direction than the country itself."[2-82] He was a little
premature. Not until the end of 1944 did the Advisory Committee
succeed in eliminating the most glaring examples of discrimination
within the Army. Even then race remained an issue, and isolated racial
incidents continued to occur.

                   [Footnote 2-82: Ltr, ASW to Herbert B. Elliston,
                   Editor, Washington _Post_, 5 Aug 43, ASW 291.2 NT

_Two Exceptions_

Departmental policy notwithstanding, a certain amount of racial
integration was inevitable during a war that mobilized a biracial army
of eight million men. Through administrative error or necessity,
segregation was ignored on many occasions, and black and white
soldiers often worked and lived together in hospitals,[2-83] rest camps,
schools, and, more rarely, units. But these were isolated cases,
touching relatively few men, and they had no discernible effect on
racial policy. Of much more importance was the deliberate integration
in officer training schools and in the divisions fighting in the
European theater in 1945. McCloy referred to these deviations from
policy as experiments "too limited to afford general conclusions."[2-84]
But if they set no precedents, they at least challenged the Army's
cherished assumptions on segregation and strengthened the postwar
demands for change.

                   [Footnote 2-83: Ltr, USW to Roane Waring, National
                   Cmdr, American Legion, 5 May 43, SW 291.2 NT.
                   Integrated hospitals did not appear until 1943. See
                   Robert J. Parks, "The Development of Segregation in
                   U.S. Army Hospitals, 1940-1942," _Military Affairs_
                   37 (December 1973): 145-50.]

                   [Footnote 2-84: Ltr, ASW to SecNav, 22 Aug 45, ASW
                   291.2 NT (Gen).]

The Army integrated its officer candidate training in an effort to
avoid the mistakes of the World War I program. In 1917 Secretary of
War Newton D. Baker had established a separate training school for (p. 047)
black officer candidates at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, with disappointing
results. To fill its quotas the school had been forced to lower its
entrance standards, and each month an arbitrary number of black
officer candidates were selected and graduated with little regard for
their qualifications. Many World War I commanders agreed that the
black officers produced by the school proved inadequate as troop
commanders, and postwar staff studies generally opposed the future use
of black officers. Should the Army be forced to accept black officers
in the future, these commanders generally agreed, they should be
trained along with whites.[2-85]

                   [Footnote 2-85: Ltr, William Hastie to Lee Nichols,
                   15 Jul 53, in Nichols Collection, CMH; see also
                   Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_ pp. 15-20; Army
                   War College Misc File 127-1 through 127-22, AMHRC.]

[Illustration: GUN CREW OF BATTERY B, 598TH FIELD ARTILLERY, _moving
into position near the Arno River, Italy, September 1944_.]

Despite these criticisms, mobilization plans between the wars all
assumed that black officers would be trained and commissioned,
although, as the 1937 mobilization plan put it, their numbers would be
limited to those required to provide officers for organizations
authorized to have black officers.[2-86] No detailed plans were drawn up
on the nature of this training, but by the eve of World War II a
policy had become fixed: Negroes were to be chosen and trained
according to the same standards as white officers, preferably in the
same schools.[2-87] The War Department ignored the subject of race (p. 048)
when it established the officer candidate schools in 1941. "The basic
and predominating consideration governing selections to OCS," The
Adjutant General announced, would be "outstanding qualities of
leadership as demonstrated by actual services in the Army."[2-88]
General Davis, who participated in the planning conferences, reasoned
that integrated training would be vital for the cooperation that would
be necessary in battle. He agreed with the War Department's silence on
race, adding, "you can't have Negro, white, or Jewish officers, you've
got to have American officers."[2-89]

                   [Footnote 2-86: As published in Mobilization
                   Regulation 1-2 (1938 and May 1939 versions), par.
                   11d, and 15 Jul 39 version, par. 13b.]

                   [Footnote 2-87: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_, p.

                   [Footnote 2-88: TAG Ltr, 26 Apr 41, AG 352 (4-10-41)

                   [Footnote 2-89: Davis, "History of a Special Section
                   Office of the Inspector General."]

[Illustration: TANKERS OF THE 761ST MEDIUM TANK BATTALION _prepare for
action in the European theater, August 1944_.]

The Army's policy failed to consider one practical problem: if race
was ignored in War Department directives, would black candidates ever
be nominated and selected for officer training? Early enrollment
figures suggested they would not. Between July 1941, when the schools
opened, and October 1941, only seventeen out of the 1,997 students
enrolled in candidate schools were Negroes. Only six more Negroes
entered during the next two months.[2-90]

                   [Footnote 2-90: Eleven of these were candidates at
                   the Infantry School, 2 at the Field Artillery
                   School, 7 at the Quartermaster School, and 1 each
                   at the Cavalry, Ordnance, and Finance Schools.
                   Memo, TAG for Admin Asst, OSW, 16 Sep 41, sub:
                   Request of the Civ Aide to the SW for Data Relative
                   to Negro Soldiers, AG 291.21 (9-12-41) M; Memo, TAG
                   for Civ Aide to SW, 18 Nov 41, sub: Request for
                   Data Relative to Negro Soldiers Admitted to OCS, AG
                   291.21 (10-30-41) RB.]

Some civil rights spokesmen argued for the establishment of a      (p. 049)
quota system, and a few Negroes even asked for a return to segregated
schools to insure a more plentiful supply of black officers. Even
before the schools opened, Judge Hastie warned Secretary Stimson that
any effective integration plan "required a directive to Corps Area
Commanders indicating that Negroes are to be selected in numbers
exactly or approximately indicated for particular schools."[2-91] But
the planners had recommended the integrated schools precisely to avoid
a quota system. They were haunted by the Army's 1917 experience,
although the chief of the Army staff's Organizations Division did not
allude to these misgivings when he answered Judge Hastie. He argued
that a quota could not be defended on any grounds "except those of a
political nature" and would be "race discrimination against the

                   [Footnote 2-91: Ltr, Hastie to SW, 8 May 41, ASW
                   291.2 NT.]

                   [Footnote 2-92: Memo, ACofS, G-3, for CofS, 12 May
                   41, sub: Negro Officers; Memo, ACofS, G-3, for
                   ACofS, G-1 (ATTN: Col Wharton), 12 Jun 41, same
                   sub. Both in WDGOT 291.2.]

General Marshall agreed that racial parity could not be achieved at
the expense of commissioning unqualified men, but he was equally
adamant about providing equal opportunity for all qualified
candidates, black and white. He won support for his position from some
of the civil rights advocates.[2-93] These arguments may not have swayed
Hastie, but in the end he dropped the idea of a regular quota system,
judging it unworkable in the case of the officer candidate schools. He
concluded that many commanders approached the selection of officer
candidates with a bias against the Negro, and he recommended that a
directive or confidential memorandum be sent to commanders charged
with the selection of officer candidates informing them that a certain
minimum percentage of black candidates was to be chosen. Hastie's
recommendation was ignored, but the widespread refusal of local
commanders to approve or transmit applications of Negroes, or even to
give them access to appropriate forms, halted when Secretary Stimson
and the Army staff made it plain that they expected substantial
numbers of Negroes to be sent to the schools.[2-94]

                   [Footnote 2-93: Pogue, _Organizer of Victory_, p.

                   [Footnote 2-94: Memo, Hastie for ASW, 5 Sep 41,
                   G-1/15640-120; Ltr, Hastie to Nichols, 15 Jul 53;
                   Tab C to AG 320.2 (11-24-42).]

The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People
meanwhile moved quickly to prove that the demand for a return to
segregated schools, made by Edgar G. Brown, president of the United
States Government Employees, and broadcaster Fulton Lewis, Jr.,
enjoyed little backing in the black community. "We respectfully
submit," Walter White informed Stimson and Roosevelt, "that no leader
considered responsible by intelligent Negro or white Americans would
make such a request."[2-95] In support of its stand the NAACP issued a
statement signed by many influential black leaders.

                   [Footnote 2-95: Telg, Walter White, NAACP, to SW and
                   President Roosevelt, 23 Oct 41, AG 291.21
                   (10-23-41) (3); Ltr, Edgar W. Brown to President
                   Roosevelt and SW, 15 Oct 41, AG 291.2 (10-15-41)
                   (1). See also Memo, ACofS, G-3, for CofS, 23 Oct
                   41, sub: Negro Officer Candidate Schools,

[Illustration: WAAC REPLACEMENTS _training at Fort Huachuca, December

The segregationists attacked integration of the officer candidate  (p. 050)
schools for the obvious reasons. A group of Florida congressmen, for
example, protested to the Army against the establishment of an
integrated Air Corps school at Miami Beach. The War Department
received numerous complaints when living quarters at the schools were
integrated. The president of the White Supremacy League complained
that young white candidates at Fort Benning "have to eat and sleep
with Negro candidates," calling it "the most damnable outrage that was
ever perpetrated on the youth of the South." To all such complaints
the War Department answered that separation was not always possible
because of the small number of Negroes involved.[2-96]

                   [Footnote 2-96: Ltr, Horace Wilkinson to Rep. John J.
                   Sparkman (Alabama), 24 Aug 43; Ltr, TAG to Rep.
                   John Starnes (Alabama), 15 Sep 43. Both in AG 095
                   (Wilkinson) (28 Aug 43). See also Interv, Nichols
                   with Ulysses Lee, 1953.]

In answering these complaints the Army developed its ultimate
justification for integrated officer schools: integration was
necessary on the grounds of efficiency and economy. As one Army
spokesman put it, "our objection to separate schools is based      (p. 051)
primarily on the fact that black officer candidates are eligible
from every branch of the Army, including the Armored Force and tank
destroyer battalions, and it would be decidedly uneconomical to
attempt to gather in one school the materiel and instructor personnel
necessary to give training in all these branches."[2-97]

                   [Footnote 2-97: Ltr, SGS to Sen. Carl Hayden
                   (Arizona), 12 Dec 41, AG 352 (12-12-41). See also
                   Memo, ACofS, G-3, for CofS, 23 Oct 41, sub: Negro
                   Officer Candidate Schools, G-3/43276.]

Officer candidate training was the Army's first formal experiment with
integration. Many blacks and whites lived together with a minimum of
friction, and, except in flight school, all candidates trained
together.[2-98] Yet in some schools the number of black officer
candidates made racially separate rooms feasible, and Negroes were
usually billeted and messed together. In other instances Army
organizations were slow to integrate their officer training. The
Women's Army Auxiliary Corps, for example, segregated black candidates
until late 1942 when Judge Hastie brought the matter to McCloy's
attention.[2-99] Nevertheless, the Army's experiment was far more
important than its immediate results indicated. It proved that even in
the face of considerable opposition the Army was willing to abandon
its segregation policy when the issues of economy and efficiency were
made sufficiently clear and compelling.

                   [Footnote 2-98: Dollard and Young, "In the Armed

                   [Footnote 2-99: Memos, Hastie for ASW, 4 Nov 42 and
                   15 Dec 42; Ltr, Maj Gen A. D. Bruce, Cmdr, Tank
                   Destroyer Center, to ASW, 31 Dec 42. All in ASW
                   291.2 NT (12-2-42).]

The Army's second experiment with integration came in part from the
need for infantry replacements during the Allied advance across
Western Europe in the summer and fall of 1944.[2-100] The Ground Force
Replacement Command had been for some time converting soldiers from
service units to infantry, and even as the Germans launched their
counterattack in the Ardennes the command was drawing up plans to
release thousands of soldiers in Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee's
Communications Zone and train them as infantrymen. These plans left
the large reservoir of black manpower in the theater untapped until
General Lee suggested that General Dwight D. Eisenhower permit black
service troops to volunteer for infantry training and eventual
employment as individual replacements. General Eisenhower agreed, and
on 26 December Lee issued a call to the black troops for volunteers to
share "the privilege of joining our veteran units at the front to
deliver the knockout blow." The call was limited to privates in the
upper four categories of the Army General Classification Test who had
had some infantry training. If noncommissioned officers wanted to
apply, they had to accept a reduction in grade. Although patronizing
in tone, the plan was a bold departure from War Department policy: "It
is planned to assign you without regard to color or race to the units
where assistance is most needed, and give you the opportunity of
fighting shoulder to shoulder to bring about victory.... Your
relatives and friends everywhere have been urging that you be granted
this privilege."[2-101]

                   [Footnote 2-100: For a detailed discussion, see Lee,
                   _Employment of Negro Troops_, Chapter XXII.]

                   [Footnote 2-101: Ltr, Lt Gen John C. H. Lee to
                   Commanders of Colored Troops, ComZ, 26 Dec 44, sub:
                   Volunteers for Training and Assignment as
                   Reinforcements, AG 322X353XSGS.]

The revolutionary nature of General Lee's plan was not lost on     (p. 052)
Supreme Headquarters, Allied Expeditionary Force. Arguing that the
circular promising integrated service would embarrass the Army, Lt.
Gen. Walter Bedell Smith, the chief of staff, recommended that General
Eisenhower warn the War Department that civil rights spokesmen might
seize on this example to demand wider integration. To avoid future
moves that might compromise Army policy, Smith wanted permission to
review any Communications Zone statements on Negroes before they were

General Eisenhower compromised. Washington was not consulted, and
Eisenhower himself revised the circular, eliminating the special call
for black volunteers and the promise of integration on an individual
basis. He substituted instead a general appeal for volunteers, adding
the further qualification that "in the event that the number of
suitable negro volunteers exceeds the replacement needs of negro
combat units, these men will be suitably incorporated in other
organizations so that their service and their fighting spirit may be
efficiently utilized."[2-102] This statement was disseminated throughout
the European theater.

                   [Footnote 2-102: Revised version of above, same date.
                   Copies of both versions in CMH. Later General
                   Eisenhower stated that he had decided to employ the
                   men "as individuals," but the evidence is clear
                   that he meant platoons in 1944, see Ltr, D.D.E. to
                   Gen Bruce C. Clarke, 29 May 63, in CMH.]

The Eisenhower revision needed considerable clarification. It
mentioned the replacement needs of black combat units, but there were
no black infantry units in the theater;[2-103] and the replacement
command was not equipped to retrain men for artillery, tank, and tank
destroyer units, the types of combat units that did employ Negroes in
Europe. The revision also called for volunteers in excess of these
needs to be "suitably incorporated in other organizations," but it did
not indicate how they would be organized. Eisenhower later made it
clear that he preferred to organize the volunteers in groups that
could replace white units in the line, but again the replacement
command was geared to train individual, not unit, replacements. After
considerable discussion and compromise, Eisenhower agreed to have
Negroes trained "as members of Infantry rifle platoons familiar with
the Infantry rifle platoon weapons." The platoons would be sent for
assignment to Army commanders who would provide them with platoon
leaders, platoon sergeants, and, if needed, squad leaders.

                   [Footnote 2-103: The 92d Division was assigned to the
                   Mediterranean theater.]

Unaware of how close they had come to being integrated as individuals,
so many Negroes volunteered for combat training and duty that the
operations of some service units were threatened. To prevent
disrupting these vital operations, the theater limited the number to
2,500, turning down about 3,000 men. Early in January 1945 the
volunteers assembled for six weeks of standard infantry conversion
training. After training, the new black infantrymen were organized
into fifty-three platoons, each under a white platoon leader and
sergeant, and were dispatched to the field, two to work with armored
divisions and the rest with infantry divisions. Sixteen were shipped
to the 6th Army Group, the rest to the 12th Army Group, and all    (p. 053)
saw action with a total of eleven divisions in the First and Seventh

[Illustration: VOLUNTEERS FOR COMBAT IN TRAINING, _47th Reinforcement
Depot, February 1945_.]

In the First Army the black platoons were usually assigned on the
basis of three to a division, and the division receiving them normally
placed one platoon in each regiment. At the company level, the black
platoon generally served to augment the standard organization of three
rifle platoons and one heavy weapons platoon. In the Seventh Army, the
platoons were organized into provisional companies and attached to
infantry battalions in armored divisions. General Davis warned the
Seventh Army commander, Lt. Gen. Alexander M. Patch, that the men had
not been trained for employment as company units and were not being
properly used. The performance of the provisional companies failed to
match the performance of the platoons integrated into white companies
and their morale was lower.[2-104] At the end of the war the theater
made clear to the black volunteers that integration was over. Although
a large group was sent to the 69th Infantry Division to be returned
home, most were reassigned to black combat or service units in the
occupation army.

                   [Footnote 2-104: Davis, "History of a Special Section
                   Office of the Inspector General," p. 19.]

The experiment with integration of platoons was carefully scrutinized.
In May and June 1945, the Research Branch of the Information and
Education Division of Eisenhower's theater headquarters made a     (p. 054)
survey solely to discover what white company-grade officers and
platoon sergeants thought of the combat performance of the black rifle
platoons. Trained interviewers visited seven infantry divisions and
asked the same question of 250 men--all the available company officers
and a representative sample of platoon sergeants in twenty-four
companies that had had black platoons. In addition, a questionnaire,
not to be signed, was submitted to approximately 1,700 white enlisted
men in other field forces for the purpose of discovering what their
attitudes were toward the use of black riflemen. No Negro was asked
his opinion.

More than 80 percent of the white officers and noncommissioned
officers who were interviewed reported that the Negroes had performed
"very well" in combat; 69 percent of the officers and 83 percent of
the noncommissioned officers saw no reason why black infantrymen
should not perform as well as white infantrymen if both had the same
training and experience. Most reported getting along "very well" with
the black volunteers; the heavier the combat shared, the closer and
better the relationships. Nearly all the officers questioned admitted
that the camaraderie between white and black troops was far better
than they had expected. Most enlisted men reported that they had at
first disliked and even been apprehensive at the prospect of having
black troops in their companies, but three-quarters of them had
changed their minds after serving with Negroes in combat, their
distrust turning into respect and friendliness. Of the officers and
noncommissioned officers, 77 percent had more favorable feelings
toward Negroes after serving in close proximity to them, the others
reported no change in attitude; not a single individual stated that he
had developed a less favorable attitude. A majority of officers
approved the idea of organizing Negroes in platoons to serve in white
companies; the practice, they said, would stimulate the spirit of
competition between races, avoid friction with prejudiced whites,
eliminate discrimination, and promote interracial understanding.
Familiarity with Negroes dispersed fear of the unknown and bred
respect for them among white troops; only those lacking experience
with black soldiers were inclined to be suspicious and hostile.[2-105]

                   [Footnote 2-105: ETO I&E Div Rpt E-118 Research Br,
                   The Utilization of Negro Infantry Platoons in White
                   Companies, Jun 45; ASF I&E Div Rpt B-157, Opinions
                   About Negro Infantry Platoons in White Companies of
                   Seven Divisions, 3 Jul 45. For a general critique
                   of black performance in World War II, see Chapter 5

General Brehon B. Somervell, commanding general of the Army Service
Forces, questioned the advisability of releasing the report. An
experiment involving 1,000 volunteers--his figure was inaccurate,
actually 2,500 were involved--was hardly, he believed, a conclusive
test. Furthermore, organizations such as the NAACP might be encouraged
to exert pressure for similar experiments among troops in training in
the United States and even in the midst of active operations in the
Pacific theater--pressure, he believed, that might hamper training and
operations. What mainly concerned Somervell were the political
implications. Many members of Congress, newspaper editors, and others
who had given strong support to the War Department were, he contended,
"vigorously opposed" to integration under any conditions. A strong
adverse reaction from this influential segment of the nation's     (p. 055)
opinion-makers might alienate public support for a postwar program of
universal military training.[2-106]

                   [Footnote 2-106: Memo, CG, ASF, to ASW, 11 Jul 45,
                   ASW 291.2 NT.]

General Omar N. Bradley, the senior American field commander in
Europe, took a different tack. Writing for the theater headquarters
and drawing upon such sources of information as the personal
observations of some officers, General Bradley disparaged the
significance of the experiment. Most of the black platoons, he
observed, had participated mainly in mopping-up operations or combat
against a disorganized enemy. Nor could the soldiers involved in the
experiment be considered typical, in Bradley's opinion. They were
volunteers of above average intelligence according to their
commanders.[2-107] Finally, Bradley contended that, while no racial
trouble emerged during combat, the mutual friendship fostered by
fighting a common enemy was threatened when the two races were closely
associated in rest and recreational areas. Nevertheless, he agreed
that the performance of the platoons was satisfactory enough to
warrant continuing the experiment but recommended the use of draftees
with average qualifications. At the same time, he drew away from
further integration by suggesting that the experiment be expanded to
include employment of entire black rifle companies in white regiments
to avoid some of the social difficulties encountered in rest

                   [Footnote 2-107: The percentage of high school
                   graduates and men scoring in AGCT categories I, II,
                   and III among the black infantry volunteers was
                   somewhat higher than that of all Negroes in the
                   European theater. As against 22 percent high school
                   graduates and 29 percent in the first three test
                   score categories for the volunteers, the
                   percentages for all Negroes in the theater were 18
                   and 17 percent. At the same time the averages for
                   black volunteers were considerably below those for
                   white riflemen, of whom 41 percent were high school
                   graduates and 71 percent in the higher test
                   categories--figures that tend to refute the
                   general's argument. See ASF I&E Div Rpt B-157, 3
                   Jul 45.]

                   [Footnote 2-108: Msg, Hq ComZ, ETO, Paris, France
                   (signed Bradley), to WD 3 Jul 45. For similar
                   reports from the field see, for example, Ltr, Brig
                   Gen R. B. Lovett, ETO AG, to TAG, 7 Sep 45, sub:
                   The Utilization of Negro Platoons in White
                   Companies; Ltr, Hq USFET to TAG, 24 Oct 45, same
                   sub. Both in AG 291.2 (1945).]

General Marshall, the Chief of Staff, agreed with both Somervell and
Bradley. Although he thought that the possibility of integrating black
units into white units should be "followed up," he believed that the
survey should not be made public because "the conditions under which
the [black] platoons were organized and employed were most
unusual."[2-109] Too many of the circumstances of the experiment were
special--the voluntary recruitment of men for frontline duty, the
relatively high number of noncommissioned officers among the
volunteers, and the fact that the volunteers were slightly older and
scored higher in achievement tests than the average black soldier.
Moreover, throughout the experiment some degree of segregation, with
all its attendant psychological and morale problems, had been

                   [Footnote 2-109: Memo, CofS for ASW, 25 Aug 45, WDCSA
                   291.2 Negroes (25 Aug 45).]

The platoon experiment was illuminating in several respects. The fact
that so late in the war thousands of Negroes volunteered to trade the
safety of the rear for duty at the front said something about black
patriotism and perhaps something about the Negro's passion for equality.
It also demonstrated that, when properly trained and motivated and (p. 056)
treated with fairness, blacks, like whites, performed with bravery and
distinction in combat. Finally, the experiment successfully attacked
one of the traditionalists' shibboleths, that close association of the
races in Army units would cause social dissension.

[Illustration: ROAD REPAIRMEN, _Company A, 279th Engineer Battalion,
near Rimberg, Germany, December 1944_.]

It is now apparent that World War II had little immediate effect on
the quest for racial equality in the Army. The Double V campaign
against fascism abroad and racism at home achieved considerably less
than the activists had hoped. Although Negroes shared in the
prosperity brought by war industries and some 800,000 of them served
in uniform, segregation remained the policy of the Army throughout the
war, just as Jim Crow still ruled in large areas of the country.
Probably the campaign's most important achievement was that during the
war the civil rights groups, in organizing for the fight against
discrimination, began to gather strength and develop techniques that
would be useful in the decades to come. The Army's experience with
black units also convinced many that segregation was a questionable
policy when the country needed to mobilize fully.

For its part the Army defended the separation of the races in the name
of military efficiency and claimed that it had achieved a victory over
racial discrimination by providing equal treatment and job opportunity
for black soldiers. But the Army's campaign had also been less than
completely successful. True, the Army had provided specialist training
and opened job opportunities heretofore denied to thousands of
Negroes, and it had a cadre of potential leaders in the hundreds of
experienced black officers. For the times, the Army was a progressive
minority employer. Even so, as an institution it had defended the
separate but equal doctrine and had failed to come to grips with
segregation. Under segregation the Army was compelled to combine large
numbers of undereducated and undertrained black soldiers in units that
were often inefficient and sometimes surplus to its needs. This system
in turn robbed the Army of the full services of the educated and able
black soldier, who had every reason to feel restless and rebellious.

The Army received no end of advice on its manpower policy during the
war. Civil rights spokesmen continually pointed out that segregation
itself was discriminatory, and Judge Hastie in particular hammered on
this proposition before the highest officials of the War           (p. 057)
Department. In fact Hastie's recommendations, criticisms, and
arguments crystallized the demands of civil rights leaders. The Army
successfully resisted the proposition when its Advisory Committee on
Negro Troop Policies under John McCloy modified but did not
appreciably alter the segregation policy. It was a predictable course.
The Army's racial policy was more than a century old, and leaders
considered it dangerous if not impossible to revise traditional ways
during a global war involving so many citizens with pronounced and
different views on race.

What both the civil rights activists and the Army's leaders tended to
ignore during the war was that segregation was inefficient. The myriad
problems associated with segregated units, in contrast to the
efficient operation of the integrated officer candidate schools and
the integrated infantry platoons in Europe, were overlooked in the
atmosphere of charges and denials concerning segregation and
discrimination. John McCloy was an exception. He had clearly become
dissatisfied with the inefficiency of the Army's policy, and in the
week following the Japanese surrender he questioned Navy Secretary
James V. Forrestal on the Navy's experiments with integration. "It has
always seemed to me," he concluded, "that we never put enough thought
into the matter of making a real military asset out of the very large
cadre of Negro personnel we received from the country."[2-110] Although
segregation persisted, the fact that it hampered military efficiency
was the hope of those who looked for a change in the Army's policy.

                   [Footnote 2-110: Ltr, ASW to SecNav, 22 Aug 45, ASW
                   291.2 NT (Gen).]

CHAPTER 3                                                          (p. 058)

World War II: The Navy

The period between the world wars marked the nadir of the Navy's
relations with black America. Although the exclusion of Negroes that
began with a clause introduced in enlistment regulations in 1922
lasted but a decade, black participation in the Navy remained severely
restricted during the rest of the inter-war period. In June 1940 the
Navy had 4,007 black personnel, 2.3 percent of its nearly 170,000-man
total.[3-1] All were enlisted men, and with the exception of six regular
rated seamen, lone survivors of the exclusion clause, all were
steward's mates, labeled by the black press "seagoing bellhops."

                   [Footnote 3-1: All statistics in this chapter are
                   taken from the files of the U.S. Navy, Bureau of
                   Naval Personnel (hereafter cited as BuPers).]

The Steward's Branch, composed entirely of enlisted Negroes and
oriental aliens, mostly Filipinos, was organized outside the Navy's
general service. Its members carried ratings up to chief petty
officer, but wore distinctive uniforms and insignia, and even chief
stewards never exercised authority over men rated in the general naval
service. Stewards manned the officers' mess and maintained the
officers' billets on board ship, and, in some instances, took care of
the quarters of high officials in the shore establishment. Some were
also engaged in mess management, menu planning, and the purchase of
supplies. Despite the fact that their enlistment contracts restricted
their training and duties, stewards, like everyone else aboard ship,
were assigned battle stations, including positions at the guns and on
the bridge. One of these stewards, Dorie (Doris) Miller, became a hero
on the first day of the war when he manned a machine gun on the
burning deck of the USS _Arizona_ and destroyed two enemy planes.[3-2]

                   [Footnote 3-2: After some delay and considerable
                   pressure from civil rights sources, the Navy
                   identified Miller, awarded him the Navy Cross, and
                   promoted him to mess attendant, first class. Miller
                   was later lost at sea. See Dennis D. Nelson, _The
                   Integration of the Negro Into the U.S. Navy_ (New
                   York: Farrar, Straus and Young, 1951), pp. 23-25.
                   The Navy further honored Miller in 1973 by naming a
                   destroyer escort (DE 1091) after him.]

By the end of December 1941 the number of Negroes in the Navy had
increased by slightly more than a thousand men to 5,026, or 2.4
percent of the whole, but they continued to be excluded from all
positions except that of steward.[3-3] It was not surprising that civil
rights organizations and their supporters in Congress demanded a
change in policy.

                   [Footnote 3-3: There were exceptions to this
                   generalization. The Navy had 43 black men with
                   ratings in the general service in December 1941:
                   the 6 regulars from the 1920's, 23 others returned
                   from retirement, and 14 members of the Fleet
                   Reserve. See U.S. Navy, Bureau of Naval Personnel,
                   "The Negro in the Navy in World War II" (1947)
                   (hereafter "BuPers Hist"), p. 1. This study is part
                   of the bureau's unpublished multivolume
                   administrative history of World War II. A copy is
                   on file in the bureau's Technical Library. The work
                   is particularly valuable for its references to
                   documents that no longer exist.]

_Development of a Wartime Policy_                                  (p. 059)

At first the new secretary, Frank Knox, and the Navy's professional
leaders resisted demands for a change. Together with Secretary of War
Stimson, Knox had joined the cabinet in July 1940 when Roosevelt was
attempting to defuse a foreign policy debate that threatened to
explode during the presidential campaign.[3-4] For a major cabinet
officer, Knox's powers were severely circumscribed. He had little
knowledge of naval affairs, and the President, himself once an
Assistant Secretary of the Navy, often went over his head to deal
directly with the naval bureaus on shipbuilding programs and manpower
problems as well as the disposition of the fleet. But Knox was a
personable man and a forceful speaker, and he was particularly useful
to the President in congressional liaison and public relations.
Roosevelt preferred to work through the secretary in dealing with the
delicate question of black participation in the Navy. Knox himself was
fortunate in his immediate official family. James V. Forrestal became
under secretary in August 1940; during the next year Ralph A. Bard, a
Chicago investment banker, joined the department as assistant
secretary, and Adlai E. Stevenson became special assistant.

                   [Footnote 3-4: One of Theodore Roosevelt's Rough
                   Riders, a World War I field artillery officer, and
                   later publisher of the Chicago _Daily News_, Knox
                   was an implacable foe of the New Deal but an ardent
                   internationalist, strongly sympathetic to President
                   Roosevelt's foreign policy.]

Able as these men were, Frank Knox, like most new secretaries
unfamiliar with the operations and traditions of the vast department,
was from the beginning heavily dependent on his naval advisers. These
were the chiefs of the powerful bureaus and the prominent senior
admirals of the General Board, the Navy's highest advisory body.[3-5]
Generally these men were ardent military traditionalists, and, despite
the progressive attitude of the secretary's highest civilian advisers,
changes in the racial policy of the Navy were to be glacially slow.

                   [Footnote 3-5: In 1940 the bureaus were answerable
                   only to the Secretary of the Navy and the
                   President, but after a reorganization of 1942 they
                   began to lose some of their independence. In March
                   1942 President Roosevelt merged the offices of the
                   Chief of Naval Operations and Commander in Chief,
                   U.S. Fleet, giving Admiral Ernest J. King, who held
                   both titles, at least some direction over most of
                   the bureaus. Eventually the Chief of Naval
                   Operations would become a figure with powers
                   comparable to those exercised by the Army's Chief
                   of Staff. See Julius A. Furer, _Administration of
                   the Navy Department in World War II_ (Washington:
                   Government Printing Office, 1959), pp. 113-14. This
                   shift in power was readily apparent in the case of
                   the administration of the Navy's racial policy.]

The Bureau of Navigation, which was charged with primary
responsibility for all personnel matters, was opposed to change in the
racial composition of the Navy. Less than two weeks after Knox's
appointment, it prepared for his signature a letter to Lieutenant
Governor Charles Poletti of New York defending the Navy's policy. The
bureau reasoned that since segregation was impractical, exclusion was
necessary. Experience had proved, the bureau claimed, that when given
supervisory responsibility the Negro was unable to maintain discipline
among white subordinates with the result that teamwork, harmony, and
ship's efficiency suffered. The Negro, therefore, had to be segregated
from the white sailor. All-black units were impossible, the bureau
argued, because the service's training and distribution system     (p. 060)
demanded that a man in any particular rating be available for any duty
required of that rating in any ship or activity in the Navy. The Navy
had experimented with segregated crews after World War I, manning one
ship with an all-Filipino crew and another with an all-Samoan crew,
but the bureau was not satisfied with the result and reasoned that
ships with black crews would be no more satisfactory.[3-6]

                   [Footnote 3-6: Ltr, SecNav to Lt. Gov. Charles
                   Poletti (New York), 24 Jul 40, Nav-620-AT,

[Illustration: DORIE MILLER.]

During the next weeks Secretary Knox warmed to the subject, speaking
of the difficulty faced by the Navy when men had to live aboard ship
together. He was convinced that "it is no kindness to Negroes to
thrust them upon men of the white race," and he suggested that the
Negro might make his major contribution to the armed forces in the
Army's black regimental organizations.[3-7] Confronted with widespread
criticism of this policy, however, Knox asked the Navy's General Board
in September 1940 to give him "some reasons why colored persons should
not be enlisted for general service."[3-8] He accepted the board's
reasons for continued exclusion of Negroes--generally an extension of
the ones advanced in the Poletti letter--and during the next eighteen
months these reasons, endorsed by the Chief of Naval Operations and
the Bureau of Navigation, were used as the department's standard
answer to questions on race.[3-9] They were used at the White House
conference on 18 June 1941 when, in the presence of black leaders,
Knox told President Roosevelt that the Navy could do nothing about
taking Negroes into the general service "because men live in such
intimacy aboard ship that we simply can't enlist Negroes above the
rank of messman."[3-10]

                   [Footnote 3-7: Idem to Sen. Arthur Capper (Kansas), 1
                   Aug 40, QN/P14-4, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-8: Memo, Rear Adm W. R. Sexton, Chmn of
                   Gen Bd, for Capt Morton L. Deyo, 17 Sep 40, Recs of
                   Gen Bd, OpNavArchives.]

                   [Footnote 3-9: Idem for SecNav, 17 Sep 40, sub:
                   Enlistment of Colored Persons in the U.S. Navy,
                   Recs of Gen Bd, OpNavArchives. 1st Ind to Ltr, Natl
                   Public Relations Comm of the Universal Negro
                   Improvement Assn to SecNav, 4 Oct 41; Memo, Chief,
                   BuNav, for CNO, 24 Oct 41, and 2d Ind to same, CNO
                   to SecNav (Public Relations). Both in BuPers
                   QN/P14-4 (411004), GenRecsNav. For examples of the
                   Navy's response on race, see Ltr, Ens Ross R.
                   Hirshfield, Off of Pub Relations, to Roberson
                   County Training School, 25 Oct 41; Ltr, Ens William
                   Stucky to W. Henry White, 4 Feb 42. Both in
                   QN/P14-4. BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 3-10: Quoted in White, _A Man Called
                   White_, p. 191.]

The White House conference revealed an interesting contrast between
Roosevelt and Knox. Whatever his personal feelings, Roosevelt agreed
with Knox that integration of the Navy was an impractical step in  (p. 061)
wartime, but where Knox saw exclusion from general service as the
alternative to integration Roosevelt sought a compromise. He suggested
that the Navy "make a beginning" by putting some "good Negro bands"
aboard battleships. Under such intimate living conditions white and
black would learn to know and respect each other, and "then we can
move on from there."[3-11] In effect the President was trying to lead
the Navy toward a policy similar to that announced by the Army in
1940. While his suggestion about musicians was ignored by Secretary
Knox, the search for a middle way between exclusion and integration
had begun.

                   [Footnote 3-11: Ibid.]

[Illustration: ADMIRAL KING AND SECRETARY KNOX _on the USS Augusta_.]

The general public knew nothing of this search, and in the heightened
atmosphere of early war days, charged with unending propaganda about
the four freedoms and the forces of democracy against fascism, the
administration's racial attitudes were being questioned daily by civil
rights spokesmen and by some Democratic politicians.[3-12] As protest
against the Navy's racial policy mounted, Secretary Knox turned once
again to his staff for reassurance. In July 1941 he appointed a
committee consisting of Navy and Marine Corps personnel officers and
including Addison Walker, a special assistant to Assistant Secretary
Bard, to conduct a general investigation of that policy. The committee
took six months to complete its study and submitted both a majority
and minority report.

                   [Footnote 3-12: Memo, W. A. Allen, Office of Public
                   Relations, for Lt Cmdr Smith, BuPers, 29 Jan 42,
                   BuPers QN/P-14, BuPersRecs.]

The majority report marshaled a long list of arguments to prove that
exclusion of the Negro was not discriminatory, but "a means of
promoting efficiency, dependability, and flexibility of the Navy as a
whole." It concluded that no change in policy was necessary since
"within the limitations of the characteristics of members of certain
races, the enlisted personnel of the Naval Establishment is
representative of all the citizens of the United States."[3-13] The
majority invoked past experience, efficiency, and patriotism to
support the _status quo_, but its chorus of reasons for excluding
Negroes sounded incongruous amid the patriotic din and call to colors
that followed Pearl Harbor.

                   [Footnote 3-13: Ltr, Chief, BuNav, to Chmn, Gen Bd,
                   22 Jan 42, sub: Enlistment of Men of Colored Race
                   in Other Than Messman Branch, Recs of Gen Bd,

[Illustration: CREW MEMBERS OF USS ARGONAUT _relax and read mail,
Pearl Harbor, 1942_.]

Demonstrating changing social attitudes and also reflecting the    (p. 062)
compromise solution suggested by the President in June, Addison
Walker's minority report recommended that a limited number of Negroes
be enlisted for general duty "on some type of patrol or other small
vessel assigned to a particular yard or station." While the
enlistments could frankly be labeled experiments, Walker argued that
such a step would mute black criticism by promoting Negroes out of the
servant class. The program would also provide valuable data in case
the Navy was later directed to accept Negroes through Selective
Service. Reasoning that a man's right to fight for his country was
probably more fundamental than his right to vote, Walker insisted that
the drive for the rights and privileges of black citizens was a social
force that could not be ignored by the Navy. Indeed, he added, "the
reconciliation of social friction within our own country" should be a
special concern of the armed forces in wartime.[3-14]

                   [Footnote 3-14: Ibid.]

Although the committee's majority won the day, its arguments were
overtaken by events that followed Pearl Harbor. The NAACP, viewing the
Navy's rejection of black volunteers in the midst of the intensive
recruiting campaign, again took the issue to the White House. The
President, in turn, asked the Fair Employment Practices Committee to
consider the case.[3-15] Committee chairman Mark Ethridge conferred with
Assistant Secretary Bard, pointing out that since Negroes had been
eligible for general duty in World War I, the Navy had actually taken
a step backward when it restricted them to the Messman's Branch. The
committee was even willing to pay the price of segregation to insure
the Negro's return to general duty. Ethridge recommended that the Navy
amend its policy and accept Negroes for use at Caribbean stations or
on harbor craft.[3-16] Criticism of Navy policy, hitherto emanating
almost exclusively from the civil rights organizations and a few   (p. 063)
congressmen, now broadened to include another government agency. As
President Roosevelt no doubt expected, the Fair Employment Practices
Committee had come out in support of his compromise solution for the

                   [Footnote 3-15: The FEPC was established 25 June 1941
                   to carry out Roosevelt's Executive Order 8802
                   against discrimination in employment in defense
                   industries and in the federal government.]

                   [Footnote 3-16: "BuPers Hist," pp. 4-5; Ltr, Mark
                   Ethridge to Lee Nichols. 14 Jul 53, in Nichols
                   Collection, CMH.]

But the committee had no jurisdiction over the armed services, and
Secretary Knox continued to assert that with a war to win he could not
risk "crews that are impaired in efficiency because of racial
prejudice." He admitted to his friend, conservationist Gifford
Pinchot, that the problem would have to be faced someday, but not
during a war. Seemingly in response to Walker and Ethridge, he
declared that segregated general service was impossible since enough
men with the skills necessary to operate a war vessel were unavailable
even "if you had the entire Negro population of the United States to
choose from." As for limiting Negroes to steward duties, he explained
that this policy avoided the chance that Negroes might rise to command
whites, "a thing which instantly provokes serious trouble."[3-17] Faced
in wartime with these arguments for efficiency, Assistant Secretary
Bard could only promise Ethridge that black enlistment would be taken
under consideration.

                   [Footnote 3-17: Ltr, SecNav to Gifford Pinchot, 19
                   Jan 42, 54-1-15, GenRecsNav.]

At this point the President again stepped in. On 15 January 1942 he
asked his beleaguered secretary to consider the whole problem once
more and suggested a course of action: "I think that with all the Navy
activities, BuNav might invent something that colored enlistees could
do in addition to the rating of messman."[3-18] The secretary passed the
task on to the General Board, asking that it develop a plan for
recruiting 5,000 Negroes in the general service.[3-19]

                   [Footnote 3-18: Quoted in "BuPers Hist," p. 5.]

                   [Footnote 3-19: Memo, SecNav for Chmn, Gen Bd, 16 Jan
                   42, sub: Enlistment of Men of Colored Race in Other
                   Than Messman Branch, Recs of Gen Bd,

When the General Board met on 23 January to consider the secretary's
request, it became apparent that the minority report on the role of
Negroes in the Navy had gained at least one convert among the senior
officers. One board member, the Inspector General of the Navy, Rear
Adm. Charles P. Snyder, repeated the arguments lately advanced by
Addison Walker. He suggested that the board consider employing Negroes
in some areas outside the servant class: in the Musician's Branch, for
example, because "the colored race is very musical and they are versed
in all forms of rhythm," in the Aviation Branch where the Army had
reported some success in employing Negroes, and on auxiliaries and
minor vessels, especially transports. Snyder noted that these schemes
would involve the creation of training schools, rigidly segregated at
first, and that the whole program would be "troublesome and require
tact, patience, and tolerance" on the part of those in charge. But, he
added, "we have so many difficulties to surmount anyhow that one more
possibly wouldn't swell the total very much." Foreseeing that
segregation would become the focal point of black protest, he argued
that the Navy had to begin accepting Negroes somewhere, and it might
as well begin with a segregated general service.

Adamant in its opposition to any change in the Navy's policy, the  (p. 064)
Bureau of Navigation ignored Admiral Snyder's suggestions. The spokesman
for the bureau warned that the 5,000 Negroes under consideration were
just an opening wedge. "The sponsors of the program," Capt. Kenneth
Whiting contended, "desire full equality on the part of the Negro and
will not rest content until they obtain it." In the end, he predicted,
Negroes would be on every man-of-war in direct proportion to their
percentage of the population. The Commandant of the Marine Corps, Maj.
Gen. Thomas Holcomb, echoed the bureau's sentiments. He viewed the
issue of black enlistments as crucial.

     If we are defeated we must not close our eyes to the fact that
     once in they [Negroes] will be strengthened in their effort to
     force themselves into every activity we have. If they are not
     satisfied to be messmen, they will not be satisfied to go into
     the construction or labor battalions. Don't forget the colleges
     are turning out a large number of well-educated Negroes. I don't
     know how long we will be able to keep them out of the V-7 class.
     I think not very long.

The commandant called the enlistment of Negroes "absolutely tragic";
Negroes had every opportunity, he added, "to satisfy their aspiration
to serve in the Army," and their desire to enter the naval service was
largely an effort "to break into a club that doesn't want them."

The board heard similar sentiments from representatives of the Bureau
of Aeronautics, the Bureau of Yards and Docks, and, with reservations,
from the Coast Guard. Confronted with such united opposition from the
powerful bureaus, the General Board capitulated. On 3 February it
reported to the secretary that it was unable to submit a plan and
strongly recommended that the current policy be allowed to stand. The
board stated that "if, in the opinion of higher authority, political
pressure is such as to require the enlistment of these people for
general service, let it be for that." If restriction of Negroes to the
Messman's Branch was discrimination, the board added, "it was but part
and parcel of a similar discrimination throughout the United

                   [Footnote 3-20: Enlistment of Men of Colored Race
                   (201), 23 Jan 42, Hearings Before the General Board
                   of the Navy, 1942; Memo, Chmn, Gen Bd, for SecNav,
                   3 Feb 42, sub: Enlistment of Men of Colored Race in
                   Other Than Messman Branch. Both in Recs of Gen Bd,

Secretary Knox was certainly not one to dispute the board's findings,
but it was a different story in the White House. President Roosevelt
refused to accept the argument that the only choice lay between
exclusion in the Messman's Branch and total integration in the general
service. His desire to avoid the race issue was understandable; the
war was in its darkest days, and whatever his aspirations for American
society, the President was convinced that, while some change was
necessary, "to go the whole way at one fell swoop would seriously
impair the general average efficiency of the Navy."[3-21] He wanted the
board to study the question further, noting that there were some
additional tasks and some special assignments that could be worked (p. 065)
out for the Negro that "would not inject into the whole personnel of
the Navy the race question."[3-22]

                   [Footnote 3-21: Quoted in "BuPers Hist," p. 6.]

                   [Footnote 3-22: Memo, SecNav for Chmn, Gen Bd, 14 Feb
                   42, Recs of Gen Bd, OpNavArchives. The quotation is
                   from the Knox Memo and is not necessarily in the
                   exact words of the President.]

[Illustration: MESSMEN VOLUNTEER AS GUNNERS, _Pacific task force, July

The Navy got the message. Armed with these instructions from the White
House, the General Board called on the bureaus and other agencies to
furnish lists of stations or assignments where Negroes could be used
in other than the Messman's Branch, adding that it was "unnecessary
and inadvisable" to emphasize further the undesirability of recruiting
Negroes. Freely interpreting the President's directive, the board
decided that its proposals had to provide for segregation in order to
prevent the injection of the race issue into the Navy. It rejected the
idea of enlisting Negroes in such selected ratings as musician and
carpenter's mate or designating a branch for Negroes (the possibility
of an all-black aviation department for a carrier was discussed).
Basing its decision on the plans quickly submitted by the bureaus, the
General Board recommended a course that it felt offered "least
disadvantages and the least difficulty of accomplishment as a war
measure": the formation of black units in the shore establishment, black
crews for naval district local defense craft and selected Coast    (p. 066)
Guard cutters, black regiments in the Seabees, and composite
battalions in the Marine Corps. The board asked that the Navy
Department be granted wide latitude in deciding the number of Negroes
to be accepted as well as their rate of enlistment and the method of
recruiting, training, and assignment.[3-23] The President agreed to
the plan, but balked at the board's last request. "I think this is a
matter," he told Secretary Knox, "to be determined by you and

                   [Footnote 3-23: Memos, Chmn, Gen Bd, for Chief,
                   BuNav, Cmdt, CG, and Cmdt, MC, 18 Feb 42, sub:
                   Enlistment of Men of Colored Race in Other Than
                   Messman Branch. For examples of responses, see Ltr,
                   Cmdt, to Chmn, Gen Bd, 24 Feb 42, same sub; Memo,
                   Chief, BuNav, for Chmn, Gen Bd, 7 Mar 42, same sub;
                   Memo, CNO for Chief, BuNav, 25 Feb 42, same sub,
                   with 1st Ind by CINCUSFLT, 28 Feb 42, same sub. The
                   final enlistment plan is found in Memo, Chmn, Gen
                   Bd, for SecNav, 20 Mar 42, same sub (G. B. No 421).
                   All in Recs of Gen Bd, OpNavArchives. It was
                   transmitted to the President in Ltr, SecNav to
                   President, 27 Mar 42, P14-4/MM, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-24: Memo, President for Secy of Navy, 31
                   Mar 42, Franklin D. Roosevelt Library, Hyde Park,
                   New York.]

The two-year debate over the admission of Negroes ended just in time,
for the opposition to the Navy's policy was enlisting new allies
daily. The national press made the expected invidious comparisons when
Joe Louis turned over his share of the purse from the Louis-Baer fight
to Navy Relief, and Wendell Willkie in a well-publicized speech at New
York's Freedom House excoriated the Navy's racial practices as a
"mockery" of democracy.[3-25] But these were the last shots fired. On 7
April 1942 Secretary Knox announced the Navy's capitulation. The Navy
would accept 277 black volunteers per week--it was not yet drafting
anyone--for enlistment in all ratings of the general service of the
reserve components of the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Their
actual entry would have to await the construction of suitable, meaning
segregated, facilities, but the Navy's goal for the first year was
14,000 Negroes in the general service.[3-26]

                   [Footnote 3-25: New York _Times_, January 10 and
                   March 20, 1942.]

                   [Footnote 3-26: Office of SecNav, Press Release, 7
                   Apr 42.]

Members of the black community received the news with mixed emotions.
Some reluctantly accepted the plan as a first step; the NAACP's
_Crisis_ called it "progress toward a more enlightened point of view."
Others, like the National Negro Congress, complimented Knox for his
"bold, patriotic action."[3-27] But almost all were quick to point out
that the black sailor would be segregated, limited to the rank of
petty officer, and, except as a steward, barred from sea duty.[3-28] The
Navy's plan offered all the disadvantages of the Army's system with
none of the corresponding advantages for participation and advancement.
The NAACP hammered away at the segregation angle, informing its public
that the old system, which had fathered inequalities and humiliations
in the Army and in civilian life, was now being followed by the Navy.
A. Philip Randolph complained that the change in Navy policy merely
"accepts and extends and consolidates the policy of Jim-Crowism in the
Navy as well as proclaims it as an accepted, recognized government (p. 067)
ideology that the Negro is inferior to the white man."[3-29] The
editors of the National Urban League's _Opportunity_ concluded that,
"faced with the great opportunity to strengthen the forces of
Democracy, the Navy Department chose to affirm the charge that Japan
is making against America to the brown people ... that the so-called
Four Freedoms enunciated in the great 'Atlantic Charter' were for
white men only."[3-30]

                   [Footnote 3-27: "The Navy Makes a Gesture," _Crisis_
                   49 (May 1942):51. The National Negro Congress
                   quotation reprinted in Dennis D. Nelson's summary
                   of reactions to the Secretary of the Navy's
                   announcement. See Nelson, "The Integration of the
                   Negro in the United States Navy, 1776-1947"
                   (NAVEXOS-P-526), p. 38. (This earlier and different
                   version of Nelson's published work, derived from
                   his master's thesis, was sponsored by the U.S.

                   [Footnote 3-28: Although essentially correct, the
                   critics were technically inaccurate since some
                   Negroes would be assigned to Coast Guard cutters
                   which qualified as sea duty.]

                   [Footnote 3-29: Quoted in Nelson, "The Integration of
                   the Negro," p. 37.]

                   [Footnote 3-30: _Opportunity_ (May 1942), p. 82.]

_A Segregated Navy_

With considerable alacrity the Navy set a practical course for the
employment of its black volunteers. On 21 April 1942 Secretary Knox
approved a plan for training Negroes at Camp Barry, an isolated
section of the Great Lakes Training Center. Later renamed Camp Robert
Smalls after a black naval hero of the Civil War, the camp not only
offered the possibility of practically unlimited expansion but, as the
Bureau of Navigation put it, made segregation "less obvious" to
recruits. The secretary also approved the use of facilities at Hampton
Institute, the well-known black school in Virginia, as an advanced
training school for black recruits.[3-31]

                   [Footnote 3-31: Memo, Chief, BuNav, for SecNav, 17
                   Apr 42, sub: Training Facilities for Negro
                   Recruits, Nav-102; Memo, SecNav for Rear Adm
                   Randall Jacobs, 21 Apr 42, 54-1-22. Both in

Black enlistments began on 1 June 1942, and black volunteers started
entering Great Lakes later that month in classes of 277 men. At the
same time the Navy opened enlistments for an unlimited number of black
Seabees and messmen. Lt. Comdr. Daniel Armstrong commanded the recruit
program at Camp Smalls. An Annapolis graduate, son of the founder of
Hampton Institute, Armstrong first came to the attention of Knox in
March 1942 when he submitted a plan for the employment of black
sailors that the secretary considered practical.[3-32] Under Armstrong's
energetic leadership, black recruits received training that was in
some respects superior to that afforded whites. For all his success,
however, Armstrong was strongly criticized, especially by educated
Negroes who resented his theories of education. Imbued with the
paternalistic attitude of Tuskegee and Hampton, Armstrong saw the
Negro as possessing a separate culture more attuned to vocational
training. He believed that Negroes needed special treatment and
discipline in a totally segregated environment free from white
competition. Educated Negroes, on the other hand, saw in this special
treatment another form of discrimination.[3-33]

                   [Footnote 3-32: Memo, SecNav for Chmn, Gen Bd, 7 Mar
                   42, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-33: For a discussion of Armstrong's
                   philosophy from the viewpoint of an educated black
                   recruit, see Nelson, "Integration of the Negro,"
                   pp. 28-34. Sec also Ltr, Nelson to author, 10 Feb
                   70, CMH files.]

During the first six months of the new segregated training program,
before the great influx of Negroes from the draft, the Navy set the
training period at twelve weeks. Later, when it had reluctantly
abandoned the longer period, the Navy discovered that the regular
eight-week course was sufficient. Approximately 31 percent of those
graduating from the recruit course were qualified for Class A      (p. 068)
schools and entered advanced classes to receive training that would
normally lead to petty officer rating for the top graduates and
prepare men for assignment to naval stations and local defense and
district craft. There they would serve in such class "A" specialties
as radioman, signalman, and yeoman and the other occupational
specialties such as machinist, mechanic, carpenter, electrician, cook,
and baker.[3-34] Some of these classes were held at Hampton, but, as the
number of black recruits increased, the majority remained at Camp
Smalls for advanced training.

                   [Footnote 3-34: With the exception of machinist
                   school, where blacks were in training twice as long
                   as whites, specialist training for Negroes and
                   whites was similar in length. See "BuPers Hist,"
                   pp. 28-30, 60-61.]

[Illustration: ELECTRICIAN MATES _string power lines in the Central

The rest of the recruit graduates, those unqualified for advanced
schooling, were divided. Some went directly to naval stations and
local defense and district craft where they relieved whites as seaman,
second class, and fireman, third class, and as trainees in specialties
that required no advanced schooling; the rest, approximately eighty
men per week, went to naval ammunition depots as unskilled

                   [Footnote 3-35: BuPers, "Reports, Schedules, and
                   Charts Relating to Enlistment, Training, and
                   Assignment of Negro Personnel," 5 Jun 42, Pers-617,

The Navy proceeded to assimilate the black volunteers along these
lines, suffering few of the personnel problems that plagued the Army
in the first months of the war. In contrast to the Army's chaotic
situation, caused by the thousands of black recruits streaming in from
Selective Service, the Navy's plans for its volunteers were disrupted
only because qualified Negroes showed little inclination to flock to
the Navy standard, and more than half of those who did were rejected.
The Bureau of Naval Personnel[3-36] reported that during the first three
weeks of recruitment only 1,261 Negroes volunteered for general
service, and 58 percent of these had to be rejected for physical and
other reasons. The Chief of Naval Personnel, Rear Adm. Randall Jacobs,
was surprised at the small number of volunteers, a figure far below
the planners' expectations, and his surprise turned to concern in the
next months as the seventeen-year-old volunteer inductees, the primary
target of the armed forces recruiters, continued to choose the Army
over the Navy at a ratio of 10 to 1.[3-37] The Navy's personnel
officials agreed that they had to attract their proper share of
intelligent and able Negroes but seemed unable to isolate the      (p. 069)
cause of the disinterest. Admiral Jacobs blamed it on a lack of
publicity; the bureau's historians, perhaps unaware of the Navy's
nineteenth century experience with black seamen, later attributed it
to Negroes' "relative unfamiliarity with the sea or the large inland
waters and their consequent fear of the water."[3-38]

                   [Footnote 3-36: In May 1942 the name of the Bureau of
                   Navigation was changed to the Bureau of Naval
                   Personnel to reflect more accurately the duties of
                   the organization.]

                   [Footnote 3-37: Memo, Chief, NavPers, for CO, Great
                   Lakes NTC, 23 Apr 43. P14-1, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 3-38: "BuPers Hist," p. 54.]

The fact was, of course, that Negroes shunned the Navy because of its
recent reputation as the exclusive preserve of white America. Only
when the Navy began assigning black recruiting specialists to the
numerous naval districts and using black chief petty officers,
reservists from World War I general service, at recruiting centers to
explain the new opportunities for Negroes in the Navy was the bureau
able to overcome some of the young men's natural reluctance to
volunteer. By 1 February 1943 the Navy had 26,909 Negroes (still 2
percent of the total enlisted): 6,662 in the general service; 2,020 in
the Seabees; and 19,227, over two-thirds of the total, in the
Steward's Branch.[3-39]

                   [Footnote 3-39: Ibid., p. 9.]

The smooth and efficient distribution of black recruits was
short-lived. Under pressure from the Army, the War Manpower
Commission, and in particular the White House, the Navy was forced
into a sudden and significant expansion of its black recruit program.
The Army had long objected to the Navy's recruitment method, and as
early as February 1942 Secretary Stimson was calling the volunteer
recruitment system a waste of manpower.[3-40] He was even more direct
when he complained to President Roosevelt that through voluntary
recruiting the Navy had avoided acceptance of any considerable number
of Negroes. Consequently, the Army was now faced with the possibility
of having to accept an even greater proportion of Negroes "with
adverse effect on its combat efficiency." The solution to this
problem, as Stimson saw it, was for the Navy to take its recruits from
Selective Service.[3-41] Stimson failed to win his point. The President
accepted the Navy's argument that segregation would be difficult to
maintain on board ship. "If the Navy living conditions on board ship
were similar to the Army living conditions on land," he wrote Stimson,
"the problem would be easier but the circumstances ... being such as
they are, I feel that it is best to continue the present system at
this time."[3-42]

                   [Footnote 3-40: Memo, SW for SecNav, 16 Feb 42, sub:
                   Continuing of Voluntary Recruiting by the Navy,
                   QN/P14-4, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-41: Idem for President, 16 Mar 42, copy
                   in QN/P14-4, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-42: Memo, President for SW, 20 Mar 42,
                   copy in QN/P14-4, GenRecsNav.]

But the battle over racial quotas was only beginning. The question of
the number of Negroes in the Navy was only part of the much broader
considerations and conflicts over manpower policy that finally led the
President, on 5 December 1942, to direct the discontinuance in all
services of volunteer enlistment of men between the ages of eighteen
and thirty-eight.[3-43] Beginning in February 1943 all men in this age
group would be obtained through Selective Service. The order also
placed Selective Service under the War Manpower Commission.

                   [Footnote 3-43: Executive Order 9279, 5 Dec 42.]

The Navy issued its first call for inductees from Selective        (p. 070)
Service in February 1943, adopting the Army's policy of placing its
requisition on a racial basis and specifying the number of whites and
blacks needed for the Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. The Bureau
of Naval Personnel planned to continue its old monthly quota of about
1,200 Negroes for general service and 1,500 for the Messman's Branch.
Secretary Knox explained to the President that it would be impossible
for the Navy to take more Negroes without resorting to mixed crews in
the fleet, which, Knox reminded Roosevelt, was a policy "contrary to
the President's program." The President agreed with Knox and told him
so to advise Maj. Gen. Lewis B. Hershey, Director of Selective

                   [Footnote 3-44: Memo, SecNav for Rear Adm Randall
                   Jacobs, 5 Feb 43, 54-1-22, GenRecsNav.]

The problem of drafting men by race was a major concern of the Bureau
of Selective Service and its parent organization, the War Manpower
Commission. At a time when a general shortage of manpower was
developing and industry was beginning to feel the effects of the
draft, Negroes still made up only 6 percent of the armed forces, a
little over half their percentage of the population, and almost all of
these were in the Army. The chairman of the War Manpower Commission,
Paul V. McNutt, explained to Secretary Knox as he had to Secretary
Stimson that the practice of placing separate calls for white and
black registrants could not be justified. Not only were there serious
social and legal implications in the existing draft practices, he
pointed out, but the Selective Service Act itself prohibited racial
discrimination. It was necessary, therefore, to draft men by order
number and not by color.[3-45]

                   [Footnote 3-45: Ltr, Paul McNutt to SecNav, 17 Feb
                   43, WMC Gen files, NARS.]

On top of this blow, the Navy came under fire from another quarter.
The President was evidently still thinking about Negroes in the Navy.
He wrote to the secretary on 22 February:

     I guess you were dreaming or maybe I was dreaming if Randall
     Jacobs is right in regard to what I am supposed to have said
     about employment of negroes in the Navy. If I did say that such
     employment should be stopped, I must have been talking in my
     sleep. Most decidedly we must continue the employment of negroes
     in the Navy, and I do not think it the least bit necessary to put
     mixed crews on the ships. I can find a thousand ways of employing
     them without doing so.

     The point or the thing is this. There is going to be a great deal
     of feeling if the Government in winning this war does not employ
     approximately 10% of negroes--their actual percentage to the
     total population. The Army is nearly up to this percentage but
     the Navy is so far below it that it will be deeply criticized by
     anybody who wants to check into the details.

     Perhaps a check by you showing exactly where all white enlisted
     men are serving and where all colored enlisted men are serving
     will show you the great number of places where colored men could
     serve, where they are not serving now--shore duty of all kinds,
     together with the handling of many kinds of yard craft.

     You know the headache we have had about this and the reluctance
     of the Navy to have any negroes. You and I have had to veto that
     Navy reluctance and I think we have to do it again.[3-46]

                   [Footnote 3-46: Memo, President for SecNav, 22 Feb
                   43, FDR Library.]

In an effort to save the quota concept, the Bureau of Naval        (p. 071)
Personnel ground out new figures that would raise the current call of
2,700 Negroes per month to 5,000 in April and 7,350 for each of the
remaining months of 1943. Armed with these figures, Secretary Knox was
able to promise Commissioner McNutt that 10 percent of the men
inducted for the rest of 1943 would be Negroes, although separate
calls had to be continued for the time being to permit adjusting the
flow of Negroes to the expansion of facilities.[3-47] In other words,
the secretary promised to accept 71,900 black draftees in 1943; he did
not promise to increase the black strength of the Navy to 10 percent
of the total.

                   [Footnote 3-47: Ltr, Knox to McNutt, 26 Feb 43, WMC
                   Gen files.]

Commissioner McNutt understood the distinction and found the Navy's
offer wanting for two reasons. The proposed schedule was inadequate to
absorb the backlog of black registrants who should have been inducted
into the armed services, and it did not raise the percentage of
Negroes in the Navy to a figure comparable to their strength in the
national population. McNutt wanted the Navy to draft at least 125,000
Negroes before January 1944, and he insisted that the practice of
placing separate calls be terminated "as soon as feasible."[3-48] The
Navy finally struck a compromise with the commission, agreeing that up
to 14,150 Negroes a month would be inducted for the rest of 1943 to
reach the 125,000 figure by January 1944.[3-49] The issue of separate
draft calls for Negroes and whites remained in abeyance while the
services made common cause against the commission by insisting that
the orderly absorption of Negroes demanded a regular program that
could only be met by maintaining the quota system.

                   [Footnote 3-48: Ltr, McNutt to Knox, 23 Mar 43, WMC
                   Gen files.]

                   [Footnote 3-49: Ltr, SecNav to Paul McNutt, 13 Apr
                   43; Ltr, McNutt to Knox, 23 Apr 43; both in WMC Gen

Total black enlistments never reached 10 percent of the Navy's wartime
enlisted strength but remained nearer the 5 percent mark. But this
figure masks the Navy's racial picture in the later years of the war
after it became dependent on Selective Service. The Navy drafted
150,955 Negroes during the war, 11.1 percent of all the men it
drafted. In 1943 alone the Navy placed calls with Selective Service
for 116,000 black draftees. Although Selective Service was unable to
fill the monthly request completely, the Navy received 77,854 black
draftees (versus 672,437 whites) that year, a 240 percent rise over
the 1942 black enlistment rate.[3-50]

                   [Footnote 3-50: Selective Service System, _Special
                   Groups_, vol. II, pp. 198-201. See also Memos,
                   Director of Planning and Control, BuPers, for
                   Chief, BuPers, 25 Feb 43, sub: Increase in Colored
                   Personnel for the Navy; and 1 Apr 43, sub; Increase
                   in Negro Personnel in Navy. Both in P-14,

Although it wrestled for several months with the problem of
distributing the increased number of black draftees, the Bureau of
Naval Personnel could invent nothing new. The Navy, Knox told
President Roosevelt, would continue to segregate Negroes and restrict
their service to certain occupations. Its increased black strength
would be absorbed in twenty-seven new black Seabee battalions, in
which Negroes would serve overseas as stevedores; in black crews for
harbor craft and local defense forces; and in billets for cooks and
port hands. The rest would be sent to shore stations for guard     (p. 072)
and miscellaneous duties in concentrations up to about 50 percent of
the total station strength. The President approved the Navy's
proposals, and the distribution of Negroes followed these lines.[3-51]

                   [Footnote 3-51: Memos, SecNav for President, 25 Feb
                   and 14 Apr 43, quoted in "BuPers Hist," pp. 13-14;
                   Memo, Actg Chief, NavPers, for SecNav, 24 Feb 43,
                   sub: Employment of Colored Personnel in the Navy,
                   Pers 10, GenRecsNav. For Roosevelt's approval see
                   "BuPers Hist," p. 14.]

To smooth the racial adjustments implicit in these plans, the Bureau
of Naval Personnel developed two operating rules: Negroes would be
assigned only where need existed, and, whenever possible, those from
northern communities would not be used in the south. These rules
caused some peculiar adjustments in administration. Negroes were not
assigned to naval districts for distribution according to the
discretion of the commander, as were white recruits. Rather, after
conferring with local commanders, the bureau decided on the number of
Negroes to be included in station complements and the types of jobs
they would fill. It then assigned the men to duty accordingly, and the
districts were instructed not to change the orders without consulting
the bureau. Subsequently the bureau reinforced this rule by enjoining
the commanders to use Negroes in the ratings for which they had been
trained and by sending bureau representatives to the various commands
to check on compliance.

Some planners feared that the concentration of Negroes at shore
stations might prove detrimental to efficiency and morale. Proposals
were circulated in the Bureau of Naval Personnel for the inclusion of
Negroes in small numbers in the crews of large combat ships--for
example, they might be used as firemen and ordinary seamen on the new
aircraft carriers--but Admiral Jacobs rejected the recommendations.[3-52]
The Navy was not yet ready to try integration, it seemed, even though
racial disturbances were becoming a distinct possibility in 1943. For
as Negroes became a larger part of the Navy, they also became a
greater source of tension. The reasons for the tension were readily
apparent. Negroes were restricted for the most part to shore duty,
concentrated in large groups and assigned to jobs with little prestige
and few chances of promotion. They were excluded from the WAVES (Women
Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), the Nurse Corps, and the
commissioned ranks. And they were rigidly segregated.

                   [Footnote 3-52: "BuPersHist," p. 41.]

Although the Navy boasted that Negroes served in every rating and at
every task, in fact almost all were used in a limited range of
occupations. Denied general service assignments on warships, trained
Negroes were restricted to the relatively few billets open in the
harbor defense, district, and small craft service. Although assigning
Negroes to these duties met the President's request for variety of
opportunity, the small craft could employ only 7,700 men at most, a
minuscule part of the Navy's black strength.

Most Negroes performed humbler duties. By mid-1944 over 38,000 black
sailors were serving as mess stewards, cooks, and bakers. These jobs
remained in the Negro's eyes a symbol of his second-class citizenship
in the naval establishment. Under pressure to provide more         (p. 073)
stewards to serve the officers whose number multiplied in the early
months of the war, recruiters had netted all the men they could for
that separate duty. Often recruiters took in many as stewards who were
equipped by education and training for better jobs, and when these men
were immediately put into uniforms and trained on the job at local
naval stations the result was often dismaying. The Navy thus received
poor service as well as unwelcome publicity for maintaining a
segregated servants' branch. In an effort to standardize the training
of messmen, the Bureau of Naval Personnel established a stewards
school in the spring of 1943 at Norfolk and later one at Bainbridge,
Maryland. The change in training did little to improve the standards
of the service and much to intensify the feeling of isolation among
many stewards.

[Illustration: LABORERS AT NAVAL AMMUNITION DEPOT. _Sailors passing
5-inch canisters, St. Julien's Creek, Virginia._]

Another 12,000 Negroes served as artisans and laborers at overseas
bases. Over 7,000 of these were Seabees, who, with the exception of
two regular construction battalions that served with distinction in
the Pacific, were relegated to "special" battalions stevedoring cargo
and supplies. The rest were laborers in base companies assigned to the
South Pacific area. These units were commanded by white officers, and
almost all the petty officers were white.

Approximately half the Negroes in the Navy were detailed to shore
billets within the continental United States. Most worked as laborers
at ammunition or supply depots, at air stations, and at section    (p. 074)
bases,[3-53] concentrated in large all-black groups and sometimes
commanded by incompetent white officers.[3-54]

                   [Footnote 3-53: Naval districts organized section
                   bases during the war with responsibility, among
                   other things, for guarding beaches, harbors, and
                   installations and maintaining equipment.]

                   [Footnote 3-54: See CNO ALNAV, 7 Aug 44, quoted in
                   Nelson, "Integration of the Negro," p. 46.]

[Illustration: SEABEES IN THE SOUTH PACIFIC _righting an undermined
water tank_.]

While some billets existed in practically every important rating for
graduates of the segregated specialty schools, these jobs were so few
that black specialists were often assigned instead to unskilled
laboring jobs.[3-55] Some of these men were among the best educated
Negroes in the Navy, natural leaders capable of articulating their
dissatisfaction. They resented being barred from the fighting, and
their resentment, spreading through the thousands of Negroes in the
shore establishment, was a prime cause of racial tension.

                   [Footnote 3-55: Memo, Actg Chief, NavPers, for Cmdts,
                   AlNav Districts et al., 26 Sep 44, sub: Enlisted
                   Personnel--Utilization of in Field for which
                   Specifically Trained, Pers 16-3/MM, BuPersRecs.]

No black women had been admitted to the Navy. Race was not mentioned
in the legislation establishing the WAVES in 1942, but neither was
exclusion on account of color expressly forbidden. The WAVES and the
Women's Reserve of both the Coast Guard (SPARS) and the Marine Corps
therefore celebrated their second birthday exclusively white. The Navy
Nurse Corps was also totally white. In answer to protests passed to
the service through Eleanor Roosevelt, the Navy admitted in November
1943 that it had a shortage of 500 nurses, but since another       (p. 075)
500 white nurses were under indoctrination and training, the Bureau of
Medicine and Surgery explained, "the question relative to the
necessity for accepting colored personnel in this category is not

                   [Footnote 3-56: Ltr, Eleanor Roosevelt to SecNav, 20
                   Nov 43; Ltr, SecNav to Mrs. Roosevelt, 27 Nov 43;
                   both in BUMED-S-EC, GenRecsNav. Well known for her
                   interest in the cause of racial justice, the
                   President's wife received many complaints during
                   the war concerning discrimination in the armed
                   forces. Mrs. Roosevelt often passed such protests
                   along to the service secretaries for action.
                   Although there is no doubt where Mrs. Roosevelt's
                   sympathies lay in these matters, her influence was
                   slight on the policies and practices of the Army or
                   Navy. Her influence on the President's thinking is,
                   of course, another matter. See White, _A Man Called
                   White_, pp. 168-69, 190.]

Another major cause of unrest among black seamen was the matter of
rank and promotion. With the exception of the Coast Guard, the naval
establishment had no black officers in 1943, and none were
contemplated. Nor was there much opportunity for advancement in the
ranks. Barred from service in the fleet, the nonrated seamen faced
strong competition for the limited number of petty officer positions
in the shore establishment. In consequence, morale throughout the
ranks deteriorated.

The constant black complaint, and the root of the Navy's racial
problem, was segregation. It was especially hard on young black
recruits who had never experienced legal segregation in civilian life
and on the "talented tenth," the educated Negroes, who were quickly
frustrated by a policy that decided opportunity and assignment on the
basis of color. They particularly resented segregation in housing,
messing, and recreation. Here segregation off the job, officially
sanctioned, made manifest by signs distinguishing facilities for white
and black, and enforced by military as well as civilian police, was a
daily reminder for the Negro of the Navy's discrimination.

Such discrimination created tension in the ranks that periodically
released itself in racial disorder. The first sign of serious unrest
occurred in June 1943 when over half the 640 Negroes of the Naval
Ammunition Depot at St. Julien's Creek, Virginia, rioted against
alleged discrimination in segregated seating for a radio show. In
July, 744 Negroes of the 80th Construction Battalion staged a protest
over segregation on a transport in the Caribbean. Yet, naval
investigators cited leadership problems as a major factor in these and
subsequent incidents, and at least one commanding officer was relieved
as a consequence.[3-57]

                   [Footnote 3-57: For a discussion of these racial
                   disturbances, see "BuPers Hist," pp. 75-80.]

_Progressive Experiments_

Since the inception of black enlistment there had been those in the
Bureau of Naval Personnel who argued for the establishment of a group
to coordinate plans and policies on the training and use of black
sailors. Various proposals were considered, but only in the wake of
the racial disturbances of 1943 did the bureau set up a Special
Programs Unit in its Planning and Control Activity to oversee the
whole black enlistment program. In the end the size of the unit
governed the scope of its program. Originally the unit was to monitor
all transactions involving Negroes in the bureau's operating divisions,
thus relieving the Enlisted Division of the critical task of       (p. 076)
distributing billets for Negroes. It was also supposed to advise local
commanders on race problems and interpret departmental policies for
them. When finally established in August 1943, the unit consisted of
only three officers, a size which considerably limited its activities.
Still, the unit worked diligently to improve the lot of the black
sailor, and eventually from this office would emerge the plans that
brought about the integration of the Navy.

[Illustration: COMMANDER SARGENT.]

The Special Programs Unit's patron saint and the guiding spirit of the
Navy's liberalizing race program was Lt. Comdr. Christopher S.
Sargent. He never served in the unit himself, but helped find the two
lieutenant commanders, Donald O. VanNess and Charles E. Dillon, who
worked under Capt. Thomas F. Darden in the Plans and Operations
Section of the Bureau of Naval Personnel and acted as liaison between
the Special Programs Unit and its civilian superiors. A legendary
figure in the bureau, the 31-year-old Sargent arrived as a lieutenant,
junior grade, from Dean Acheson's law firm, but his rank and official
position were no measure of his influence in the Navy Department. By
birth and training he was used to moving in the highest circles of
American society and government, and he had wide-ranging interests and
duties in the Navy. Described by a superior as "a philosopher who
could not tolerate segregation,"[3-58] Sargent waged something of a
moral crusade to integrate the Navy. He was convinced that a social
change impossible in peacetime was practical in war. Not only would
integration build a more efficient Navy, it might also lead the way to
changes in American society that would bridge the gap between the
races.[3-59] In effect, Sargent sought to force the generally
conservative Bureau of Naval Personnel into making rapid and sweeping
changes in the Navy's racial policy.

                   [Footnote 3-58: Interv, Lee Nichols with Rear Adm. R.
                   H. Hillenkoetter, 1953, in Nichols Collection,

                   [Footnote 3-59: Nichols, _Breakthrough on the Color
                   Front_, pp. 54-59. Nichols supports his
                   affectionate portrait of Sargent, who died shortly
                   after the war, with interviews of many wartime
                   officials who worked in the Bureau of Naval
                   Personnel with Sargent. See Nichols Collection,
                   CMH. See also _Christopher Smith Sargent,
                   1911-1946_, a privately printed memorial prepared
                   by the Sargent family in 1947, copy in CMH.]

During its first months of existence the Special Programs Unit tried
to quiet racial unrest by a rigorous application of the separate but
equal principle. It began attacking the concentration of Negroes in
large segregated groups in the naval districts by creating more overseas
billets. Toward the end of 1943, Negroes were being assigned in    (p. 077)
greater numbers to duty in the Pacific at shore establishments and
aboard small defense, district, and yard craft. The Bureau of Naval
Personnel also created new specialties for Negroes in the general
service. One important addition was the creation of black shore patrol
units for which a school was started at Great Lakes. The Special
Programs Unit established a remedial training center for illiterate
draftees at Camp Robert Smalls, drawing the faculty from black
servicemen who had been educators in civilian life. The twelve-week
course gave the students the equivalent of a fifth grade education in
addition to regular recruit training. Approximately 15,000 Negroes
took this training before the school was consolidated with a similar
organization for whites at Bainbridge, Maryland, in the last months of
the war.[3-60]

                   [Footnote 3-60: For further discussion, see Nelson,
                   "Integration of the Negro," pp. 124-46.]

At the other end of the spectrum, the Special Programs Unit worked for
the efficient use of black Class A school graduates by renewing the
attack on improper assignments. The bureau had long held that the
proper assignment of black specialists was of fundamental importance
to morale and efficiency, and in July 1943 it had ordered that all men
must be used in the ratings and for the types of work for which they
had been trained.[3-61] But the unit discovered considerable deviation
from this policy in some districts, especially in the south, where
there was a tendency to regard Negroes as an extra labor source above
the regular military complement. In December 1943 the Special Programs
Unit got the bureau to rule in the name of manpower efficiency that,
with the exception of special units in the supply departments at South
Boston and Norfolk, no black sailor could be assigned to such civilian
jobs as maintenance work and stevedoring in the continental United

                   [Footnote 3-61: BuPers Ltr, Pers 106-MBR, 12 Jul 43.]

                   [Footnote 3-62: "BuPers Hist," p. 53.]

These reforms were welcome, but they ignored the basic dilemma: the
only way to abolish concentrations of shore-based Negroes was to open
up positions for them in the fleet. Though many black sailors were
best suited for unskilled or semiskilled billets, a significant number
had technical skills that could be properly used only if these men
were assigned to the fleet. To relieve the racial tension and to end
the waste of skilled manpower engendered by the misuse of these men,
the Special Programs Unit pressed for a chance to test black
seamanship. Admiral King agreed, and in early 1944 the Bureau of Naval
Personnel assigned 196 black enlisted men and 44 white officers and
petty officers to the USS _Mason_, a newly commissioned destroyer
escort, with the understanding that all enlisted billets would be
filled by Negroes as soon as those qualified to fill them had been
trained. It also assigned 53 black rated seamen and 14 white officers
and noncommissioned officers to a patrol craft, the PC 1264.[3-63] Both
ships eventually replaced their white petty officers and some of their
officers with Negroes. Among the latter was Ens. Samuel Gravely, who
was to become the Navy's first black admiral.

                   [Footnote 3-63: Memo, Chief, BuPers, for CINCUSFLEET,
                   1 Dec 43, sub: Negro Personnel, P16/MM, BuPersRecs.
                   The latter experiment has been chronicled by its
                   commanding officer, Eric Purdon, in _Black Company:
                   The Story of Subchaser 1264_ (Washington: Luce,

[Illustration: USS MASON. _Sailors look over their new ship._]

Although both ships continued to operate with black crews well     (p. 078)
into 1945, the _Mason_ on escort duty in the Atlantic, only four
other segregated patrol craft were added to the fleet during the
war.[3-64] The _Mason_ passed its shakedown cruise test, but the Bureau
of Naval Personnel was not satisfied with the crew. The black petty
officers had proved competent in their ratings and interested in their
work, but bureau observers agreed that the rated men in general were
unable to maintain discipline. The nonrated men tended to lack respect
for the petty officers, who showed some disinclination to put their
men on report. The Special Programs Unit admitted the truth of these
charges but argued that the experiment only proved what the Navy
already knew: black sailors did not respond well when assigned to
all-black organizations under white officers.[3-65] On the other hand,
the experiment demonstrated that the Navy possessed a reservoir of
able seamen who were not being efficiently employed, and--an
unexpected dividend from the presence of white noncommissioned
officers--that integration worked on board ship. The white petty
officers messed, worked, and slept with their men in the close contact
inevitable aboard small ships, with no sign of racial friction.

                   [Footnote 3-64: Memo, CNO for Cmdt, First and Fifth
                   Naval Districts, 10 May 44, sub: Assignment of
                   Negro Personnel, P-16-3/MM, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 3-65: For an assessment of the performance
                   of the _Mason's_ crew. see "BuPers Hist," pp. 42-43
                   and 92.]

Opportunity for advancement was as important to morale as          (p. 079)
assignment according to training and skill, and the Special Programs
Unit encouraged the promotion of Negroes according to their ability
and in proportion to their number. Although in July 1943 the Bureau of
Naval Personnel had warned commanders that it would continue to order
white enlisted men to sea with the expectation that they would be
replaced in shore jobs by Negroes,[3-66] the Special Programs Unit
discovered that rating and promotion of Negroes was still slow. At the
unit's urging, the bureau advised all naval districts that it expected
Negroes to be rated upward "as rapidly as practicable" and asked them
to report on their rating of Negroes.[3-67] It also authorized stations
to retain white petty officers for up to two weeks to break in their
black replacements, but warned that this privilege must not be abused.
The bureau further directed that all qualified general service
candidates be advanced to ratings for which they were eligible
regardless of whether their units were authorized enough spaces to
take care of them. This last directive did little for black promotions
at first because many local commanders ruled that no Negroes could be
"qualified" since none were allowed to perform sea duties. In January
1944 the bureau had to clarify the order to make sure that Negroes
were given the opportunity to advance.[3-68]

                   [Footnote 3-66: BuPers Ltr, P16-3, 12 Jul 43, sub:
                   The Expanded Use of Negroes, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 3-67: Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to Cmdts, All
                   Naval Districts, 19 Aug 43, sub: Advancement in
                   Rating re: Negro Personnel, P17-2/MM, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 3-68: BuPers Cir Ltr 6-44, 12 Jan 44.]

Despite these evidences of command concern, black promotions continued
to lag in the Navy. Again at the Special Programs Unit's urging, the
Bureau of Naval Personnel began to limit the number of rated men
turned out by the black training schools so that more nonrated men
already on the job might have a better chance to win ratings. The
bureau instituted a specialist leadership course for rated Negroes at
Great Lakes and recommended in January 1944 that two Negroes so
trained be included in each base company sent out of the country. It
also selected twelve Negroes with backgrounds in education and public
relations and assigned them to recruiting duty around the country. The
bureau expanded the black petty officer program because it was
convinced by the end of 1943 that the presence of more black leaders,
particularly in the large base companies, would improve discipline and
raise morale. It was but a short step from this conviction to a
realization that black commissioned officers were needed.

Despite its 100,000 enlisted Negroes, the absence of black
commissioned officers in the fall of 1943 forced the Navy to answer an
increasing number of queries from civil rights organizations and
Congress.[3-69] Several times during 1942 suggestions were made within
the Bureau of Naval Personnel that the instructors at the Hampton
specialist school and seventy-five other Negroes be commissioned   (p. 080)
for service with the large black units, but nothing happened.
Secretary Knox himself thought that the Navy would have to develop a
considerable body of black sailors before it could even think about
commissioning black officers.[3-70] But the secretary failed to
appreciate the effect of the sheer number of black draftees that
overwhelmed the service in the spring of 1943, and he reckoned without
the persuasive arguments of his special assistant, Adlai

                   [Footnote 3-69: News that the Navy had inadvertently
                   commissioned a black student at Harvard University
                   in the spring of 1942 produced the following
                   reaction in one personnel office: "LtCmdr B ...
                   [Special Activities Branch, BuPers] says this is
                   true due to a slip by the officer who signed up
                   medical students at Harvard. Cmdr. B. says this boy
                   has a year to go in medical school and hopes they
                   can get rid of him some how by then. He earnestly
                   asks us to be judicious in handling this matter and
                   prefers that nothing be said about it." Quoted in a
                   Note, H. M. Harvey to M Mc (ca. 20 Jun 42), copy on
                   file in the Dennis D. Nelson Collection, San Diego,

                   [Footnote 3-70: Ltr, SecNav to Sen. David I. Walsh
                   (Massachusetts), 21 May 42, 51-1-26; see also idem
                   to Sen. William H. Smathers (Florida), 7 Feb 42,
                   Nav-32-C. Both in GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-71: Interv, Lee Nichols with Lester
                   Granger, 1953, in Nichols Collection, CMH.]

Secretary Knox often referred to Adlai Stevenson as "my New Dealer,"
and, as the expression suggested, the Illinois lawyer was in an
excellent position to influence the secretary's thinking.[3-72] Although
not so forceful an advocate as Christopher Sargent, Stevenson lent his
considerable intelligence and charm to the support of those in the
department who sought equal opportunity for the Negro. He was an
invaluable and influential ally for the Special Programs Unit.
Stevenson knew Knox well and understood how to approach him. He was
particularly effective in getting Negroes commissioned. In September
1943 he pointed out that, with the induction of 12,000 Negroes a
month, the demand for black officers would be mounting in the black
community and in the government as well. The Navy could not and should
not, he warned, postpone much longer the creation of some black
officers. Suspicion of discrimination was one reason the Navy was
failing to get the best qualified Negroes, and Stevenson believed it
wise to act quickly. He recommended that the Navy commission ten or
twelve Negroes from among "top notch civilians just as we procure
white officers" and a few from the ranks. The commissioning should be
treated as a matter of course without any special publicity. The news,
he added wryly, would get out soon enough.[3-73]

                   [Footnote 3-72: Kenneth S. Davis, _The Politics of
                   Honor: A Biography of Adlai E. Stevenson_ (New
                   York: Putnam, 1957), p. 146; Ltr, A. E. Stevenson
                   to Dennis D. Nelson, 10 Feb 48, Nelson Collection,
                   San Diego, California.]

                   [Footnote 3-73: Memo, Stevenson for the Secretary
                   [Knox], 29 Sep 43, 54-1-50, GenRecsNav.]

There were in fact three avenues to a Navy commission: the Naval
Academy, the V-12 program, and direct commission from civilian life or
the enlisted ranks. But Annapolis had no Negroes enrolled at the time
Stevenson spoke, and only a dozen Negroes were enrolled in V-12
programs at integrated civilian colleges throughout the country.[3-74]
The lack of black students in the V-12 program could be attributed in
part to the belief of many black trainees that the program barred
Negroes. Actually, it never had, and in December 1943 the bureau
publicized this fact. It issued a circular letter emphasizing to all
commanders that enlisted men were entitled to consideration for transfer
to the V-12 program regardless of race.[3-75] Despite this effort  (p. 081)
it was soon apparent that the program would produce only a few black
officers, and the Bureau of Naval Personnel, at the urging of its
Special Programs Unit, agreed to follow Stevenson's suggestion and
concentrate on the direct commissioning of Negroes. Unlike Stevenson
the bureau preferred to obtain most of the men from the enlisted
ranks, and only in the case of certain specially trained men did the
Navy commission civilians.

                   [Footnote 3-74: The V-12 program was designed to
                   prepare large numbers of educated men for the
                   Navy's Reserve Midshipmen schools and to increase
                   the war-depleted student bodies of many colleges.
                   The Navy signed on eligible students as apprentice
                   seamen and paid their academic expenses. Eventually
                   the V-12 program produced some 80,000 officers for
                   the wartime Navy. For an account of the experiences
                   of a black recruit in the V-12 program, see Carl T.
                   Rowan, "Those Navy Boys Changed My Life," _Reader's
                   Digest_ 72 (January 1958):55-58. Rowan, the
                   celebrated columnist and onetime Deputy Assistant
                   Secretary of State for Public Affairs, was one of
                   the first Negroes to complete the V-12 program.
                   Another was Samuel Gravely.]

                   [Footnote 3-75: BuPers Cir Ltr 269-43, 15 Dec 43.]

[Illustration: FIRST BLACK OFFICERS IN THE NAVY. _From left to right_:
(_top row_) _John W. Reagan_, _Jesse W. Arbor_, _Dalton L. Baugh_;
(_second row_) _Graham E. Martin_, _W. O. Charles B. Lear_, _Frank C.
Sublett_; (_third row_) _Phillip S. Barnes_, _George Cooper_,
_Reginald Goodwin_; (_bottom row_) _James E. Hare_, _Samuel E.
Barnes_, _W. Sylvester White_, _Dennis D. Nelson II_.]

The Bureau of Naval Personnel concluded that, since many units were
substantially or wholly manned by Negroes, black officers could be
used without undue difficulty, and when Secretary Knox, prodded by
Stevenson, turned to the bureau, it recommended that the Navy      (p. 082)
commission twelve line and ten staff officers from a selected list of
enlisted men.[3-76] Admiral King endorsed the bureau's recommendation
and on 15 December 1943 Knox approved it, although he conditioned his
approval by saying: "After you have commissioned the twenty-two
officers you suggest, I think this matter should again be reviewed
before any additional colored officers are commissioned."[3-77]

                   [Footnote 3-76: Memo, SecNav for Chief, NavPers, 20
                   Nov 43, 54-1-50; Memo, Chief, NavPers, for SecNav,
                   2 Dec 43, sub: Negro Officers. Both in GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-77: Memo, SecNav for Rear Adm Jacobs, 15
                   Dec 43, quoted in "BuPers Hist," p. 33.]

On 1 January 1944 the first sixteen black officer candidates, selected
from among qualified enlisted applicants, entered Great Lakes for
segregated training. All sixteen survived the course, but only twelve
were commissioned. In the last week of the course, three candidates
were returned to the ranks, not because they had failed but because
the Bureau of Naval Personnel had suddenly decided to limit the number
of black officers in this first group to twelve. The twelve entered
the U.S. Naval Reserve as line officers on 17 March. A thirteenth man,
the only candidate who lacked a college degree, was made a warrant
officer because of his outstanding work in the course.

Two of the twelve new ensigns were assigned to the faculty at Hampton
training school, four others to yard and harbor craft duty, and the
rest to training duty at Great Lakes. All carried the label "Deck
Officers Limited--only," a designation usually reserved for officers
whose physical or educational deficiencies kept them from performing
all the duties of a line officer. The Bureau of Naval Personnel never
explained why the men were placed in this category, but it was clear
that none of them lacked the physical requirements of a line officer
and all had had business or professional careers in civil life.

Operating duplicate training facilities for officer candidates was
costly, and the bureau decided shortly after the first group of black
candidates was trained that future candidates of both races would be
trained together. By early summer ten more Negroes, this time
civilians with special professional qualifications, had been trained
with whites and were commissioned as staff officers in the Medical,
Dental, Chaplain, Civil Engineer, and Supply Corps. These twenty-two
men were the first of some sixty Negroes to be commissioned during the

Since only a handful of the Negroes in the Navy were officers, the
preponderance of the race problems concerned relations between black
enlisted men and their white officers. The problem of selecting the
proper officers to command black sailors was a formidable one never
satisfactorily solved during the war. As in the Army, most of the
white officers routinely selected for such assignments were
southerners, chosen by the Bureau of Naval Personnel for their assumed
"understanding" of Negroes rather than for their general competency.
The Special Programs Unit tried to work with these officers, assembling
them for conferences to discuss the best techniques and procedures for
dealing with groups of black subordinates. Members of the unit sought
to disabuse the officers of preconceived biases, constantly reminding
them that "our prejudices must be subordinated to our traditional  (p. 083)
unfailing obedience to orders."[3-78] Although there was ample proof
that many Negroes actively resented the paternalism exhibited by many
of even the best of these officers, this fact was slow to filter
through the naval establishment. It was not until January 1944 that an
officer who had compiled an enviable record in training Seabee units
described how his organization had come to see the light:

     We in the Seabees no longer follow the precept that southern
     officers exclusively should be selected for colored battalions. A
     man may be from the north, south, east or west. If his attitude
     is to do the best possible job he knows how, regardless of what
     the color of his personnel is, that is the man we want as an
     officer for our colored Seabees. We have learned to steer clear
     of the "I'm from the South--I know how to handle 'em variety." It
     follows with reference to white personnel, that deeply accented
     southern whites are not generally suited for Negro

                   [Footnote 3-78: Quoted in Record of "Conference With
                   Regard to Negro Personnel," held at Hq, Fifth Naval
                   District, 26 Oct 43, Incl to Ltr, Chief, NavPers,
                   to All Sea Frontier Cmds et al., 5 Jan 44, sub:
                   Negro Personnel--Confidential Report of Conference
                   With Regard to the Handling of, Pers 1013, BuPers
                   Recs. The grotesque racial attitudes of some
                   commanders, as well as the thoughtful questions and
                   difficult experiences of others, were fully aired
                   at this conference.]

                   [Footnote 3-79: Ibid.]

Further complicating the task of selecting suitable officers for black
units was the fact that when the Bureau of Naval Personnel asked unit
commanders to recommend men for such duty many commanders used the
occasion to rid themselves of their least desirable officers. The
Special Programs Unit then tried to develop its own source of officers
for black units. It discovered a fine reservoir of talent among the
white noncommissioned officers who ran the physical training and drill
courses at Great Lakes. These were excellent instructors, mature and
experienced in dealing with people. In January 1944 arrangements were
made to commission them and to assign them to black units.

Improvement in the quality of officers in black units was especially
important because the attitude of local commanders was directly
related to the degree of segregation in living quarters and
recreational facilities, and such segregation was the most common
source of racial tension. Although the Navy's practice of segregating
units clearly invited separate living and recreational facilities, the
rules were unwritten, and local commanders had been left to decide the
extent to which segregation was necessary. Thus practices varied
greatly and policy depended ultimately on the local commanders. Rather
than attack racial practices at particular bases, the unit decided to
concentrate on the officers. It explained to these leaders the Navy's
policy of equal treatment and opportunity, a concept basically
incompatible with many of their practices.

This conclusion was embodied in a pamphlet entitled _Guide to the
Command of Negro Naval Personnel_ and published by the Bureau of Naval
Personnel in February 1944.[3-80] The Special Programs Unit had to
overcome much opposition within the bureau to get the pamphlet
published. Some thought the subject of racial tension was best
ignored; others objected to the "sociological" content of the work,
considering this approach outside the Navy's province. The unit    (p. 084)
argued that racial tension in the Navy was a serious problem that
could not be ignored, and since human relations affected the Navy's
mission the Navy should deal with social matters objectively and

                   [Footnote 3-80: NavPers 15092, 12 Feb 44.]

                   [Footnote 3-81: "BuPers Hist," pt. II, pp. 2-3.]

Scholarly and objective, the pamphlet was an important document in the
history of race relations in the Navy. In language similar to that
used in the War Department's pamphlet on race, the Bureau of Naval
Personnel stated officially for the first time that discrimination
flowed of necessity out of the doctrine of segregation:

     The idea of compulsory racial segregation is disliked by almost
     all Negroes, and literally hated by many. This antagonism is in
     part a result of the fact that as a principle it embodies a
     doctrine of racial inferiority. It is also a result of the lesson
     taught the Negro by experience that in spite of the legal formula
     of "separate but equal" facilities, the facilities open to him
     under segregation are in fact usually inferior as to location or
     quality to those available to others.[3-82]

                   [Footnote 3-82: NavPers 15092, 12 Feb 44, p. 10.]

The guide also foreshadowed the end of the old order of things: "The
Navy accepts no theories of racial differences in inborn ability, but
expects that every man wearing its uniform be trained and used in
accordance with his maximum individual capacity determined on the
basis of individual performance."[3-83]

                   [Footnote 3-83: Ibid., p. 1.]

_Forrestal Takes the Helm_

The Navy got a leader sympathetic to the proposition of equal
treatment and opportunity for Negroes, and possessed of the
bureaucratic skills to achieve reforms, when President Roosevelt
appointed Under Secretary James Forrestal to replace Frank Knox, who
died suddenly on 28 April 1944. During the next five years Forrestal,
a brilliant, complex product of Wall Street, would assume more and
more responsibility for directing the integration effort in the
defense establishment. Although no racial crusader, Forrestal had been
for many years a member of the National Urban League, itself a pillar
of the civil rights establishment. He saw the problem of employing
Negroes as one of efficiency and simple fair play, and as the months
went by he assumed an active role in experimenting with changes in the
Navy's policy.[3-84]

                   [Footnote 3-84: See Columbia University Oral Hist
                   Interv with Granger; USAF Oral History Program,
                   Interview with James C. Evans, 24 Apr 73.]

His first experiment was with sea duty for Negroes. After the
experience of the _Mason_ and the other segregated ships which
actually proved very little, sentiment for a partial integration of
the fleet continued to grow in the Bureau of Naval Personnel. As early
as April 1943, officers in the Planning and Control Activity
recommended that Negroes be included in small numbers in the crews of
the larger combat ships. Admiral Jacobs, however, was convinced that
"you couldn't dump 200 colored boys on a crew in battle,"[3-85] so this
and similar proposals later in the year never survived passage through
the bureau.

                   [Footnote 3-85: Interv, Lee Nichols with Vice Adm
                   Randall Jacobs, 29 Mar 53, in Nichols Collection,

Forrestal accepted Jacob's argument that as long as the war        (p. 085)
continued any move toward integrating the fighting ships was
impractical. At the same time, he agreed with the Special Programs
Unit that large concentrations of Negroes in shore duties lowered
efficiency and morale. Forrestal compromised by ordering the bureau to
prepare as an experiment a plan for the integration of some fleet
auxiliary ships. On 20 May 1944 he outlined the problem for the

"From a morale standpoint, the Negroes resent the fact that they are
not assigned to general service billets at sea, and white personnel
resent the fact that Negroes have been given less hazardous
assignments." He explained that at first Negroes would be used only on
the large auxiliaries, and their number would be limited to not more
than 10 percent of the ship's complement. If this step proved
workable, he planned to use Negroes in small numbers on other types of
ships "as necessity indicates." The White House answered: "OK,

                   [Footnote 3-86: Memo, SecNav for President, 20 May
                   44, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

Secretary Forrestal also won the support of the Chief of Naval
Operations for the move, but Admiral King still considered integration
in the fleet experimental and was determined to keep strict control
until the results were known. On 9 August 1944 King informed the
commanding officers of twenty-five large fleet auxiliaries that
Negroes would be assigned to them in the near future. As Forrestal had
suggested, King set the maximum number of Negroes at 10 percent of the
ship's general service. Of this number, 15 percent would be
third-class petty officers from shore activities, selected as far as
possible from volunteers and, in any case, from those who had served
the longest periods of shore duty. Of the remainder, 43 percent would
be from Class A schools and 42 percent from recruit training. The
basic 10 percent figure proved to be a theoretical maximum; no ship
received that many Negroes.

Admiral King insisted that equal treatment in matters of training,
promotion, and duty assignments must be accorded all hands, but he
left the matter of berthing to the commanding officers, noting that
experience had proved that in the shore establishment, when the
percentage of blacks to whites was small, the two groups could be
successfully mingled in the same compartments. He also pointed out
that a thorough indoctrination of white sailors before the arrival of
the Negroes had been useful in preventing racial friction ashore.[3-87]

                   [Footnote 3-87: Ltr, CNO to CO, USS _Antaeus_ et al.,
                   9 Aug 44, sub: Negro Enlisted Personnel--Assignment
                   of to Ships of the Fleet, P16-3/MM, OpNavArchives.]

King asked all commanders concerned in the experiment to report their
experiences.[3-88] Their judgment: integration in the auxiliary fleet
worked. As one typical report related after several months of
integrated duty:

     The crew was carefully indoctrinated in the fact that Negro
     personnel should not be subjected to discrimination of any sort
     and should be treated in the same manner as other members of the

     The Negro personnel when they came aboard were berthed
     indiscriminately throughout the crew's compartments in the same
     manner as if they had been white. It is felt that the
     assimilation of the general service Negro personnel aboard this
     ship has been remarkably successful. To the present date      (p. 086)
     there has been no report of any difficulty which could be
     laid to their color. It is felt that this is due in part, at
     least, to the high calibre of Negroes assigned to this ship.[3-89]

                   [Footnote 3-88: Idem to Cmdr, _Antaeus_ et al., 9 Jan
                   45, P16-3, OpNavArchives.]

                   [Footnote 3-89: Ltr, CO, USS _Antaeus_, to Chief,
                   NavPers, 16 Jan 45, sub: Negro Enlisted
                   Personnel--Assignment of to Ships of the Fleet,
                   Ag67/P16-3/MM; see also Memo, Cmdr D. Armstrong for
                   ComSerForPac, 29 Dec 44, sub: Negro Enlisted
                   Personnel (General Service Ratings) Assignment of
                   to Ships of the Fleet; Ltr, ComSerForPac to Chief,
                   NavPers, 2 Jan 45, with CINCPac&POA end thereto,
                   same sub; Ltrs to Chief, NavPers, from CO, USS
                   _Laramie_, 17 Jan 45, USS _Mattole_, 19 Jan 45,
                   with ComSerForLant end, and USS _Ariel_, 1 Feb 45.
                   All Incl to Memo, Chief, NavPers, for CINCUSFLEET,
                   6 Mar 45, sub: Negro Personnel--Expanded Use of,
                   Pers 2119 FB. All in OpNavArchives.]

The comments of his commanders convinced King that the auxiliary
vessels in the fleet could be integrated without incident. He approved
a plan submitted by the Chief of Naval Personnel on 6 March 1945 for
the gradual assignment of Negroes to all auxiliary vessels, again in
numbers not to exceed 10 percent of the general service billets in any
ship's complement.[3-90] A month later Negroes were being so assigned in
an administratively routine manner.[3-91] The Bureau of Naval Personnel
then began assigning black officers to sea duty on the integrated
vessels. The first one went to the _Mason_ in March, and in succeeding
months others were sent in a routine manner to auxiliary vessels
throughout the fleet.[3-92] These assignments were not always carried
out according to the bureau's formula. The commander of the USS
_Chemung_, for example, told a young black ensign:

     I'm a Navy Man, and we're in a war. To me, it's that stripe that
     counts--and the training and leadership that it is supposed to
     symbolize. That's why I never called a meeting of the crew to
     prepare them, to explain their obligation to respect you, or
     anything like that. I didn't want anyone to think you were
     different from any other officer coming aboard.[3-93]

                   [Footnote 3-90: Memo, Chief, NavPers, for
                   CINCUSFLEET, 6 Mar 45, sub: Negro
                   Personnel--Expanded Use of, with 1st Ind, from
                   Fleet Adm, USN, for Vice CNO, 28 Mar 45, same sub,
                   FFI/P16-3/MM, OpNavArchives.]

                   [Footnote 3-91: BuPers Cir Ltr 105-45, 13 Apr 45,
                   sub: Negro General-Service Personnel, Assignment of
                   to Auxiliary Vessels of the Fleet.]

                   [Footnote 3-92: Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to CO, USS
                   _Mason_, 16 Mar 45, sub: Negro Officer--Assignment
                   of, Pers 2119-FB; see also idem to CO, USS
                   _Kaweah_, 16 Jul 45, sub: Negro Officer--Assignment
                   of to Auxiliary Vessel of the Fleet, AO 15/P16-1;
                   idem to CO, USS _Laramie_, 21 Aug 45, same sub, AO
                   16/P16-1. All in OpNavArchives.]

                   [Footnote 3-93: Quoted in Rowan, "Those Navy Boys
                   Changed My Life." pp 57-58.]

Admitting Negroes to the WAVES was another matter considered by the
new secretary in his first days in office. In fact, the subject had
been under discussion in the Navy Department for some two years. Soon
after the organization of the women's auxiliary, its director, Capt.
Mildred H. McAfee, had recommended that Negroes be accepted, arguing
that their recruitment would help to temper the widespread criticism
of the Navy's restrictive racial policy. But the traditionalists in
the Bureau of Naval Personnel had opposed the move on the grounds that
WAVES were organized to replace men, and since there were more than
enough black sailors to fill all billets open to Negroes there was no
need to recruit black women.

Actually, both arguments served to mask other motives, as did Knox's
rejection of recruitment on the grounds that integrating women into
the Navy was difficult enough without taking on the race           (p. 087)
problem.[3-94] In April 1943 Knox "tentatively" approved the "tentative"
outline of a bureau plan for the induction of up to 5,000 black WAVES,
but nothing came of it.[3-95] Given the secretary's frequent
protestation that the subject was under constant review,[3-96] and his
statement to Captain McAfee that black WAVES would be enlisted "over
his dead body,"[3-97] the tentative outline and approval seems to have
been an attempt to defer the decision indefinitely.

                   [Footnote 3-94: Ltr, Mildred M. Horton to author, 14
                   Mar 75, CMH files.]

                   [Footnote 3-95: Memo, Chief, NavPers, for SecNav, 27
                   Apr 43, Pers 17MD, BuPersRecs, Memo, SecNav for Adm
                   Jacobs, 29 Apr 43, 54-1-43, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-96: See, for example, Ltr, SecNav to
                   Algernon D. Black, City-Wide Citizen's Cmte on
                   Harlem, 23 Apr 43, 54-1-43, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-97: Quoted in Ltr, Horton to author, 14
                   Mar 75.]

Secretary Knox's delay merely attracted more attention to the problem
and enabled the protestors to enlist powerful allies. At the time of
his death, Knox was under siege by a delegation from the Congress of
Industrial Organizations (CIO) demanding a reassessment of the Navy's
policy on the women's reserve.[3-98] His successor turned for advice to
Captain McAfee and to the Bureau of Naval Personnel where, despite
Knox's "positive and direct orders" against recruiting black WAVES,
the Special Programs Unit had continued to study the problem.[3-99]
Convinced that the step was just and inevitable, the unit also agreed
that the WAVES should be integrated. Forrestal approved, and on 28
July 1944 he recommended to the President that Negroes be trained in
the WAVES on an integrated basis and assigned "wherever needed within
the continental limits of the United States, preferably to stations
where there are already Negro men." He concluded by reiterating a
Special Programs Unit warning: "I consider it advisable to start
obtaining Negro WAVES before we are forced to take them."[3-100]

                   [Footnote 3-98: Memo, Ralph Bard for Forrestal, 4 May
                   44, sub: Navy Policy on Recruitment of Negro
                   Females as WAVES; Ltr, Nathan Cowan, CIO, to
                   Forrestal, 20 May 44, 54-1-1. Both in GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-99: Memo, J. V. F. (Forrestal) for Adm
                   Denfeld (ca. 7 Jun 44); Memo, Capt Mildred McAfee
                   for Adm Denfeld, 7 Jun 44; both in 54-1-4,
                   GenRecsNav. See also Memo, Chief, NavPers, for
                   SecNav, 11 May 44, sub: Navy Policy on Recruitment
                   of Negro Females as WAVES, Pers 17, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-100: Memo, Forrestal for President, 28
                   Jul 44, 54-1-4, GenRecsNav.]

To avoid the shoals of racial controversy in the midst of an election
year, Secretary Forrestal did trim his recommendations to the extent
that he retained the doctrine of separate but equal living quarters
and mess facilities for the black WAVES. Despite this offer of
compromise, President Roosevelt directed Forrestal to withhold action
on the proposal.[3-101] Here the matter would probably have stood until
after the election but for Thomas E. Dewey's charge in a Chicago
speech during the presidential campaign that the White House was
discriminating against black women. The President quickly instructed
the Navy to admit Negroes into the WAVES.[3-102]

                   [Footnote 3-101: Memo, Lt Cmdr John Tyree (White
                   House aide) for Forrestal, 9 Aug 44, 54-1-4,

                   [Footnote 3-102: Navy Dept Press Release, 19 Oct 44.]

The first two black WAVE officers graduated from training at Smith
College on 21 December, and the enlistment of black women began a week
later. The program turned out to be more racially progressive than
initially outlined by Forrestal. He had explained to the President
that the women would be quartered separately, a provision          (p. 088)
interpreted in the Bureau of Naval Personnel to mean that black
recruits would be organized into separate companies. Since a recruit
company numbered 250 women, and since it quickly became apparent that
such a large group of black volunteers would not soon be forthcoming,
some of the bureau staff decided that the Navy would continue to bar
black women. In this they reckoned without Captain McAfee who insisted
on a personal ruling by Forrestal. She warned the secretary that his
order was necessary because the concept "was so strange to Navy
practice."[3-103] He agreed with her that the Negroes would be
integrated along with the rest of the incoming recruits, and the
Bureau of Naval Personnel subsequently ordered that the WAVES be
assimilated without making either special or separate arrangements.[3-104]

                   [Footnote 3-103: Oral History Interview, Mildred
                   McAfee Horton, 25 Aug 69, Center of Naval History.]

                   [Footnote 3-104: Ltr, Asst Chief, NavPers, to CO,
                   NavTraScol (WR), Bronx, N.Y., 8 Dec 44, sub:
                   Colored WAVE Recruits, Pers-107, BuPersRecs.]

officers, members of the final graduating class at Naval Reserve
Midshipmen's School (WR), Northhampton, Massachusetts._]

By July 1945 the Navy had trained seventy-two black WAVES at Hunter
College Naval Training School in a fully integrated and routine
manner. Although black WAVES were restricted somewhat in specialty
assignments and a certain amount of separate quartering within
integrated barracks prevailed at some duty stations, the Special
Programs Unit came to consider the WAVE program, which established a
forceful precedent for the integration of male recruit training, its
most important wartime breakthrough, crediting Captain McAfee and her
unbending insistence on equal treatment for the achievement.

Forrestal won the day in these early experiments, but he was a
skillful administrator and knew that there was little hope for any
fundamental social change in the naval service without the active
cooperation of the Navy's high-ranking officers. His meeting with
Admiral King on the subject of integration in the summer of 1944 has
been reported by several people. Lester Granger, who later became
Forrestal's special representative on racial matters, recalled:

     He [Forrestal] said he spoke to Admiral King, who was then chief
     of staff, and said, "Admiral King, I'm not satisfied with the
     situation here--I don't think that our Navy Negro personnel are
     getting a square break. I want to do something about it, but I
     can't do anything about it unless the officers are behind me. I
     want your help. What do you say?"

     He said that Admiral King sat for a moment, and looked out    (p. 089)
     the window and then said reflectively, "You know, we say that
     we are a democracy and a democracy ought to have a democratic
     Navy. I don't think you can do it, but if you want to try, I'm
     behind you all the way." And he told me, "And Admiral King was
     behind me, all the way, not only he but all of the Bureau of
     Personnel, BuPers. They've been bricks."[3-105]

                   [Footnote 3-105: Quoted in the Columbia University
                   Oral History Interview with Granger. Granger's
                   incorrect reference to Admiral King as "chief of
                   staff" is interesting because it illustrates the
                   continuing evolution of that office during World
                   War II.]


Admiral Jacobs, the Chief of Naval Personnel, also pledged his

                   [Footnote 3-106: James V. Forrestal, "Remarks for
                   Dinner Meeting at National Urban League," 12 Feb
                   58, Box 31, Misc file, Forrestal Papers, Princeton
                   Library. Forrestal's truncated version of the King
                   meeting agreed substantially with Granger's
                   lengthier remembrance.]

As news of the King-Forrestal conversation filtered through the
department, many of the programs long suggested by the Special
Programs Unit and heretofore treated with indifference or disapproval
suddenly received respectful attention.[3-107] With the high-ranking
officers cooperating, the Navy under Forrestal began to attack some of
the more obvious forms of discrimination and causes of racial tension.
Admiral King led the attack, personally directing in August 1944 that
all elements give close attention to the proper selection of officers
to command black sailors. As he put it: "Certain officers will be
temperamentally better suited for such commands than others."[3-108] The
qualifications of these officers were to be kept under constant    (p. 090)
review. In December he singled out the commands in the Pacific area,
which had a heavy concentration of all-black base companies, calling
for a reform in their employment and advancement of Negroes.[3-109]

                   [Footnote 3-107: Intervs, Lee Nichols with Adm Louis
                   E. Denfeld (Deputy Chief of Naval Personnel, later
                   CNO) and with Cmdr Charles Dillon (formerly of
                   BuPers Special Unit), 1953; both in Nichols
                   Collection, CMH.]

                   [Footnote 3-108: ALNAV, 7 Aug 44, quoted in Nelson,
                   "Integration of the Negro," p. 46.]

                   [Footnote 3-109: Dir, CNO, to Forward Areas, Dec 44,
                   quoted in Nelson's "Integration of the Negro," p.

[Illustration: SECURITY WATCH IN THE MARIANAS. _Ratings of these men
guarding an ammunition depot include boatswain, second class, seaman,
first class, and fireman, first class._]

The Bureau of Naval Personnel also stepped up the tempo of its
reforms. In March 1944 it had already made black cooks and bakers
eligible for duty in all commissary branches of the Navy.[3-110] In June
it got Forrestal's approval for putting all rated cooks and stewards
in chief petty officer uniforms.[3-111] (While providing finally for the
proper uniforming of the chief cooks and stewards, this reform set
their subordinates, the rated cooks and stewards, even further apart
from their counterparts in the general service who of course continued
to wear the familiar bell bottoms.) The bureau also began to attack
the concentration of Negroes in ammunition depots and base companies.
On 21 February 1945 it ordered that all naval magazines and ammunition
depots in the United States and, wherever practical, overseas limit
their black seamen to 30 percent of the total employed.[3-112] It  (p. 091)
also organized twenty logistic support companies to replace the
formless base companies sent to the Pacific in the early months of the
recruitment program. Organized to perform supply functions, each
company consisted of 250 enlisted men and five officers, with a
flexible range of petty officer billets.

                   [Footnote 3-110: BuPers Cir Ltr 72-44, 13 Mar 44,
                   sub: Negro Personnel of the Commissary Branch,
                   Assignment to Duty of.]

                   [Footnote 3-111: Idem, 182-44, 29 Jun 44, "Uniform
                   for Chief Cooks and Chief Stewards and Cooks and

                   [Footnote 3-112: Idem, 45-18, 21 Feb 45, and 45-46,
                   31 May 45, sub: Negro Enlisted
                   Personnel--Limitation on Assignment of to Naval
                   Ammunition Depots and Naval Magazines.]

In the reform atmosphere slowly permeating the Bureau of Naval
Personnel, the Special Programs Unit found it relatively easy to end
segregation in the specialist training program.[3-113] From the first,
the number of Negroes eligible for specialist training had been too
small to make costly duplication of equipment and services practical.
In 1943, for example, the black aviation metalsmith school at Great
Lakes had an average enrollment of eight students. The school was
quietly closed and its students integrated with white students. Thus,
when the _Mason's_ complement was assembled in early 1944, Negroes
were put into the destroyer school at Norfolk side by side with
whites, and the black and white petty officers were quartered
together. As a natural consequence of the decision to place Negroes in
the auxiliary fleet, the Bureau of Naval Personnel opened training in
seagoing rates to Negroes on an integrated basis. Citing the
practicality of the move, the bureau closed the last of the black
schools in June 1945.[3-114]

                   [Footnote 3-113: There is some indication that
                   integration was already going on unofficially in
                   some specialist schools; see Ltr, Dr. M. A. F.
                   Ritchie to James C. Evans, 13 Aug 65, CMH files.]

                   [Footnote 3-114: BuPers Cir Ltr 194-44, sub: Advanced
                   Schools, Nondiscrimination in Selection of
                   Personnel for Training in; Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to
                   CO, AdComd, NavTraCen, 12 Jun 45, sub: Selection of
                   Negro Personnel for Instruction in Class "A"
                   Schools, 54-1-21, GenRecsNav.]

Despite these reforms, the months following Forrestal's talk with King
saw many important recommendations of the Special Programs Unit
wandering uncertainly through the bureaucratic desert. For example, a
proposal to make the logistic support companies interracial, or at
least to create comparable white companies to remove the stigma of
segregated manual labor, failed to survive the objections of the
enlisted personnel section. The Bureau of Naval Personnel rejected a
suggestion that Negroes be assigned to repair units on board ships and
to LST's, LCI's, and LCT's during the expansion of the amphibious
program. On 30 August 1944 Admiral King rejected a bureau
recommendation that the crews of net tenders and mine ships be
integrated. He reasoned that these vessels were being kept in
readiness for overseas assignment and required "the highest degree of
experienced seamanship and precision work" by the crews. He also cited
the crowded living quarters and less experienced officers as further
reasons for banning Negroes.[3-115]

                   [Footnote 3-115: Memo, CNO for Chief, NavPers, 30 Aug
                   44, sub: Negro Personnel--Assignment to ANs and
                   YMs, P13-/MM, BuPersRecs.]

There were other examples of backsliding in the Navy's racial
practices. Use of Negroes in general service had created a shortage of
messmen, and in August 1944 the Bureau of Naval Personnel authorized
commanders to recruit among black seamen for men to transfer to the
Steward's Branch. The bureau suggested as a talking point the fact (p. 092)
that stewards enjoyed more rapid advancement, shorter hours, and
easier work than men in the general service.[3-116] And, illustrating
that a move toward integration was sometimes followed by a step
backward, a bureau representative reported in July 1945 that whereas a
few black trainees at the Bainbridge Naval Training Center had been
integrated in the past, many now arriving were segregated in all-black

                   [Footnote 3-116: BuPers Cir Ltr 227-44, 12 Aug 44,
                   sub: Steward's Branch, Procurement of From
                   General-Service Negroes.]

                   [Footnote 3-117: Memo, Lt William H. Robertson, Jr.,
                   for Rear Adm William M. Fechteler, Asst Chief,
                   NavPers, 20 Jul 45, sub: Conditions Existing at
                   NTC, Bainbridge, Md., Regarding Negro Personnel,
                   Reported on by Lt Wm. H. Robertson, Jr.,
                   Pers-2119-FB, BuPersRecs.]

There were reasons for the inconsistent stance in Washington. The
Special Programs Unit had for some time been convinced that only full
integration would eliminate discrimination and dissolve racial
tensions in the Navy, and it had understood Forrestal's desire "to do
something" for the Negro to mean just that. Some senior commanders and
their colleagues in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, on the other hand,
while accepting the need for reform and willing to accept some racial
mixing, nevertheless rejected any substantial change in the policy of
restricted employment of Negroes on the grounds that it might disrupt
the wartime fleet. Both sides could argue with assurance since
Forrestal and King had not made their positions completely clear.
Whatever the secretary's ultimate intention, the reforms carried out
in 1944 were too little and too late. Perhaps nothing would have been
sufficient, for the racial incidents visited upon the Navy during the
last year of the war were symptomatic of the overwhelming
dissatisfaction Negroes felt with their lot in the armed forces. There
had been incidents during the Knox period, but investigation had
failed to isolate any "single, simple cause," and troubles continued
to occur during 1944.[3-118]

                   [Footnote 3-118: "BuPers Hist," p. 75.]

Three of these incidents gained national prominence.[3-119] The first
was a mutiny at Mare Island, California, after an explosion destroyed
two ammunition ships loading at nearby Port Chicago on 17 July 1944.
The explosion killed over 300 persons, including 250 black seamen who
had toiled in large, segregated labor battalions. The survivors
refused to return to work, and fifty of them were convicted of mutiny
and sentenced to prison. The incident became a _cause celebre_.
Finally, through the intervention of the black press and black
organizations and the efforts of Thurgood Marshall and Lester Granger,
the convictions were set aside and the men restored to active duty.

                   [Footnote 3-119: Nelson, "Integration of the Negro,"
                   ch. VIII.]

A riot on Guam in December 1944 was the climax of months of friction
between black seamen and white marines. A series of shootings in and
around the town of Agana on Christmas Eve left a black and a white
marine dead. Believing one of the killed a member of their group,
black sailors from the Naval Supply Depot drove into town to confront
the outnumbered military police. No violence ensued, but the next day
two truckloads of armed Negroes went to the white Marine camp. A riot
followed and forty-three Negroes were arrested, charged with rioting
and theft of the trucks, and sentenced to up to four years in prison.
The authorities also recommended that several of the white marines (p. 093)
involved be court-martialed. These men too were convicted of various
offenses and sentenced.[3-120] Walter White went to Guam to
investigate the matter and appeared as a principal witness before the
Marine Court of Inquiry. There he pieced together for officials the
long history of discrimination suffered by men of the base company.
This situation, combined with poor leadership in the unit, he
believed, caused the trouble. His efforts and those of other civil
rights advocates led to the release of the black sailors in early

                   [Footnote 3-120: Henry I. Shaw, Jr., and Ralph W.
                   Donnelly, _Blacks in the Marine Corps_ (Washington:
                   Government Printing Office, 1975), pp. 44-45.]

                   [Footnote 3-121: White's testimony before the Court
                   of Inquiry was attached to a report by Maj Gen
                   Henry L. Larsen to CMC (ca. 22 Jan 45), Ser. No.
                   04275, copy in CMH.]

[Illustration: SPECIALISTS REPAIR AIRCRAFT, _Naval Air Station,
Seattle, Washington, 1945_.]

A hunger strike developed as a protest against discrimination in a
Seabee battalion at Port Hueneme, California, in March 1945. There was
no violence. The thousand strikers continued to work but refused to
eat for two days. The resulting publicity forced the Navy to
investigate the charges; as a result, the commanding officer, the
focus of the grievance, was replaced and the outfit sent overseas.

The riots, mutinies, and other incidents increased the pressure for
further modifications of policy. Some senior officers became convinced
that the only way to avoid mass rebellion was to avert the         (p. 094)
possibility of collective action, and collective action was less
likely if Negroes were dispersed among whites. As Admiral Chester W.
Nimitz, commander of the Pacific Fleet and an eloquent proponent of
the theory that integration was a practical means of avoiding trouble,
explained to the captain of an attack cargo ship who had just received
a group of black crewmen and was segregating their sleeping quarters:
"If you put all the Negroes together they'll have a chance to share
grievances and to plot among themselves, and this will damage
discipline and morale. If they are distributed among other members of
the crew, there will be less chance of trouble. And when we say we
want integration, we mean _integration_."[3-122] Thus integration grew
out of both idealism and realism.

                   [Footnote 3-122: As quoted in White, _A Man Called
                   White_, p. 273. For a variation on this theme, see
                   Interv, Nichols with Hillenkoetter.]

If racial incidents convinced the admirals that further reforms were
necessary, they also seem to have strengthened Forrestal's resolve to
introduce a still greater change in his department's policy. For
months he had listened to the arguments of senior officials and naval
experts that integration of the fleet, though desirable, was
impossible during the war. Yet Forrestal had seen integration work on
the small patrol craft, on fleet auxiliaries, and in the WAVES. In
fact, integration was working smoothly wherever it had been tried.
Although hard to substantiate, the evidence suggests that it was in
the weeks after the Guam incident that the secretary and Admiral King
agreed on a policy of total integration in the general service. The
change would be gradual, but the progress would be evident and the end
assured--Negroes were going to be assigned as individuals to all
branches and billets in the general service.[3-123]

                   [Footnote 3-123: Ltr, Rear Adm Hillenkoetter to
                   Nichols, 22 May 53; see also Intervs, Nichols with
                   Granger, Hillenkoetter, Jacobs, Thomas Darden,
                   Dillon, and other BuPers officials. In contrast to
                   the Knox period, where the files are replete with
                   Secretary of the Navy memos, BuPers letters, and
                   General Board reports on the development of the
                   Navy's racial policy, there is scant documentation
                   on the same subject during the early months of the
                   Forrestal administration. This is understandable
                   because the subject of integration was extremely
                   delicate and not readily susceptible to the usual
                   staffing needed for most policy decisions.
                   Furthermore, Forrestal's laconic manner of
                   expressing himself, famous in bureaucratic
                   Washington, inhibited the usual flow of letters and

Forrestal and King received no end of advice. In December 1944 a group
of black publicists called upon the secretary to appoint a civilian
aide to consider the problems of the Negro in the Navy. The group also
added its voice to those within the Navy who were suggesting the
appointment of a black public relations officer to disseminate news of
particular interest to the black press and to improve the Navy's
relations with the black community.[3-124] One of Forrestal's assistants
proposed that an intradepartmental committee be organized to
standardize the disparate approaches to racial problems throughout the
naval establishment; another recommended the appointment of a black
civilian to advise the Bureau of Naval Personnel; and still another
recommended a white assistant on racial affairs in the office of the
under secretary.[3-125]

                   [Footnote 3-124: Ltr, John H. Sengstacke to
                   Forrestal, 19 Dec 44, 54-1-9, GenRecsNav; Interv,
                   Nichols with Granger.]

                   [Footnote 3-125: Memo, Under Sec Bard for SecNav, 1
                   Jan 45; Memo, H Struve Hensel (Off of Gen Counsel)
                   for Forrestal, 5 Jan 45; both in 54-1-9, Forrestal
                   file, GenRecsNav.]

These ideas had merit. The Special Programs Unit had for some time
been urging a public relations effort, pointing to the existence of
an influential black press as well as to the desirability of       (p. 095)
fostering among whites a greater knowledge of the role of Negroes in
the war. Forrestal brought two black officers to Washington for
possible assignment to public relations work, and he asked the
director of public relations to arrange for black newsmen to visit
vessels manned by black crewmen. Finally, in June 1945, a black
officer was added to the staff of the Navy's Office of Public

                   [Footnote 3-126: Memo, SecNav for Eugene Duffield
                   (Asst to Under Sec), 16 Jan 45, 54-1-9; idem for
                   Rear Adm A. Stanton Merrill (Dir of Pub Relations),
                   24 Mar and 4 May 45, 54-1-16. All in Forrestal
                   file, GenRecsNav.]

Appointment of a civilian aide on racial affairs was under
consideration for some time, but when no agreement could be reached on
where best to assign the official, Forrestal, who wanted someone he
could "casually talk to about race relations,"[3-127] invited the
Executive Secretary of the National Urban League to "give us some of
your time for a period."[3-128] Thus in March 1945 Lester B. Granger
began his long association with the Department of Defense, an
association that would span the military's integration effort.[3-129]
Granger's assignment was straightforward. From time to time he would
make extensive trips representing the secretary and his special
interest in racial problems at various naval stations.

                   [Footnote 3-127: Quoted in Forrestal, "Remarks for
                   Dinner of Urban League."]

                   [Footnote 3-128: Ltr, SecNav to Lester Granger, 1 Feb
                   45, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-129: Ltrs, Granger to Forrestal, 19 Mar
                   and 3 Apr 45, 54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.
                   Granger and Forrestal had attended Dartmouth
                   College, but not together as Forrestal thought. For
                   a detailed and affectionate account of their
                   relationship, see Columbia University Oral History
                   Interview with Granger.]

Forrestal was sympathetic to the Urban League's approach to racial
justice, and in Granger he had a man who had developed this approach
into a social philosophy. Granger believed in relating the Navy's
racial problems not to questions of fairness but to questions of
survival, comfort, and security for all concerned. He assumed that if
leadership in any field came to understand that its privilege or its
security were threatened by denial of fairness to the less privileged,
then a meeting of minds was possible between the two groups. They
would begin to seek a way to eliminate insecurity, and from the
process of eliminating insecurity would come fairness. As Granger
explained it, talk to the commander about his loss of efficient
production, not the shame of denying a Negro a man's right to a job.
Talk about the social costs that come from denial of opportunity and
talk about the penalty that the privileged pay almost in equal measure
to what the Negro pays, but in different coin. Only then would one
begin to get a hearing. On the other hand, talk to Negroes not about
achieving their rights but about making good on an opportunity. This
would lead to a discussion of training, of ways to override barriers
"by maintaining themselves whole."[3-130] The Navy was going to get a
lesson in race relations, Urban League style.

                   [Footnote 3-130: Columbia University Oral Hist Interv
                   with Granger.]

At Forrestal's request, Granger explained how he viewed the special
adviser's role. He thought he could help the secretary by smoothing
the integration process in the general service through consultations
with local commanders and their men in a series of field visits. He
could also act as an intermediary between the department and the civil
rights organizations and black press. Granger urged the formation  (p. 096)
of an advisory council, which would consist of ranking representatives
from the various branches, to interpret and administer the Navy's
racial policy. The need for such intradepartmental coordination seemed
fairly obvious. Although in 1945 the Bureau of Naval Personnel had
increased the resources of its Special Programs Unit, still the only
specialized organization dealing with race problems, that group was
always too swamped with administrative detail to police race problems
outside Washington. Furthermore, the Seabees and the Medical and
Surgery Department were in some ways independent of the bureau, and
their employment of black sailors was different from that of other
branches--a situation that created further confusion and conflict in
the application of race policy.[3-131]

                   [Footnote 3-131: Memo, Chief, NavPers, for Cmdr
                   Richard M. Paget (Exec Office of the SecNav), 21
                   Apr 45, sub: Organization of Advisory Cmte, Pers
                   2119, GenRecsNav. See also "BuPers Hist," pt. II,
                   p. 3.]

Assuming that the advisory council would require an executive agent,
Granger suggested that the secretary have a full-time assistant for
race relations in addition to his own part-time services. He wanted
the man to be black and he wanted him in the secretary's office, which
would give him prestige in the black community and increase his power
to deal with the bureaus. Forrestal rejected the idea of a council and
a full-time assistant, pleading that he must avoid creating another
formal organization. Instead he decided to assemble an informal
committee, which he invited Granger to join, to standardize the Navy's
handling of Negroes.[3-132]

                   [Footnote 3-132: Ltr, Granger to SecNav, 19 Mar 45;
                   Ltrs, SecNav to Granger, 26 Mar and 5 Apr 45. All
                   in 54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav. The
                   activities of the intradepartmental committee will
                   be discussed in Chapter 5.]

It was obvious that Forrestal, convinced that the Navy's senior
officials had made a fundamental shift in their thinking on equal
treatment and opportunity for Negroes in the Navy, was content to let
specific reforms percolate slowly throughout the department. He would
later call the Navy's wartime reforms "a start down a long road."[3-133]
In these last months of the war, however, more barriers to equal
treatment of Negroes were quietly falling. In March 1945, after months
of prodding by Forrestal, the Surgeon General announced that the Navy
would accept a "reasonable" number of qualified black nurses and was
now recruiting for them.[3-134] In June the Bureau of Naval Personnel
ordered the integration of recruit training, assigning black general
service recruits to the nearest recruit training command "to obtain
the maximum utilization of naval training and housing facilities."[3-135]
Noting that this integration was at variance with some individual
attitudes, the bureau justified the change on the grounds of
administrative efficiency. Again at the secretary's urging, plans were
set in motion in July for the assignment of Negroes to submarine and
aviation pilot training.[3-136] At the same time Lester Granger, acting
as the secretary's personal representative, was visiting the       (p. 097)
Navy's continental installations, prodding commanders and converting
them to the new policy.[3-137]

                   [Footnote 3-133: Ltr, Forrestal to Marshall Field III
                   (publisher of _PM_), 14 Jul 45, 54-1-13, Forrestal
                   file, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-134: Memo, SecNav for Rear Adm W. J. C.
                   Agnew, Asst Surg Gen, 28 Jan 45; Memo, Surg Gen for
                   Eugene Duffield, 19 Mar 45; both in 54-1-3,
                   Forrestal file, GenRecsNav. By V-J day the Navy had
                   four black nurses on active duty.]

                   [Footnote 3-135: Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to Cmdts, All
                   Naval Districts, 11 Jun 45, sub: Negro Recruit
                   Training--Discontinuance of Special Program and
                   Camps for, P16-3/MM, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 3-136: Memo, SecNav for Artemus L. Gates,
                   Asst Sec for Air, et al. 16 Jul 45; Ltr, SecNav to
                   Granger, 14 Jul 45; both in 54-1-20, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 3-137: Ltr, Granger to Forrestal, 4 Aug 45,
                   54-1-13, GenRecsNav.]


The Navy's wartime progress in race relations was the product of
several forces. At first Negroes were restricted to service as
messmen, but political pressure forced the Navy to open general
service billets to them. In this the influence of the civil rights
spokesmen was paramount. They and their allies in Congress and the
national political parties led President Roosevelt to demand an end to
exclusion and the Navy to accept Negroes for segregated general
service. The presence of large numbers of black inductees and the
limited number of assignments for them in segregated units prevented
the Bureau of Naval Personnel from providing even a semblance of
separate but equal conditions. Deteriorating black morale and the
specter of racial disturbance drove the bureau to experiment with
all-black crews, but the experiment led nowhere. The Navy could never
operate a separate but equal fleet. Finally in 1944 Forrestal began to
experiment with integration in seagoing assignments.

The influence of the civil rights forces can be overstated. Their
attention tended to focus on the Army, especially in the later years
of the war; their attacks on the Navy were mostly sporadic and
uncoordinated and easily deflected by naval spokesmen. Equally
important to race reform was the fact that the Navy was developing its
own group of civil rights advocates during the war, influential men in
key positions who had been dissatisfied with the prewar status of the
Negro and who pressed for racial change in the name of military
efficiency. Under the leadership of a sympathetic secretary,       (p. 098)
himself aided and abetted by Stevenson and other advisers in his
office and in the Bureau of Naval Personnel, the Navy was laying plans
for a racially integrated general service when Japan capitulated.

To achieve equality of treatment and opportunity, however, takes more
than the development of an integration policy. For one thing, the
liberalization of policy and practices affected only a relatively
small percentage of the Negroes in the Navy. On V-J day the Navy could
count 164,942 enlisted Negroes, 5.37 percent of its total enlisted
strength.[3-138] More than double the prewar percentage, this figure was
still less than half the national ratio of blacks to whites. In August
1945 the Navy had 60 black officers, 6 of whom were women (4 nurses
and 2 WAVES), and 68 enlisted WAVES who were not segregated. The
integration of the Navy officer corps, the WAVES, and the nurses had
an immediate effect on only 128 people. Figures for black enlisted men
show that they were employed in some sixty-seven ratings by the end of
the war, but steward and steward's mate ratings accounted for some
68,000 men, about 40 percent of the total black enlistment.
Approximately 59,000 others were ordinary seamen, some were recruits
in training or specialists striking for ratings, but most were
assigned to the large segregated labor units and base companies.[3-139]
Here again integrated service affected only a small portion of the
Navy's black recruits during World War II.

                   [Footnote 3-138: Pers 215-BL, "Enlisted
                   Strength--U.S. Navy," 26 Jul 46, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 3-139: Pers 215-12-EL, "Number of Negro
                   Enlisted Personnel on Active Duty," 29 Nov 45
                   (statistics as of 31 Oct 45), BuPersRecs.]

Furthermore, a real chance existed that even this limited progress
might prove to be temporary. On V-J day the Regular Navy had 7,066
Negroes, just 2.14 percent of its total.[3-140] Many of these men could
be expected to stay in the postwar Navy, but the overwhelming majority
of them were in the separate Steward's Branch and would remain there
after the war. Black reservists in the wartime general service would
have to compete with white regulars and reservists for the severely
reduced number of postwar billets and commissions in a Navy in which
almost all members would have to be regulars. Although Lester Granger
had stressed this point in conversations with James Forrestal, neither
the secretary nor the Bureau of Naval Personnel took the matter up
before the end of the war. In short, after setting in motion a number
of far-reaching reforms during the war, the Navy seemed in some danger
of settling back into its old prewar pattern.

                   [Footnote 3-140: Pers-215-BL, "Enlisted
                   Strength--U.S. Navy," 26 Jul 46.]

Still, the fact that reforms had been attempted in a service that had
so recently excluded Negroes was evidence of progress. Secretary
Forrestal was convinced that the Navy's hierarchy had swung behind the
principle of equal treatment and opportunity, but the real test was
yet to come. Hope for a permanent change in the Navy's racial
practices lay in convincing its tradition-minded officers that an
integrated general service with a representative share of black
officers and men was a matter of military efficiency.

CHAPTER 4                                                          (p. 099)

World War II: The Marine Corps and the Coast Guard

The racial policies of both the Marine Corps and the Coast Guard were
substantially the same as the Navy policy from which they were
derived, but all three differed markedly from each other in their
practical application. The differences arose partly from the
particular mission and size of these components of the wartime Navy,
but they were also governed by the peculiar legal relationship that
existed in time of war between the Navy and the other two services.

By law the Marine Corps was a component of the Department of the Navy,
its commandant subordinate to the Secretary of the Navy in such
matters as manpower and budget and to the Chief of Naval Operations in
specified areas of military operations. In the conduct of ordinary
business, however, the commandant was independent of the Navy's
bureaus, including the Bureau of Naval Personnel. The Marine Corps had
its own staff personnel officer, similar to the Army's G-1, and, more
important for the development of racial policy, it had a Division of
Plans and Policies that was immediately responsible to the commandant
for manpower planning. In practical terms, the Marine Corps of World
War II was subject to the dictates of the Secretary of the Navy for
general policy, and the secretary's 1942 order to enlist Negroes
applied equally to the Marine Corps, which had no Negroes in its
ranks, and to the Navy, which did. At the same time, the letters and
directives of the Chief of Naval Operations and the Chief of Naval
Personnel implementing the secretary's order did not apply to the
corps. In effect, the Navy Department imposed a racial policy on the
corps, but left it to the commandant to carry out that policy as he
saw fit. These legal distinctions would become more important as the
Navy's racial policy evolved in the postwar period.

The Coast Guard's administrative position had early in the war become
roughly analogous to that of the Marine Corps. At all times a branch
of the armed forces, the Coast Guard was normally a part of the
Treasury Department. A statute of 1915, however, provided that during
wartime or "whenever the President may so direct" the Coast Guard
would operate as part of the Navy, subject to the orders of the
Secretary of the Navy.[4-1] At the direction of the President, the Coast
Guard passed to the control of the Secretary of the Navy on 1 November
1941 and so remained until 1 January 1946.[4-2]

                   [Footnote 4-1: 38 _U.S. Stat. at L_ (1915), 800-2.
                   Since 1967 the Coast Guard has been a part of the
                   Department of Transportation.]

                   [Footnote 4-2: Executive Order 8928, 1 Nov 41. A
                   similar transfer under provisions of the 1915 law
                   was effected during World War I. The service's
                   predecessor organizations, the Revenue Marine,
                   Revenue Service, Revenue-Marine Service, and the
                   Revenue Cutter Service, had also provided the Navy
                   with certain specified ships and men during all
                   wars since the Revolution.]

At first a division under the Chief of Naval Operations, the       (p. 100)
headquarters of the Coast Guard was later granted considerably more
administrative autonomy. In March 1942 Secretary Knox carefully
delineated the Navy's control over the Coast Guard, making the Chief
of Naval Operations responsible for the operation of those Coast Guard
ships, planes, and stations assigned to the naval commands for the
"proper conduct of the war," but specifying that assignments be made
with "due regard for the needs of the Coast Guard," which must
continue to carry out its regular functions. Such duties as providing
port security, icebreaking services, and navigational aid remained
under the direct control and supervision of the commandant, the local
naval district commander exercising only "general military control" of
these activities in his area.[4-3] Important to the development of
racial policy was the fact that the Coast Guard also retained
administrative control of the recruitment, training, and assignment of
personnel. Like the Marine Corps, it also had a staff agency for
manpower planning, the Commandant's Advisory Board, and one for
administration, the Personnel Division, independent of the Navy's
bureaus.[4-4] In theory, the Coast Guard's manpower policy, at least in
regard to those segments of the service that operated directly under
Navy control, had to be compatible with the racial directives of the
Navy's Bureau of Naval Personnel. In practice, the Commandant of the
Coast Guard, like his colleague in the Marine Corps, was left free to
develop his own racial policy in accordance with the general
directives of the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval

                   [Footnote 4-3: Ltr, SecNav to CominCh-CNO, 30 Mar 42,
                   sub: Administration of Coast Guard When Operating
                   Under Navy Department, quoted in Furer,
                   _Administration of the Navy Department in World War
                   II_, pp. 608-10.]

                   [Footnote 4-4: For a survey of the organization and
                   functions of the U.S. Coast Guard Personnel
                   Division, see USCG Historical Section, _Personnel_,
                   The Coast Guard at War, 25:16-27.]

_The First Black Marines_

These legal distinctions had no bearing on the Marine Corps' prewar
racial policy, which was designed to continue its tradition of
excluding Negroes. The views of the commandant, Maj. Gen. Thomas
Holcomb, on the subject of race were well known in the Navy. Negroes
did not have the "right" to demand a place in the corps, General
Holcomb told the Navy's General Board when that body was considering
the expansion of the corps in April 1941. "If it were a question of
having a Marine Corps of 5,000 whites or 250,000 Negroes, I would
rather have the whites."[4-5] He was more circumspect but no more
reasonable when he explained the racial exclusion publicly. Black
enlistment was impractical, he told one civil rights group, because
the Marine Corps was too small to form racially separate units.[4-6]
And, if some Negroes persisted in trying to volunteer after Pearl
Harbor, there was another deterrent, described by at least one senior
recruiter: the medical examiner was cautioned to disqualify the black
applicant during the enlistment physical.[4-7]

                   [Footnote 4-5: Quoted in Navy General Board, "Plan
                   for the Expansion of the USMC," 18 Apr 41 (No.
                   139), Recs of Gen Bd, OpNavArchives.]

                   [Footnote 4-6: Ltr, CMC to Harold E. Thompson,
                   Northern Phila. Voters League, 6 Aug 40, AQ-17,
                   Central Files, Headquarters, USMC (hereafter MC

                   [Footnote 4-7: Memo, Off in Charge, Eastern
                   Recruiting Div, for CMC, 16 Jan 42, sub: Colored
                   Applicants for Enlistment in the Marine Corps, WP
                   11991, MC files.]

Such evasions could no longer be practiced after President         (p. 101)
Roosevelt decided to admit Negroes to the general service of the naval
establishment. According to Secretary Knox the President wanted the
Navy to handle the matter "in a way that would not inject into the
whole personnel of the Navy the race question."[4-8] Under pressure to
make some move, General Holcomb proposed the enlistment of 1,000
Negroes in the volunteer Marine Corps Reserve for duty in the general
service in a segregated composite defense battalion. The battalion
would consist primarily of seacoast and antiaircraft artillery, a
rifle company with a light tank platoon, and other weapons units and
components necessary to make it a self-sustaining unit.[4-9] To inject
the subject of race "to a less degree than any other known scheme,"
the commandant planned to train the unit in an isolated camp and
assign it to a remote station.[4-10] The General Board accepted this
proposal, explaining to Secretary Knox that Negroes could not be used
in the Marine Corps' amphibious units because the inevitable
replacement and redistribution of men in combat would "prevent the
maintenance of necessary segregation." The board also mentioned that
experienced noncommissioned officers were at a premium and that
diverting them to train a black unit would be militarily

                   [Footnote 4-8: Memo, SecNav for Adm W. R. Sexton, 14
                   Feb 42, P14-4, Recs of Gen Bd, OpNavArchives. The
                   quotation is from the Knox Memo and is not
                   necessarily in the President's exact words.]

                   [Footnote 4-9: In devising plans for the composite
                   battalion the Director of Plans and Policies
                   rejected a proposal to organize a black raider
                   battalion. The author of the proposal had explained
                   that Negroes would make ideal night raiders "as no
                   camouflage of faces and hands would be necessary."
                   Memo, Col Thomas Gale for Exec Off, Div of Plans
                   and Policies, 19 Feb 42, AO-250, MC files.]

                   [Footnote 4-10: Memo, CMC for Chmn of Gen Bd, 27 Feb
                   42, sub: Enlistment of Men of the Colored Race in
                   Other Than Messman Branch, AO-172, MC files.]

                   [Footnote 4-11: Memo, Chmn of Gen Bd for SecNav, 20
                   Mar 42, sub: Enlistment of Men of the Colored Race
                   in Other Than Messman Branch (G.B. No. 421), Recs
                   of Gen Bd, OpNavArchives.]

Although the enlistment of black marines began on 1 June 1942, the
corps placed the reservists on inactive status until a training-size
unit could be enlisted and segregated facilities built at Montford
Point on the vast training reservation at Marine Barracks, New River
(later renamed Camp Lejeune), North Carolina.[4-12] On 26 August the
first contingent of Negroes began recruit training as the 51st
Composite Defense Battalion at Montford Point under the command of
Col. Samuel A. Woods, Jr. The corps had wanted to avoid having to
train men as typists, truck drivers, and the like--specialist skills
needed in the black composite unit. Instead, the commandant
established black quotas for three of the four recruiting divisions,
specifying that more than half the recruits qualify in the needed

                   [Footnote 4-12: Memo, CMC for District Cmdrs, All
                   Reserve Districts Except 10th, 14th, 15th, and
                   16th, 25 May 42, sub: Enlistment of Colored
                   Personnel in the Marine Corps, Historical and
                   Museum Division, Headquarters, U.S. Marine Corps
                   (hereafter Hist Div, HQMC). For further discussion
                   of the training of black marines and other matters
                   pertaining to Negroes in the Marine Corps, see Shaw
                   and Donnelly, _Blacks in the Marine Corps_. This
                   volume by the corps' chief historian and the former
                   chief of its history division's reference branch is
                   the official account.]

                   [Footnote 4-13: Memo, CMC for Off in Charge, Eastern,
                   Central, and Southern Recruiting Divs, 15 May 42,
                   sub: Enlistment of Colored Personnel in the Marine
                   Corps, AP-54 (1535), MC files. The country was
                   divided into four recruiting divisions, but black
                   enlistment was not opened in the west coast
                   division on the theory that there would be few
                   volunteers and sending them to North Carolina would
                   be unjustifiably expensive. Only white marines were
                   trained in California. This circumstance brought
                   complaints from civil rights groups. See, for
                   example, Telg, Walter White to SecNav, 14 Jul 42,
                   AP-361, MC files.]

[Illustration: MARINES OF THE 51ST DEFENSE BATTALION _await turn on
rifle range, Montford Point, 1942_.]

The enlistment process proved difficult. The commandant reported   (p. 102)
that despite predictions of black educators to the contrary the corps
had netted only sixty-three black recruits capable of passing the
entrance examinations during the first three weeks of recruitment.[4-14]
As late as 29 October the Director of Plans and Policies was reporting
that only 647 of the scheduled 1,200 men (the final strength figure
decided upon for the all-black unit) had been enlisted. He blamed the
occupational qualifications for the delay, adding that it was doubtful
"if even white recruits" could be procured under such strictures. The
commandant approved his plan for enlisting Negroes without specific
qualifications and instituting a modified form of specialist training.
Black marines would not be sent to specialist schools "unless there is
a colored school available," but instead Marine instructors would be
sent to teach in the black camp.[4-15] In the end many of these first
black specialists received their training in nearby Army

                   [Footnote 4-14: Memo, CMC for SecNav, 23 Jun 42,
                   AP-54 (1535-110), MC files.]

                   [Footnote 4-15: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 29 Oct 42, sub: Enlistment of Colored
                   Personnel in the Marine Corps Reserve, AO-320, MC

Segregation was the common practice in all the services in 1942,   (p. 103)
as indeed it was throughout much of American society. If this practice
appeared somehow more restrictive in the Marine Corps than it did in
the other services, it was because of the corps' size and traditions.
The illusion of equal treatment and opportunity could be kept alive in
the massive Army and Navy with their myriad units and military
occupations; it was much more difficult to preserve in the small and
specialized Marine Corps. Given segregation, the Marine Corps was
obliged to put its few black marines in its few black units, whose
small size limited the variety of occupations and training

Yet the size of the corps would undergo considerable change, and on
balance it was the Marine Corps' tradition of an all-white service,
not its restrictive size, that proved to be the most significant
factor influencing racial policy. Again unlike the Army and Navy, the
Marine Corps lacked the practical experience with black recruits that
might have countered many of the alarums and prejudices concerning
Negroes that circulated within the corps during the war. The
importance of this experience factor comes out in the reminiscences of
a senior official in the Division of Plans and Policies who looked
back on his 1942 experiences:

     It just scared us to death when the colored were put on it. I
     went over to Selective Service and saw Gen. Hershey, and he
     turned me over to a lieutenant colonel [Campbell C.
     Johnson]--that was in April--and he was one grand person. I told
     him, "Eleanor [Mrs. Roosevelt] says we gotta take in Negroes, and
     we are just scared to death, we've never had any in, we don't
     know how to handle them, we are afraid of them." He said, "I'll
     do my best to help you get good ones. I'll get the word around
     that if you want to die young, join the Marines. So anybody that
     joins is got to be pretty good!" And it was the truth. We got
     some awfully good Negroes.[4-16]

                   [Footnote 4-16: USMC Oral History Interview, General
                   Ray A. Robinson (USMC Ret.), 18-19 Mar 68, p. 136,
                   Hist Div, HQMC.]

Unfortunately for the peace of mind of the Marine Corps' personnel
planner, the conception of a carefully limited and isolated black
contingent was quickly overtaken by events. The President's decision
to abolish volunteer enlistments for the armed forces in December 1942
and the subsequent establishment of a black quota for each component
of the naval establishment meant that in the next year some 15,400
more Negroes, 10 percent of all Marine Corps inductees, would be added
to the corps.[4-17] As it turned out the monthly draft calls were never
completely filled, and by December 1943 only 9,916 of the scheduled
black inductions had been completed, but by the time the corps stopped
drafting men in 1946 it had received over 16,000 Negroes through the
Selective Service. Including the 3,129 black volunteers, the number of
Negroes in the Marine Corps during World War II totaled 19,168,
approximately 4 percent of the corps' enlisted men.

                   [Footnote 4-17: Memo, CMC for Chief, NavPers, 1 Apr
                   43, sub: Negro Registrants To Be Inducted Into the
                   Marine Corps, AO-320-2350-60, MC files.]

The immediate problem of what to do with this sudden influx of Negroes
was complicated by the fact that many of the draftees, the product of
vastly inferior schooling, were incompetent. Where black volunteers
had to pass the corps' rigid entrance requirements, draftees had   (p. 104)
only to meet the lowest selective service standards. An exact
breakdown of black Marine Corps draftees by General Classification
Test category is unavailable for the war period. A breakdown of some
15,000 black enlisted men, however, was compiled ten weeks after V-J
day and included many of those drafted during the war. Category I
represents the most gifted men:[4-18]

  Category:      I      II     III      IV       V
  Percentage:   0.11   5.14   24.08   59.63    11.04

                   [Footnote 4-18: Memo, Dir, Pers, for Dir, Div of
                   Plans and Policies, 21 Jul 48, sub: GCT Percentile
                   Equivalents for Colored Enlisted Marines in
                   November 1945 and in March 1948, sub file: Negro
                   Marines--Test and Testing, Ref Br, Hist Div, HQMC.]

If these figures are used as a base, slightly more than 70 percent of
all black enlisted men, more than 11,000, scored in the two lowest
categories, a meaningless racial statistic in terms of actual numbers
because the smaller percentage of the much larger group of white
draftees in these categories gave the corps more whites than blacks in
groups IV and V. Yet the statistic was important because low-scoring
Negroes, unlike the low-scoring whites who could be scattered
throughout the corps' units, had to be concentrated in a small number
of segregated units to the detriment of those units. Conversely, the
corps had thousands of Negroes with the mental aptitude to serve in
regular combat units and a small but significant number capable of
becoming officers. Yet these men were denied the opportunity to serve
in combat or as officers because the segregation policy dictated that
Negroes could not be assigned to a regular combat unit unless all the
billets in that unit as well as all replacements were black--a
practical impossibility during World War II.

Segregation, not the draft, forced the Marine Corps to devise new jobs
and units to absorb the black inductees. A plan circulated in the
Division of Plans and Policies called for more defense battalions, a
branch for messmen, and the assignment of large black units to local
bases to serve as chauffeurs, messengers, clerks, and janitors.
Referring to the janitor assignment, one division official admitted
that "I don't think we can get away with this type duty."[4-19] In the
end the Negroes were not used as chauffeurs, messengers, clerks, and
janitors. Instead the corps placed a "maximum practical number" in
defense battalions. The number of these units, however, was limited,
as Maj. Gen. Harry Schmidt, the acting commandant, explained in March
1943, by the number of black noncommissioned officers available. Black
noncommissioned officers were necessary, he continued, because in the
Army's experience "in nearly all cases to intermingle colored and
white enlisted personnel in the same organization" led to "trouble and
disorder."[4-20] Demonstrating his own and the Marine Corps' lack of
experience with black troops, the acting commandant went on to provide
his commanders with some rather dubious advice based on what he
perceived as the Army's experience: black units should be commanded by
men "who thoroughly knew their [Negroes'] individual and racial    (p. 105)
characteristics and temperaments," and Negroes should be assigned to
work they preferred.

                   [Footnote 4-19: Unsigned Memo for Dir, Plans and
                   Policies Div, 26 Dec 42, sub: Colored Personnel,
                   with attached handwritten note, AO-320, MC files.]

                   [Footnote 4-20: Ltr, Actg CMC to Major Cmdrs, 20 Mar
                   43, sub: Colored Personnel, AP-361, MC files.]


The points emphasized in General Schmidt's letter to Marine
commanders--a rigid insistence on racial separation and a willingness
to work for equal treatment of black troops--along with an
acknowledgement of the Marine Corps' lack of experience with racial
problems were reflected in Commandant Holcomb's basic instruction on
the subject of Negroes two months later: "All Marines are entitled to
the same rights and privileges under Navy Regulations," and black
marines could be expected "to conduct themselves with propriety and
become a credit to the Marine Corps." General Holcomb was aware of the
adverse effect of white noncommissioned officers on black morale, and
he wanted them removed from black units as soon as possible. Since the
employment of black marines was in itself a "new departure," he wanted
to be informed periodically on how Negroes adapted to Marine Corps
life, what their off-duty experience was with recreational facilities,
and what their attitude was toward other marines.[4-21]

                   [Footnote 4-21: Ltr of Instruction No. 421, CMC to
                   All CO's, 14 May 43, sub: Colored Personnel, MC

[Illustration: D-DAY ON PELELIU. _Support troops participate in the
landing of 1st Marine Division._]

These were generally progressive sentiments, evidence of the
commandant's desire to provide for the peaceful assimilation and
advancement of Negroes in the corps. Unfortunately for his reputation
among the civil rights advocates, General Holcomb seemed overly
concerned with certain social implications of rank and color.      (p. 106)
Undeterred by a lack of personal experience with interracial command,
he was led in the name of racial harmony to an unpopular conclusion.
"It is essential," he told his commanders, "that in no case shall
there be colored noncommissioned officers senior to white men in the
same unit, and desirable that few, if any be of the same rank."[4-22]
He was particularly concerned with the period when white instructors
and noncommissioned officers were being phased out of black units. He
wanted Negroes up for promotion to corporal transferred, before
promotion, out of any unit that contained white corporals.

                   [Footnote 4-22: Ibid. The subject of widespread
                   public complaint when its existence became known
                   after the war, the instruction was rescinded. See
                   Memo, J. A. Stuart, Div of Plans and Policies, for
                   CMC, 14 Feb 46, sub: Ltr of Inst #421 Revocation
                   of, AO-1, copy in Ref Br, Hist Div, HQMC.]


The Division of Plans and Policies tried to follow these strictures as
it set about organizing the new black units. Job preference had
already figured in the organization of the new Messman's Branch
established in January 1943. At that time Secretary Knox had approved
the reconstitution of the corps' all-white Mess Branch as the
Commissary Branch and the organization of an all-black Messman's
Branch along the lines of the Navy's Steward's Branch.[4-23] In    (p. 107)
authorizing the new branch, which was quickly redesignated the
Steward's Branch to conform to the Navy model, Secretary Knox
specified that the members must volunteer for such duty. Yet the
corps, under pressure to produce large numbers of stewards in the
early months of the war, showed so little faith in the volunteer
system that Marine recruiters were urged to induce half of all black
recruits to sign on as stewards.[4-24] Original plans called for the
assignment of one steward for every six officers, but the lack of
volunteers and the needs of the corps quickly caused this estimate to
be scaled down.[4-25] By 5 July 1944 the Steward's Branch numbered (p. 108)
1,442 men, roughly 14 percent of the total black strength of the
Marine Corps.[4-26] It remained approximately this size for the rest
of the war.

                   [Footnote 4-23: Memo, CMC for SecNav, 30 Dec 42, sub:
                   Change of Present Mess Branch in the Marine Corps
                   to Commissary Branch and Establishment of a
                   Messman's Branch and Ranks Therein, with SecNav
                   approval indicated, AO-363-311. See also Memo, CMC
                   for Chief, NavPers, 30 Dec 42, sub: Request for
                   Allotment to MC..., A-363; Memo, Dir, Div of Plans
                   and Policies, for CMC, 23 Nov 42, sub: Organization
                   of Mess Branch (Colored), AO-283. All in MC files.]

                   [Footnote 4-24: Memo, Dir of Recruiting for Off in
                   Charge, Eastern Recruiting Div et al., 25 Feb 42,
                   sub: Messman Branch, AP-361-1390; Memo, CMC for
                   SecNav, 3 Apr 43, sub: Change in Designation...,
                   AO-340-1930. Both in MC files.]

                   [Footnote 4-25: Memo, Dir, Plans and Policies, for
                   CMC, 18 May 43, sub: Assignment of Steward's Branch
                   Personnel, AO-371, MC files.]

                   [Footnote 4-26: Memo, H. E. Dunkelberger, M-1 Sec,
                   Div of Plans and Policies, for Asst CMC, 5 Jul 44,
                   sub: Steward's Branch Personnel, AO-660, MC files.]

The admonition to employ black marines to the maximum extent practical
in defense battalions was based on the mobilization planners' belief
that each of these battalions, with its varied artillery, infantry,
and armor units, would provide close to a thousand black marines with
varied assignments in a self-contained, segregated unit. But the
realities of the Pacific war and the draft quickly rendered these
plans obsolete. As the United States gained the ascendancy, the need
for defense battalions rapidly declined, just as the need for special
logistical units to move supplies in the forward areas increased. The
corps had originally depended on its replacement battalions to move
the mountains of supply involved in amphibious assaults, but the
constant flow of replacements to battlefield units and the need for
men with special logistical skill had led in the middle of the war to
the organization of pioneer battalions. To supplement the work of
these shore party units and to absorb the rapidly growing number of
black draftees, the Division of Plans and Policies eventually created
fifty-one separate depot companies and twelve separate ammunition
companies manned by Negroes. The majority of these new units served in
base and service depots, handling ammunition and hauling supplies, but
a significant number of them also served as part of the shore parties
attached to the divisional assault units. These units often worked
under enemy fire and on occasion joined in the battle as they moved
supplies, evacuated the wounded, and secured the operation's supply
dumps.[4-27] Nearly 8,000 men, about 40 percent of the corps' black
enlistment, served in this sometimes hazardous combat support duty.
The experience of these depot and ammunition companies provided the
Marine Corps with an interesting irony. In contrast to Negroes in the
other services, black marines trained for combat were never so used.
Those trained for the humdrum labor tasks, however, found themselves
in the thick of the fighting on Saipan, Peleliu, Iwo Jima, and
elsewhere, suffering combat casualties and winning combat citations
for their units.

                   [Footnote 4-27: Shaw and Donnelly, _Blacks in the
                   Marine Corps_, pp. 29-46. See also, HQMC Div of
                   Public Information, "The Negro Marine, 1942-1945,"
                   Ref Br, Hist Div, HQMC.]

The increased allotment of black troops entering the corps and the
commandant's call for replacing all white noncommissioned officers
with blacks as quickly as they could be sufficiently trained caused
problems for the black combat units. The 51st Defense Battalion in
particular suffered many vicissitudes in its training and deployment.
The 51st was the first black unit in the Marine Corps, a doubtful
advantage considering the frequent reorganization and rapid troop
turnover that proved its lot. At first the reception and training of
all black inductees fell to the battalion, but in March 1943 a
separate Headquarters Company, Recruit Depot Battalion, was organized
at Montford Point.[4-28] Its cadre was drawn from the 51st, as     (p. 109)
were the noncommissioned officers and key personnel of the newly
organized ammunition and depot companies and the black security
detachments organized at Montford Point and assigned to the Naval
Ammunition Depot, McAlester, Oklahoma, and the Philadelphia Depot of

                   [Footnote 4-28: Memo, CO, 51st Def Bn, for Dir, Plans
                   and Policies, 29 Jan 43, sub: Colored Personnel,
                   Ref Br, Hist Div, HQMC.]

In effect, the 51st served as a specialist training school for the
black combat units. When the second black defense battalion, the 52d,
was organized in December 1943 its cadre, too, was drawn from the
51st. By the time the 51st was actually deployed, it had been
reorganized several times and many of its best men had been siphoned
off as leaders for new units. To compound these losses of experienced
men, the battalion was constantly receiving large influxes of
inexperienced and educationally deficient draftees and sometimes there
was infighting among its officers.[4-29]

                   [Footnote 4-29: For charges and countercharges on the
                   part of the 51st's commanders, see Hq, 51st Defense
                   Bn, "Record of Proceedings of an Investigation," 27
                   Jun 44; Memo, Lt Col Floyd A. Stephenson for CMC,
                   30 May 44, sub: Fifty-First Defense Battalion,
                   Fleet Marine Force, with indorsements and
                   attachments; Memo, CO, 51st Def Bn, for CMC, 20 Jul
                   44, sub: Combat Efficiency, Fifty-First Defense
                   Battalion. All in Ref Br, Hist Div, HQMC.]

Training for black units only emphasized the rigid segregation
enforced in the Marine Corps. After their segregated eight-week
recruit training, the men were formed into companies at Montford
Point; those assigned to the defense battalions were sent for
specialist training in the weapons and equipment employed in such
units, including radar, motor transport, communications, and artillery
fire direction. Each of the ammunition companies sent sixty of its men
to special ammunition and camouflage schools where they would be
promoted to corporal when they completed the course. In contrast to
the depot companies and elements of the defense battalions, the
ammunition units would have white staff sergeants as ordnance
specialists throughout the war. This exception to the rule of black
noncommissioned officers for black units was later justified on the
grounds that such units required experienced supervisors to emphasize
and enforce safety regulations.[4-30] On the whole specialist training
was segregated; whenever possible even the white instructors were
rapidly replaced by blacks.

                   [Footnote 4-30: Shaw and Donnelly, _Blacks in the
                   Marine Corps_, p. 31.]

Before being sent overseas, black units underwent segregated field
training, although the length of this training varied considerably
according to the type of unit. Depot companies, for example, were
labor units pure and simple, organized to perform simple tasks, and
many of them were sent to the Pacific less than two weeks after
activation. In contrast, the 51st Defense Battalion spent two months
in hard field training, scarcely enough considering the number of raw
recruits, totally unfamiliar with gunnery, that were being fed
regularly into what was essentially an artillery battalion.

[Illustration: GUN CREW OF THE 52D DEFENSE BATTALION _on duty, Central
Pacific, 1945_.]

The experience of the two defense battalions demonstrates that racial
consideration governed their eventual deployment just as it had
decided their organization. With no further strategic need for defense
battalions, the Marine Corps began to dismantle them in 1944, just as
the two black units became operational and were about to be sent to
the Central and South Pacific. The eighteen white defense          (p. 110)
battalions were subsequently reorganized as antiaircraft artillery
battalions for use with amphibious groups in the forward areas. While
the two black units were similarly reorganized, only they and one of
the white units retained the title of defense battalion. Their
deployment was also different. The policy of self-contained,
segregated service was, in the case of a large combat unit, best
followed in the rear areas, and the two black battalions were assigned
to routine garrison duties in the backwaters of the theater, the 51st
at Eniwetok in the Marshalls, the 52d at Guam. The latter unit saw
nearly half its combat-trained men detailed to work as stevedores. It
was not surprising that the morale in both units suffered.[4-31]

                   [Footnote 4-31: For a discussion of black morale in
                   the combat-trained units, see USMC Oral History
                   Interview, Obie Hall, 16 Aug 72, Ref Br, and John
                   H. Griffin, "My Life in the Marine Corps," Personal
                   Papers Collection, Museums Br. Both in Hist Div,

Even more explicitly racial was the warning of a senior combat
commander to the effect that the deployment of black depot units to
the Polynesian areas of the Pacific should be avoided. The Polynesians,
he explained, were delightful people, and their "primitively romantic"
women shared their intimate favors with one and all. Mixture with the
white race had produced "a very high-class half-caste," mixture with
the Chinese a "very desirable type," but the union of black and
"Melanesian types ... produces a very undesirable citizen." The    (p. 111)
Marine Corps, Maj. Gen. Charles F. B. Price continued, had a special
moral obligation and a selfish interest in protecting the population
of American Samoa, especially, from intimacy with Negroes; he strongly
urged therefore that any black units deployed to the Pacific should be
sent to Micronesia where they "can do no racial harm."[4-32]

                   [Footnote 4-32: Ltr, Maj Gen Charles F. B. Price to
                   Brig Gen Keller E. Rockey, 24 Apr 43; 26132, Ref
                   Br, Hist Div, HQMC.]

General Price must have been entertaining second thoughts, since two
depot companies were already en route to Samoa at his request.
Nevertheless, because of the "importance" of his reservations the
matter was brought to the attention of the Director of Plans and
Policies.[4-33] As a result, the assignment of the 7th and 8th Depot
Companies to Samoa proved short-lived. Arriving on 13 October 1943,
they were redeployed to the Ellice Islands in the Micronesia group the
next day.

                   [Footnote 4-33: Brig Gen Rockey for S-C files, 4 Jun
                   43, Memo, G. F. Good, Div of Plans and Policies, to
                   Dir, Div of Plans and Policies, 3 Sep 43. Both
                   attached to Price Ltr, see n. 32 above.]

Thanks to the operations of the ammunition and depot companies, a
large number of black marines, serving in small, efficient labor
units, often exposed to enemy fire, made a valuable contribution. That
so many black marines participated, at least from time to time, in the
fighting may explain in part the fact that relatively few racial
incidents took place in the corps during the war. But if many Negroes
served in forward areas, they were all nevertheless severely
restricted in opportunity. Black marines were excluded from the corps'
celebrated combat divisions and its air arm. They were also excluded
from the Women's Reserve, and not until the last months of the war did
the corps accept its first black officer candidates. Marine spokesmen
justified the latter exclusion on the grounds that the corps lacked
facilities--that is, segregated facilities--for training black

                   [Footnote 4-34: Ltr, Phillips D. Carleton, Asst to
                   Dir, MC Reserve, to Welford Wilson, U.S. Employment
                   Service, 27 Mar 43, AF-464, MC files. For more on
                   black officers in the Marine Corps, see Chapter 9.]

These exclusions did not escape the attention of the civil rights
spokesmen who took their demands to Secretary Knox and the White
House.[4-35] It was to little avail. With the exception of the officer
candidates in 1945, the separation of the races remained absolute, and
Negroes continued to be excluded from the main combat units of the
Marine Corps.

                   [Footnote 4-35: See, for example, Ltr, Mary Findley
                   Allen, Interracial Cmte of Federation of Churches,
                   to Mrs. Roosevelt (ca. 9 Mar 43); Memo, SecNav for
                   Rear Adm Jacobs, 22 Mar 43, P-25; Memo, R. C.
                   Kilmartin, Jr., Div of Plans and Policies, for Dir,
                   Div of Plans and Policies, 25 Sep 43, AO-434. All
                   in Hist Div, HQMC.]

Personal prejudices aside, the desire for social harmony and the fear
of the unknown go far toward explaining the Marine Corps' wartime
racial policy. A small, specialized, and racially exclusive
organization, the Marine Corps reacted to the directives of the
Secretary of the Navy and the necessities of wartime operation with a
rigid segregation policy, its black troops restricted to about 4
percent of its enlisted strength. A large part of this black strength
was assigned to labor units where Negroes performed valuable and
sometimes dangerous service in the Pacific war. Complaints from civil
rights advocates abounded, but neither protests nor the cost to
military efficiency of duplicating training facilities were of     (p. 112)
sufficient moment to overcome the sentiment against significant racial
change, which was kept to a minimum. Judged strictly in terms of
keeping racial harmony, the corps policy must be considered a success.
Ironically this very success prevented any modification of that policy
during the war.

CAROLINA, _ready surf boat for launching_.]

_New Roles for Black Coast Guardsmen_

The Coast Guard's pre-World War II experience with Negroes differed
from that of the other branches of the naval establishment. Unlike the
Marine Corps, the Coast Guard could boast a tradition of black
enlistment stretching far back into the previous century. Although it
shared this tradition with the Navy, the Coast Guard, unlike the Navy,
had always severely restricted Negroes both in terms of numbers
enlisted and jobs assigned. A small group of Negroes manned a
lifesaving station at Pea Island on North Carolina's outer banks.
Negroes also served as crewmen at several lighthouses and on tenders
in the Mississippi River basin; all were survivors of the transfer of
the Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in 1939. These guardsmen
were almost always segregated, although a few served in integrated
crews or even commanded large Coast Guard vessels and small harbor (p. 113)
craft.[4-36] They also served in the separate Steward's Branch,
although it might be argued that the small size of most Coast Guard
vessels integrated in fact men who were segregated in theory.

                   [Footnote 4-36: Capt. Michael Healy, who was of Irish
                   and Afro-American heritage, served as commanding
                   officer of the _Bear_ and other major Coast Guard
                   vessels. At his retirement in 1903 Healy was the
                   third ranking officer in the U.S. Revenue Cutter
                   Service. See Robert E. Greene, _Black Defenders of
                   America, 1775-1973_ (Chicago: Johnson Publishing
                   Company, 1974), p. 139. For pre-World War II
                   service of Negroes in the Coast Guard, see Truman
                   R. Strobridge, _Blacks and Lights: A Brief
                   Historical Survey of Blacks and the Old U.S.
                   Lighthouse Service_ (Office of the USCG Historian,
                   1975); H. Kaplan and J. Hunt, _This Is the United
                   States Coast Guard_ (Cambridge, Md.: Cornell
                   Maritime Press, 1971); Rodney H. Benson, "Romance
                   and Story of Pea Island Station," _U.S. Coast Guard
                   Magazine_ (November 1932):52; George Reasons and
                   Sam Patrick, "Richard Etheridge--Saved Sailors,"
                   Washington _Star_, November 13, 1971. For the
                   position of Negroes on the eve of World War II
                   induction, see Enlistment of Men of Colored Race
                   (201), 23 Jan 42, Hearings Before the General Board
                   of the Navy, 1942.]

[Illustration: COAST GUARD RECRUITS _at Manhattan Beach Training
Station, New York_.]

The lot of the black Coast Guardsman on a small cutter was not
necessarily a happy one. To a surprising extent the enlisted men of
the prewar Coast Guard were drawn from the eastern shore and outer
banks region of the Atlantic coast where service in the Coast Guard
had become a strong family tradition among a people whose attitude
toward race was rarely progressive. Although these men tolerated an
occasional small black Coast Guard crew or station, they might well
resist close service with individual Negroes. One commander reported
that racial harassment drove the solitary black in the prewar      (p. 114)
crew of the cutter _Calypso_ out of the service.[4-37]

                   [Footnote 4-37: Interv, author with Capt W. C.
                   Capron, USCGR, 20 Feb 75, CMH files.]

Coast Guard officials were obviously mindful of such potential
troubles when, at Secretary Knox's bidding, they joined in the General
Board's discussion of the expanded use of Negroes in the general
service in January 1942. In the name of the Coast Guard, Commander
Lyndon Spencer agreed with the objections voiced by the Navy and the
Marine Corps, adding that the Coast Guard problem was "enhanced
somewhat by the fact that our units are small and contacts between the
men are bound to be closer." He added that while the Coast Guard was
not "anxious to take on any additional problems at this time, if we
have to we will take some of them [Negroes]."[4-38]

                   [Footnote 4-38: Enlistment of Men of Colored Race
                   (201), 23 Jan 42, Hearings Before the General Board
                   of the Navy, 1942.]

When President Roosevelt made it clear that Negroes were to be
enlisted, Coast Guard Commandant Rear Adm. Russell R. Waesche had a
plan ready. The Coast Guard would enlist approximately five hundred
Negroes in the general service, he explained to the chairman of the
General Board, Vice Adm. Walton R. Sexton. Some three hundred of these
men would be trained for duty on small vessels, the rest for shore
duty under the captain of the port of six cities throughout the United
States. Although his plan made no provision for the training of black
petty officers, the commandant warned Admiral Sexton that 50 to 65
percent of the crew in these small cutters and miscellaneous craft
held such ratings, and it followed that Negroes would eventually be
allowed to try for such ratings.[4-39]

                   [Footnote 4-39: Memo, Cmdt, CG, for Adm Sexton, Chmn
                   of Gen Bd, 2 Feb 42, sub: Enlistment of Men of the
                   Colored Race in Other Than Messman Branch, attached
                   to Enlistment of Men of Colored Race (201), 23 Jan
                   42, Hearings Before the General Board of the Navy,

Further refining the plan for the General Board on 24 February,
Admiral Waesche listed eighteen vessels, mostly buoy tenders and
patrol boats, that would be assigned black crews. All black enlistees
would be sent to the Manhattan Beach Training Station, New York, for a
basic training "longer and more extensive" than the usual recruit
training. After recruit training the men would be divided into groups
according to aptitude and experience and would undergo advanced
instruction before assignment. Those trained for ship duty would be
grouped into units of a size to enable them to go aboard and assume
all but the petty officer ratings of the designated ships. The
commandant wanted to initiate this program with a group of 150 men. No
other Negroes would be enlisted until the first group had been trained
and assigned to duty for a period long enough to permit a survey of
its performance. Admiral Waesche warned that the whole program was
frankly new and untried and was therefore subject to modification as
it evolved.[4-40]

                   [Footnote 4-40: Memo, Cmdt, CG, for Chmn of Gen Bd,
                   24 Feb 42. sub: Enlistment of Men of the Colored
                   Race in Other Than Messman Branch, P-701, attached
                   to Recs of Gen Bd, No 421 (Serial 204-X),

The plan was a major innovation in the Coast Guard's manpower policy.
For the first time a number of Negroes, approximately 1.6 percent of
the guard's total enlisted complement, would undergo regular       (p. 115)
recruit and specialized training.[4-41] More than half would serve
aboard ship at close quarters with their white petty officers. The
rest would be assigned to port duty with no special provision for
segregated service. If the provision for segregating nonrated Coast
Guardsmen when they were at sea was intended to prevent the
development of racial antagonism, the lack of a similar provision for
Negroes ashore was puzzling; but whatever the Coast Guard's reasoning
in the matter, the General Board was obviously concerned with the
provisions for segregation in the plan. Its chairman told Secretary
Knox that the assignment of Negroes to the captains of the ports was a
practical use of Negroes in wartime, since these men could be
segregated in service units. But their assignment to small vessels,
Admiral Sexton added, meant that "the necessary segregation and
limitation of authority would be increasingly difficult to maintain"
and "opportunities for advancement would be few." For that reason, he
concluded, the employment of such black crews was practical but not

                   [Footnote 4-41: Unless otherwise noted, all
                   statistics on Coast Guard personnel are derived
                   from Memo, Chief, Statistical Services Div, for
                   Chief, Pub Information Div, 30 Mar 54, sub: Negro
                   Personnel, Officers and Enlisted; Number of, Office
                   of the USCG Historian; and "Coast Guard Personnel
                   Growth Chart," _Report of the Secretary of the
                   Navy-Fiscal 1945_, p. A-15.]

                   [Footnote 4-42: Memo, Chmn of Gen Bd for SecNav, 20
                   Mar 42, sub: Enlistment of Men of the Colored Race
                   in Other Than Messman Branch, G.B. No. 421 (Serial
                   204), OpNavArchives.]

The General Board was overruled, and the Coast Guard proceeded to
recruit its first group of 150 black volunteers, sending them to
Manhattan Beach for basic training in the spring of 1942. The small
size of the black general service program precluded the establishment
of a separate training station, but the Negroes were formed into a
separate training company at Manhattan Beach. While training classes
and other duty activities were integrated, sleeping and messing
facilities were segregated. Although not geographically separated as
were the black sailors at Camp Smalls or the marines at Montford
Point, the black recruits of the separate training company at
Manhattan Beach were effectively impressed with the reality of
segregation in the armed forces.[4-43]

                   [Footnote 4-43: Interv, author with Ira H. Coakley,
                   26 Feb 75, CMH files. Coakley was a recruit in one
                   of the first black training companies at Manhattan

After taking a four-week basic course, those who qualified were
trained as radiomen, pharmacists, yeomen, coxswains, fire controlmen,
or in other skills in the seaman branch.[4-44] Those who did not so
qualify were transferred for further training in preparation for their
assignment to the captains of the ports. Groups of black Coast
Guardsmen, for example, were sent to the Pea Island Station after
their recruit training for several weeks' training in beach duties.
Similar groups of white recruits were also sent to the Pea Island
Station for training under the black chief boatswain's mate in
charge.[4-45] By August 1942 some three hundred Negroes had been
recruited, trained, and assigned to general service duties under the
new program. At the same time the Coast Guard continued to recruit
hundreds of Negroes for its separate Steward's Branch.

                   [Footnote 4-44: For a brief account of the Coast
                   Guard recruit training program, see Nelson,
                   "Integration of the Negro," pp. 84-87, and "A Black
                   History in World War II," _Octagon_ (February
                   1972): 31-32.]

                   [Footnote 4-45: Log of Pea Island Station, 1942,
                   Berry Collection, USCG Headquarters.]

The commandant's program for the orderly induction and assignment  (p. 116)
of a limited number of black volunteers was, as in the case of the
Navy and Marine Corps, abruptly terminated in December 1942 when the
President ended volunteer enlistment for most military personnel. For
the rest of the war the Coast Guard, along with the Navy and Marine
Corps, came under the strictures of the Selective Service Act,
including its racial quota system. The Coast Guard, however, drafted
relatively few men, issuing calls for a mere 22,500 and eventually
inducting only 15,296. But more than 12 percent of its calls (2,500
men between February and November 1943) and 13 percent of all those
drafted (1,667) were Negro. On the average, 137 Negroes and 1,000
whites were inducted each month during 1943.[4-46] Just over 5,000
Negroes served as Coast Guardsmen in World War II.[4-47]

                   [Footnote 4-46: Selective Service System, _Special
                   Groups_, 2:196-201.]

                   [Footnote 4-47: Testimony of Coast Guard
                   Representatives Before the President's Committee on
                   Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed
                   Services, 18 Mar 49, p. 8.]

As it did for the Navy and Marine Corps, the sudden influx of Negroes
from Selective Service necessitated a revision of the Coast Guard's
personnel planning. Many of the new men could be assigned to steward
duties, but by January 1943 the Coast Guard already had some 1,500
stewards and the branch could absorb only half of the expected black
draftees. The rest would have to be assigned to the general
service.[4-48] And here the organization and mission of the Coast Guard,
far more so than those of the Navy and Marine Corps, militated against
the formation of large segregated units. The Coast Guard had no use
for the amorphous ammunition and depot companies and the large Seabee
battalions of the rest of the naval establishment. For that reason the
large percentage of its black seamen in the general service
(approximately 37 percent of all black Coast Guardsmen) made a
considerable amount of integration inevitable; the small number of
Negroes in the general service (1,300 men, less than 1 percent of the
total enlisted strength of the Coast Guard) made integration socially

                   [Footnote 4-48: USCG Public Relations Div, Negroes in
                   the U.S. Coast Guard, July 1943, Office of the USCG

The majority of black Coast Guardsmen were only peripherally concerned
with this wartime evolution of racial policy. Some 2,300 Negroes
served in the racially separate Steward's Branch, performing the same
duties in officer messes and quarters as stewards in the Navy and
Marine Corps. But not quite, for the size of Coast Guard vessels and
their crews necessitated the use of stewards at more important battle
stations. For example, a group of stewards under the leadership of a
black gun captain manned the three-inch gun on the afterdeck of the
cutter _Campbell_ and won a citation for helping to destroy an enemy
submarine in February 1943.[4-49] The Personnel Division worked to make
the separate Steward's Branch equal to the rest of the service in
terms of promotion and emoluments, and there were instances when
individual stewards successfully applied for ratings in general
service.[4-50] Again, the close quarters aboard Coast Guard        (p. 117)
vessels made the talents of stewards for general service duties more
noticeable to officers.[4-51] The evidence suggests, however, that the
majority of the black stewards, about 63 percent of all the Negroes in
the Coast Guard, continued to function as servants throughout the war.
As in the rest of the naval establishment, the stewards in the Coast
Guard were set apart not only by their limited service but also by
different uniforms and the fact that chief stewards were not regarded
as chief petty officers. In fact, the rank of chief steward was not
introduced until the war led to an enlargement of the Coast Guard.[4-52]

                   [Footnote 4-49: Ltr, Cmdt, USCG, to Cmdr, Third CG
                   District, 18 Jan 52, sub: ETHERIDGE, Louis C; ...
                   Award of the Bronze Star Medal, P15, BuPersRecs;
                   USCG Pub Rel Div, Negroes in the U.S. Coast Guard,
                   Jul 43.]

                   [Footnote 4-50: USCG Pers Bull 37-42, 31 Mar 43, sub:
                   Apprentice Seamen and Mess Attendants, Third Class,
                   Advancement of, USCG Cen Files 61A701.]

                   [Footnote 4-51: Intervs, author with Cmdt Carlton
                   Skinner, USCGR, 18 Feb 75, and with Capron, CMH

                   [Footnote 4-52: For discussion of limited service of
                   Coast Guard stewards, see Testimony of Coast Guard
                   Representatives Before the President's Committee on
                   Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed
                   Services, 18 Mar 49, pp. 27-31.]

[Illustration: STEWARDS AT BATTLE STATION _on the afterdeck of the
cutter Campbell_.]

The majority of black guardsmen in general service served ashore under
the captains of the ports, local district commanders, or at
headquarters establishments. Men in these assignments included
hundreds in security and labor details, but more and more served as
yeomen, radio operators, storekeepers, and the like. Other Negroes
were assigned to local Coast Guard stations, and a second all-black
station was organized during the war at Tiana Beach, New York. Still
others participated in the Coast Guard's widespread beach patrol   (p. 118)
operations. Organized in 1942 as outposts and lookouts against
possible enemy infiltration of the nation's extensive coastlines, the
patrols employed more than 11 percent of all the Coast Guard's
enlisted men. This large group included a number of horse and dog
patrols employing only black guardsmen.[4-53] In all, some 2,400 black
Coast Guardsmen served in the shore establishment.

                   [Footnote 4-53: USCG Historical Section, The Coast
                   Guard at War, 18:1-10, 36.]

[Illustration: SHORE LEAVE IN SCOTLAND. (_The distinctive uniform of
the Coast Guard steward is shown_.)]

The assignment of so many Negroes to shore duties created potential
problems for the manpower planners, who were under orders to rotate
sea and shore assignments periodically.[4-54] Given the many black
general duty seamen denied sea duty because of the Coast Guard's
segregation policy but promoted into the more desirable shore-based
jobs to the detriment of whites waiting for rotation to such
assignments, the possibility of serious racial trouble was obvious.

                   [Footnote 4-54: USCG Pers Bull 44-42, 25 Jun 42, sub:
                   Relief of Personnel Assigned to Seagoing Units,
                   USCG Cen Files 61A701.]

At least one officer in Coast Guard headquarters was concerned enough
to recommend that the policy be revised. With two years' service in
Greenland waters, the last year as executive officer of the USCGC
_Northland_, Lt. Carlton Skinner had firsthand experience with the
limitations of the Coast Guard's racial policy. While on the
_Northland_ Skinner had recommended that a skilled black mechanic, (p. 119)
then serving as a steward's mate, be awarded a motor mechanic petty
officer rating only to find his recommendation rejected on racial
grounds. The rating was later awarded after an appeal by Skinner, but
the incident set the stage for the young officer's later involvement
with the Coast Guard's racial traditions. On shore duty at Coast Guard
headquarters in June 1943, Skinner recommended to the commandant that
a group of black seamen be provided with some practical seagoing
experience under a sympathetic commander in a completely integrated
operation. He emphasized practical experience in an integrated
setting, he later revealed, because he was convinced that men with
high test scores and specialized training did not necessarily make the
best sailors, especially when their training was segregated. Skinner
envisioned a widespread distribution of Negroes throughout the Coast
Guard's seagoing vessels. His recommendation was no "experiment in
social democracy," he later stressed, but was a design for "an
efficient use of manpower to help win a war."[4-55]

                   [Footnote 4-55: Interv, author with Skinner; Ltr,
                   Skinner to author, 29 Jun 75, in CMH files. The
                   Skinner memorandum to Admiral Waesche, like so many
                   of the personnel policy papers of the U.S. Coast
                   Guard from the World War II period, cannot be
                   located. For a detailed discussion of Skinner's
                   motives and experiences, see his testimony before
                   the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment
                   and Opportunity in the Armed Services, 25 Apr 49,
                   pp. 1-24.]

Although Skinner's immediate superior forwarded the recommendation as
"disapproved," Admiral Waesche accepted the idea. In November 1943
Skinner found himself transferred to the USS _Sea Cloud_ (IX 99), a
patrol ship operating in the North Atlantic as part of Task Force 24
reporting on weather conditions from four remote locations in northern
waters.[4-56] The commandant also arranged for the transfer of black
apprentice seamen, mostly from Manhattan Beach, to the _Sea Cloud_ in
groups of about twenty men, gradually increasing the number of black
seamen in the ship's complement every time it returned to home
station. Skinner, promoted to lieutenant commander and made captain of
the _Sea Cloud_ on his second patrol, later decided that the
commandant had "figured he could take a chance on me and the _Sea

                   [Footnote 4-56: A unique vessel, the _Sea Cloud_ was
                   on loan to the government for the duration of the
                   war by its owner, the former Ambassador to Russia,
                   Joseph Davies. Davies charged a nominal sum and
                   extracted the promise that the vessel would be
                   restored to its prewar condition as one of the
                   world's most famous private yachts.]

                   [Footnote 4-57: Interv, author with Skinner.]

It was a chance well taken. Before decommissioning in November 1944,
the _Sea Cloud_ served on ocean weather stations off the coasts of
Greenland, Newfoundland, and France. It received no special treatment
and was subject to the same tactical, operating, and engineering
requirements as any other unit in the Navy's Atlantic Fleet. It passed
two Atlantic Fleet inspections with no deficiencies and was officially
credited with helping to sink a German submarine in June 1944. The
_Sea Cloud_ boasted a completely integrated operation, its 4 black
officers and some 50 black petty officers and seamen serving
throughout the ship's 173-man complement.[4-58] No problems of a racial
nature arose on the ship, although its captain reported that his crew
experienced some hostility in the various departments of the Boston
Navy Yard from time to time. Skinner was determined to provide truly
integrated conditions. He personally introduced his black officers (p. 120)
into the local white officers' club, and he saw to it that when his
men were temporarily detached for shore patrol duty they would go in
integrated teams. Again, all these arrangements were without sign of
racial incident.[4-59]

                   [Footnote 4-58: Log of the _Sea Cloud_ (IX 99),
                   Aug-Nov 44, NARS, Suitland.]

                   [Footnote 4-59: Interv, author with Skinner.]

_Skinner officiates at awards ceremony._]

It is difficult to assess the reasons for the commandant's decision to
organize an integrated crew. One senior personnel officer later
suggested that the _Sea Cloud_ was merely a public relations device
designed to still the mounting criticism by civil rights spokesmen of
the lack of sea duty for black Coast Guardsmen.[4-60] The public
relations advantage of an integrated ship operating in the war zone
must have been obvious to Admiral Waesche, although the Coast Guard
made no effort to publicize the _Sea Cloud_. In fact, this absence of
special attention had been recommended by Skinner in his original
proposal to the commandant. Such publicity, he felt, would disrupt the
military experiment and make it more difficult to apply generally the
experience gained.

                   [Footnote 4-60: Interv, author with Rear Adm R. T.
                   McElligott, 24 Feb 75, CMH files. For an example of
                   the Coast Guard reaction to civil rights criticism,
                   see Ltr, USCG Public Relations Officer to Douglas
                   Hall, Washington _Afro-American_, July 12, 1943, CG
                   051, Office of the USCG Historian.]

The success of the _Sea Cloud_ experiment did not lead to the
widespread integration implied in Commander Skinner's recommendation.
The only other extensively integrated Coast Guard vessel assigned to a
war zone was the destroyer escort _Hoquim_, operating in 1945 out  (p. 121)
of Adak in the Aleutian Islands, convoying shipping along the Aleutian
chain. Again, the commander of the ship was Skinner. Nevertheless the
practical reasons for Skinner's first recommendation must also have
been obvious to the commandant, and the evidence suggests that the
_Sea Cloud_ project was but one of a series of liberalizing moves the
Coast Guard made during the war, not only to still the criticism in
the black community but also to solve the problems created by the
presence of a growing number of black seamen in the general service.
There is also reason to believe that the Coast Guard's limited use of
racially mixed crews influenced the Navy's decision to integrate the
auxiliary fleet in 1945. Senior naval officials studied a report on
the _Sea Cloud_, and one of Secretary Forrestal's assistants consulted
Skinner on his experiences and their relation to greater manpower

                   [Footnote 4-61: Ltr, Skinner to author, 2 Jun 75.]

Coast Guard officers, on board the Sea Cloud_.]

Throughout the war the Coast Guard never exhibited the concern shown
by the other services for the possible disruptive effects if blacks
outranked whites. As the war progressed, more and more blacks advanced
into petty officer ranks; by August 1945 some 965 Negroes, almost a
third of their total number, were petty or warrant officers, many of
them in the general service. Places for these trained specialists in
any kind of segregated general service were extremely limited, and by
the last year of the war many black petty officers could be found
serving in mostly white crews and station complements. For example, a
black pharmacist, second class, and a signalman, third class, served
on the cutter _Spencer_, a black coxswain served on a cutter in the
Greenland patrol, and other black petty officers were assigned to
recruiting stations, to the loran program, and as instructors at the
Manhattan Beach Training Station.[4-62]

                   [Footnote 4-62: USCG Historical Section, The Coast
                   Guard at War, 23:53; Intervs, author with Lt Harvey
                   C. Russell, USCGR, 14 Feb 75, and with Capron, CMH

The position of instructor at Manhattan Beach became the usual avenue
to a commission for a Negro. Joseph C. Jenkins went from Manhattan
Beach to the officer candidate school at the Coast Guard Academy,
graduating as an ensign in the Coast Guard Reserve in April 1943,
almost a full year before Negroes were commissioned in the Navy.
Clarence Samuels, a warrant officer and instructor at Manhattan    (p. 122)
Beach, was commissioned as a lieutenant (junior grade) and assigned to
the _Sea Cloud_ in 1943. Harvey C. Russell was a signal instructor at
Manhattan Beach in 1944 when all instructors were declared eligible to
apply for commissions. At first rejected by the officer training
school, Russell was finally admitted at the insistence of his
commanding officer, graduated as an ensign, and was assigned to the
_Sea Cloud_.[4-63]

                   [Footnote 4-63: "A Black History in WWII," pp. 31-34.
                   For an account of Samuels' long career in the Coast
                   Guard, see Joseph Greco and Truman R. Strobridge,
                   "Black Trailblazer Has Colorful Past," _Fifth
                   Dimension_ (3d Quarter, 1973); see also Interv,
                   author with Russell.]

These men commanded integrated enlisted seamen throughout the rest of
the war. Samuels became the first Negro in this century to command a
Coast Guard vessel in wartime, first as captain of Lightship No. 115
and later of the USCGC _Sweetgum_ in the Panama Sea Frontier. Russell
was transferred from the integrated _Hoquim_ to serve as executive
officer on a cutter operating out of the Philippines in the western
Pacific, assuming command of the racially mixed crew shortly after the

At the behest of the White House, the Coast Guard also joined with the
Navy in integrating its Women's Reserve. In the fall of 1944 it
recruited five black women for the SPARS. Only token representation,
but understandable since the SPARS ceased all recruitment except for
replacements on 23 November 1944, just weeks after the decision to
recruit Negroes was announced. Nevertheless the five women trained at
Manhattan Beach and were assigned to various Coast Guard district
offices without regard to race.[4-64]

                   [Footnote 4-64: USCG Historical Section, The Coast
                   Guard at War, 25:25. See also Oral History
                   Interview, Dorothy C. Stratton, 24 Sep 70, Center
                   of Naval History.]

This very real progress toward equal treatment and opportunity for
Negroes in the Coast Guard must be assessed with the knowledge that
the progress was experienced by only a minuscule group. Negroes never
rose above 2.1 percent of the Coast Guard's wartime population, well
below the figures for the other services. This was because the other
services were forced to obtain draft-age men, including a significant
number of black inductees from Selective Service, whereas the Coast
Guard ceased all inductions in early 1944.

Despite their small numbers, however, the black Coast Guardsmen
enjoyed a variety of assignments. The different reception accorded
this small group of Negroes might, at least to some extent, be
explained by the Coast Guard's tradition of some black participation
for well over a century. To a certain extent this progress could also
be attributed to the ease with which the directors of a small
organization can reorder its policies.[4-65] But above all, the
different reception accorded Negroes in the Coast Guard was a small
organization's practical reaction to a pressing assimilation problem
dictated by the manpower policies common throughout the naval

                   [Footnote 4-65: For discussion of this point, see
                   Testimony of Coast Guard Representatives Before the
                   President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and
                   Opportunity in the Armed Services, 18 Mar 49, pp.

CHAPTER 5                                                          (p. 123)

A Postwar Search

The nation's military leaders and the leaders of the civil rights
movement were in rare accord at the end of World War II. They agreed
that despite considerable wartime improvement the racial policies of
the services had proved inadequate for the development of the full
military potential of the country's largest minority as well as the
efficient operation and management of the nation's armed forces.
Dissatisfaction with the current policy of the armed forces was a
spearpoint of the increasingly militant and powerful civil rights
movement, and this dissatisfaction was echoed to a great extent by the
services themselves. Intimate association with minority problems had
convinced the Army's Advisory Committee on Negro Troop Policies and
the Navy's Special Programs Unit that new policies had to be devised
and new directions sought. Confronted with the incessant demands of
the civil rights advocates and presented by their own staffs with
evidence of trouble, civilian leaders of the services agreed to review
the status of the Negro. As the postwar era opened, both the Army and
the Navy were beginning the interminable investigations that augured a
change in policy.

Unfortunately, the services and the civil rights leaders had somewhat
different ends in mind. Concerned chiefly with military efficiency but
also accustomed to racial segregation or exclusion, most military
leaders insisted on a rigid appraisal of the performance of segregated
units in the war and ignored the effects of segregation on that
performance. Civil rights advocates, on the other hand, seeing an
opportunity to use the military as a vehicle for the extension of
social justice, stressed the baneful effects of segregation on the
black serviceman's morale. They were inclined to ignore the
performance of the large segregated units and took issue with the
premise that desegregation of the armed forces in advance of the rest
of American society would threaten the efficient execution of the
services' military mission. Neither group seemed able to appreciate
the other's real concerns, and their contradictory conclusions
promised a renewal of the discord in their wartime relationship.

_Black Demands_

World War II marked the beginning of an important step in the
evolution of the civil rights movement. Until then the struggle for
racial equality had been sustained chiefly by the "talented tenth,"
the educated, middle-class black citizens who formed an economic and
political alliance with white supporters. Together they fought to  (p. 124)
improve the racial situation with some success in the courts, but with
little progress in the executive branch and still less in the
legislative. The efforts of men like W. E. B. DuBois, Walter White,
and Thurgood Marshall of the NAACP and Lester Granger of the National
Urban League were in the mainstream of the American reform movement,
which stressed an orderly petitioning of government for a redress of

But there was another facet to the American reform tradition, one that
stressed mass action and civil disobedience, and the period between
the March on Washington Movement in 1940 and the threat of a black
boycott of the draft in 1948 witnessed the beginnings of a shift in
the civil rights movement to this kind of reform tactic. The
articulate leaders of the prewar struggle were still active, and in
fact would make their greatest contribution in the fight that led to
the Supreme Court's pronouncement on school segregation in 1954. But
their quiet methods were already being challenged by A. Philip
Randolph and others who launched a sustained demand for equal
treatment and opportunity in the armed forces during the early postwar
period. Randolph and leaders of his persuasion relied not so much on
legal eloquence in their representations to the federal government as
on an understanding of bloc voting in key districts and the implicit
threat of civil disobedience. The civil rights campaign, at least in
the effort to end segregation in the armed forces, had the appearance
of a mass movement a full decade before a weary Rosa Parks boarded a
Montgomery bus and set off the all-embracing crusade of Martin Luther
King, Jr.

The growing political power of the Negro and the threat of mass action
in the 1940's were important reasons for the breakthrough on the color
front that began in the armed forces in the postwar period. For
despite the measure of good will and political acumen that
characterized his social programs, Harry S. Truman might never have
made the effort to achieve racial equality in the services without the
constant pressure of civil rights activists.

The reasons for the transformation that was beginning in the civil
rights struggle were varied and complex.[5-1] Fundamental was the
growing urbanization of the Negro. By 1940 almost half the black
population lived in cities. As the labor shortage became more acute
during the next five years, movement toward the cities continued, not
only in the south but in the north and west. Attracted by economic
opportunities in Los Angeles war industries, for example, over 1,000
Negroes moved to that city each month during the war. Detroit,
Seattle, and San Francisco, among others, reported similar migrations.
The balance finally shifted during the war, and the 1950 census showed
that 56 percent of the black population resided in metropolitan    (p. 125)
areas, 32 percent in cities of the north and west.[5-2]

                   [Footnote 5-1: This discussion is based in great part
                   on Arnold M. Rose, "The American Negro Problem in
                   the Context of Social Change," _Annals of the
                   Academy of Political Science_ 257 (January
                   1965):1-17; Rustin, _Strategies for Freedom_, pp.
                   26-46; Leonard Broom and Norval Glenn,
                   _Transformation of the Negro American_ (New York:
                   Harper and Row, 1965); St. Clair Drake and Horace
                   Cayton, _Black Metropolis: A Study of Negro Life in
                   a Northern City_ (New York: Harcourt Brace, 1970);
                   John Hope Franklin, _From Slavery to Freedom: A
                   History of Negro America_, 3d ed. (New York: Knopf,
                   1967); Woodward's _The Strange Career of Jim Crow_;
                   Seymour Wolfbein, "Postwar Trends in Negro
                   Employment," a report by the Occupational Outlook
                   Division, Bureau of Labor Statistics, in CMH; Oscar
                   Handlin, "The Goals of Integration," and Kenneth B.
                   Clark, "The Civil Rights Movement: Momentum and
                   Organization," both in _Daedalus_ 95 (Winter

                   [Footnote 5-2: For a discussion of this trend, see
                   Bureau of Labor Statistics, "Social and Economic
                   Conditions of Negroes in the United States"
                   (Current Population Reports P23, October 1967); see
                   also Charles S. Johnson, "The Negro Minority,"
                   _Annals of the Academy of Political Science_ 223
                   (September 1942):10-16.]

This mass migration, especially to cities outside the south, was of
profound importance to the future of American race relations. It meant
first that the black masses were separating themselves from the
archaic social patterns that had ruled their lives for generations.
Despite virulent discrimination and prejudice in northern and western
cities, Negroes could vote freely and enjoy some protection of the law
and law-enforcement machinery. They were free of the burden of Jim
Crow. Along with white citizens they were given better schooling, a
major factor in improving status. The mass migration also meant that
this part of America's peasantry was rapidly joining America's
proletariat. The wartime shortage of workers, coupled with the efforts
of the Fair Employment Practices Committee and other government
agencies, opened up thousands of jobs previously denied black
Americans. The number of skilled craftsmen, foremen, and semiskilled
workers among black Americans rose from 500,000 to over 1,000,000
during the war, while the number of Negroes working for the federal
government increased from 60,000 to 200,000.[5-3]

                   [Footnote 5-3: Selective Service System, _Special
                   Groups_, vol. I, pp. 177-78; see also Robert C.
                   Weaver, "Negro Labor Since 1929," _The Journal of
                   Negro History_ 35 (January 1950):20-38.]

Though much of the increase in black employment was the result of
temporarily expanded wartime industries, black workers gained valuable
training and experience that enabled them to compete more effectively
for postwar jobs. Employment in unionized industries strengthened
their position in the postwar labor movement. The severity of
inevitable postwar cuts in black employment was mitigated by continued
prosperity and the sustained growth of American industry. Postwar
industrial development created thousands of new upper-level jobs,
allowing many black workers to continue their economic advance without
replacing white workers and without the attendant development of
racial tensions.

The armed forces played their part in this change. Along with better
food, pay, and living conditions provided by the services, many
Negroes were given new work experiences. Along with many of their
white fellows, they acquired new skills and a new sophistication that
prepared them for the different life of the postwar industrial world.
Most important, military service in World War II divorced many Negroes
from a society whose traditions had carefully defined their place, and
exposed them for the first time to a community where racial equality,
although imperfectly realized, was an ideal. Out of this experience
many Negroes came to understand that their economic and political
position could be changed. Ironically, the services themselves became
an early target of this rising self-awareness. The integration of the
armed forces, immediate and total, was a popular goal of the newly
franchised voting group, which was turning away from leaders of both
races who preached a philosophy of gradual change.

The black press was spokesman for the widespread demand for        (p. 126)
equality in the armed forces; just as the growth of the black press
was dramatically stimulated by urbanization of the Negro, so was the
civil rights movement stimulated by the press. The Pittsburgh
_Courier_ was but one of many black papers and journals that developed
a national circulation and featured countless articles on the subject
of discrimination in the services. One black sociologist observed that
it was "no exaggeration to say that the Negro press was the major
influence in mobilizing Negroes in the struggle for their rights
during World War II."[5-4] Sometimes inaccurate, often inflammatory, and
always to the consternation of the military, the black press rallied
the opposition to segregation during and after the war.

                   [Footnote 5-4: E. Franklin Frazier, _The Negro in the
                   United States_ (New York: Macmillan, 1957), p.

Much of the black unrest and dissatisfaction dramatized by the press
continued to be mobilized through the efforts of such organizations as
the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, the
National Urban League, and the Congress of Racial Equality. The NAACP,
for example, revitalized by a new and broadened appeal to the black
masses, had some 1,200 branches in forty-three states by 1946 and
boasted a membership of more than half a million. While the
association continued to fight for minority rights in the courts, to
stimulate black political participation, and to improve the conditions
of Negroes generally, its most popular activity during the 1940's was
its effort to eliminate discrimination in the armed forces. The files
of the services and the White House are replete with NAACP complaints,
requests, demands, and charges that involved the military departments
in innumerable investigations and justifications. If the complaints
effected little immediate change in policy, they at least dramatized
the plight of black servicemen and mobilized demands for reform.[5-5]

                   [Footnote 5-5: Clark, "The Civil Rights Movement,"
                   pp. 240-47.]

Not all racial unrest was so constructively channeled during the war.
Riots and mutinies in the armed services were echoed around the
country. In Detroit competition between blacks and whites, many
recently arrived from the south seeking jobs, culminated in June 1943
in the most serious riot of the decade. The President was forced to
declare a state of emergency and dispatch 6,000 troops to patrol the
city. The Detroit riot was only the most noticeable of a number of
racial incidents that inevitably provoked an ugly reaction, and the
postwar period witnessed an increase in antiblack sentiment and
violence in the United States.[5-6] Testifying to the black community's
economic and political progress during the war as well as a
corresponding increase in white awareness of and protest against the
mistreatment of black citizens, this antiblack sentiment was only the
pale ghost of a similar phenomenon after World War I.

                   [Footnote 5-6: _Report of the National Advisory
                   Commission on Civil Disorders, 1 March 1968_,
                   Kerner Report (Washington: Government Printing
                   Office, 1968), pp. 104-05; see also Dalfiume,
                   _Desegregation of the U.S. Armed Forces_, pp.
                   132-34. For a detailed account of the major riot,
                   see R. Shogan and T. Craig, _The Detroit Race Riot:
                   A Study in Violence_ (New York: Chilton Books,

_Lincoln Memorial, Washington, D.C., June 1947. Seated at the
President's left are Walter White, Eleanor Roosevelt, and Senator
Wayne Morse; visible in the rear row are Admiral of the Fleet Chester
W. Nimitz, Attorney General Tom C. Clark, and Chief Justice Fred M.

Nevertheless, the sentiment was widespread. Traveling cross-country in
a train during Christmastime, 1945, the celebrated American essayist
Bernard De Voto was astonished to hear expressions of antiblack    (p. 127)
sentiment. In Wisconsin, "a state where I think I had never before
heard the word 'nigger,' that [dining] car was full of talk about
niggers and what had to be done about them."[5-7] A white veteran bore
out the observation. "Anti-Negro talk ... is cropping up in many
places ... the assumption [being] that there is more prejudice, never
less.... Throughout the war the whites were segregated from the
Negroes (why not say it this way for a change?) so that there were
almost no occasions for white soldiers to get any kind of an
impression of Negroes, favorable or otherwise." There had been some
race prejudice among servicemen, but, the veteran asked, "What has
caused this anti-Negro talk among those who stayed at home?"[5-8]
About the same time, a U.S. senator was complaining to the Secretary
of War that white and black civilians at Kelly Field, Texas,       (p. 128)
shared the same cafeterias and other facilities. He hoped the
secretary would look into the matter to prevent disturbances that
might grow out of a policy of this sort.[5-9]

                   [Footnote 5-7: Bernard De Voto, "The Easy Chair"
                   _Harper's_ 192 (January 1946):38-39.]

                   [Footnote 5-8: Ltr, John H. Caldwell (Hartsdale, New
                   York) to the Editor, _Harper's_ 192 (March 1946):
                   unnumbered front pages.]

                   [Footnote 5-9: Ltr, Sen. W. Lee O'Daniel of Texas to
                   SW, 27 Feb 46, ASW 291.2 (1946).]

Nor did the armed forces escape the rise in racial tension. For
example, the War Department received many letters from the public and
members of Congress when black officers, nearly the base's entire
contingent of four hundred, demonstrated against the segregation of
the officers' club at Freeman Field, Indiana, in April 1945. The
question at issue was whether a post commander had the authority to
exclude individuals on grounds of race from recreational facilities on
an Army post. The Army Air Forces supported the post commander and
suggested a return to a policy of separate and equal facilities for
whites and blacks, primarily because a club for officers was a social
center for the entire family. Since it was hardly an accepted custom
in the country for the races to intermingle, officials argued, the
Army had to follow rather than depart from custom, and, further, the
wishes of white officers as well as those of Negroes deserved

                   [Footnote 5-10: This important incident in the Air
                   Force's racial history has been well documented.
                   See AAF Summary Sheet, 5 May 45, sub: Racial
                   Incidents at Freeman Field and Ft. Huachuca,
                   Arizona, and Memo, Maj Gen H. R. Harmon, ACofS,
                   AAF, for DCofS, 29 May 45, both in WDGAP 291.2. See
                   also Memo, The Inspector General for DCofS, 1 May
                   45, sub: Investigation at Freeman Field, WDSIG
                   291.2 Freeman Field, and Memo, Truman Gibson for
                   ASW, 14 May 45, ASW 291.2 NT. For a critical
                   contemporary analysis, see Hq Air Defense Command,
                   "The Training of Negro Combat Units by the First
                   Air Force" (Monograph III, May 1946), vol. 1; ch.
                   III, AFSHRC. The incident is also discussed in
                   Osur, _Blacks in the Army Air Forces During World
                   War II_, ch. VI, and in Alan L. Gropman's _The Air
                   Force Integrates, 1943-1964_ (Washington:
                   Government Printing Office, 1978). Gropman's work
                   is the major source for the history of Negroes in
                   the postwar Air Force.]

The controversy reached the desk of John McCloy, the Assistant
Secretary of War, who considered the position taken by the Army Air
Forces a backward step, a reversal of the War Department position in
an earlier and similar case at Selfridge Field, Michigan. McCloy's
contention prevailed--that the commander's administrative discretion
in these matters fell short of authority to exclude individuals from
the right to enjoy recreational facilities provided by the federal
government or maintained with its funds. Secretary of War Stimson
agreed to amend the basic policy to reflect this clarification.[5-11]

                   [Footnote 5-11: Memo, ASW for SW, 4 Jun 45; Memo, SGS
                   for DCofS, 7 Jun 45, sub: Report of Advisory
                   Committee on Special Troop Policies, both in ASW
                   291.2 (NT).]

In December 1945 the press reported and the War and Navy Departments
investigated an incident at Le Havre, France, where soldiers were
embarking for the United States for demobilization. Officers of a Navy
escort carrier objected to the inclusion of 123 black enlisted men on
the grounds that the ship was unable to provide separate
accommodations for Negroes. Army port authorities then substituted
another group that included only one black officer and five black
enlisted men who were placed aboard over the protests of the ship's
officers.[5-12] The Secretary of the Navy had already declared that the
Navy did not differentiate between men on account of race, and on  (p. 129)
12 December 1945 he reiterated his statement, adding that it applied
to members of all the armed forces.[5-13] Demonstrating the frequent
gap between policy and practice, Forrestal's order was ignored six
months later by port officials when a group of black officers and men
was withdrawn from a shipping list at Bremerhaven, Germany, on the
grounds that "segregation is a War Department policy."[5-14]

                   [Footnote 5-12: OPD Summary Sheet to CofS, 2 Apr 46,
                   CS 291.2 Negroes; Memo, WD Bureau of Public
                   Relations for Press, 5 Jan 46; Ltr, Exec to Actg
                   ASW to P. Bernard Young, Jr., Norfolk _Journal and
                   Guide_, 14 Dec 45, ASW 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 5-13: ALNAV 423-45, 12 Dec 45.]

                   [Footnote 5-14: Memo, Marcus H. Ray, Civ Aide to SW,
                   for ASW, 11 Jun 46, ASW 291.2 (NT).]

Overt antiblack behavior and social turbulence in the civilian
community also reached into the services. In February 1946 Issac
Woodard, Jr., who had served in the Army for fifteen months in the
Pacific, was ejected from a commercial bus and beaten by civilian
police. Sergeant Woodard had recently been discharged from the Army at
Camp Gordon, Georgia, and was still in uniform at the time of the
brutal attack that blinded him. His case was quickly taken up by the
NAACP and became the centerpiece of a national protest.[5-15] Not only
did the civil rights spokesmen protest the sadistic blinding, they
also charged that the Army was incapable of protecting its own members
in the community.

                   [Footnote 5-15: See Ltr, Walter White, Secy, NAACP,
                   to SW, 6 May 46, and a host of letters in SW 291.2
                   file. See also copies of NAACP press releases on
                   the subject in CMH files.]

While service responsibility for countering off-base discrimination
against servicemen was still highly debatable in 1946, the right of
men on a military base to protection was uncontestable. Yet even
service practices on military bases were under attack as racial
conflicts and threats of violence multiplied. "Dear Mother," one
soldier stationed at Sheppard Field, Texas, felt compelled to write in
early 1946, "I don't know how long I'll stay whole because when those
Whites come over to start [trouble] again I'll be right with the rest
of the fellows. Nothing to worry about. Love,..."[5-16] If the
soldier's letter revealed continuing racial conflict in the service,
it also testified to a growing racial unity among black servicemen
that paralleled the trend in the black community. When Negroes could
resolve with a new self-consciousness to "be right with the rest of
the fellows," their cause was immeasurably strengthened and their
goals brought appreciably nearer.

                   [Footnote 5-16: Ltr, 28 Feb 46, copy in SW 291.2.]

Civil rights spokesmen had several points to make regarding the use of
Negroes in the postwar armed forces. Referring to the fact that World
War II began with Negroes fighting for the right to fight, they
demanded that the services guarantee a fair representation of Negroes
in the postwar forces. Furthermore, to avoid the frustration suffered
by Negroes trained for combat and then converted into service troops,
they demanded that Negroes be trained and employed in all military
specialties. They particularly stressed the correlation between poor
leaders and poor units. The services' command practices, they charged,
had frequently led to the appointment of the wrong men, either black
or white, to command black units. Their principal solution was to
provide for the promotion and proper employment of a proportionate
share of competent black officers and noncommissioned officers. Above
all, they pointed to the humiliations black soldiers suffered in   (p. 130)
the community outside the limits of the base.[5-17] One particularly
telling example of such discrimination that circulated in the black
press in 1945 described German prisoners of war being fed in a
railroad restaurant while their black Army guards were forced to eat
outside. But such discrimination toward black servicemen was hardly
unique, and the civil rights advocates were quick to point to the
connection between such practices and low morale and performance. For
them there was but one answer to such discrimination: all men must be
treated as individuals and guaranteed equal treatment and opportunity
in the services. In a word, the armed forces must integrate. They
pointed with pride to the success of those black soldiers who served
in integrated units in the last months of the European war, and they
repeatedly urged the complete abolition of segregation in the
peacetime Army and Navy.[5-18]

                   [Footnote 5-17: For a summary of these views, see
                   Warman Welliver, "Report on the Negro Soldier,"
                   _Harper's_ 192 (April 1946):333-38 and back pages.]

                   [Footnote 5-18: Murray, _Negro Handbook, 1946-1947_,
                   pp. 369-70.]


When an executive of the National Urban League summed up these demands
for President Truman at the end of the war, he clearly indicated that
the changes in military policy that had brought about the gradual
improvement in the lot of black servicemen during the war were now
beside the point.[5-19] The military might try to ignore this fact for a
little while longer; a politically sensitive President was not about
to make such an error.

                   [Footnote 5-19: Ltr, Exec Secy, National Urban
                   League, to President Truman, 27 Aug 45, copy in
                   Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

_The Army's Grand Review_

In the midst of this intensifying sentiment for integration, in fact a
full year before the war ended, the Army began to search for a new
racial policy. The invasion of Normandy and the extraordinary advance
to Paris during the summer of 1944 had led many to believe that the
war in Europe would soon be over, perhaps by fall. As the Allied
leaders at the Quebec Conference in September discussed arrangements
to be imposed on a defeated Germany, American officials in Washington
began to consider plans for the postwar period. Among them was
Assistant Secretary of War McCloy. Dissatisfied with the manner in
which the Army was using black troops, McCloy believed it was time to
start planning how best to employ them in the postwar Army, which  (p. 131)
according to current assumptions, would be small and professional and
would depend upon a citizen reserve to augment it in an emergency.

[Illustration: TRUMAN GIBSON.]

McCloy concluded that despite a host of prewar studies by the General
Staff, the Army War College, and other military agencies, the Army was
unprepared during World War II to deal with and make the most
efficient use of the large numbers of Negroes furnished by Selective
Service. Policies for training and employing black troops had
developed in response to specific problems rather than in accordance
with a well thought out and comprehensive plan. Because of "inadequate
preparation prior to the period of sudden expansion," McCloy believed
a great many sources of racial irritation persisted. To develop a
"definite, workable policy, for the inclusion and utilization in the
Army of minority racial groups" before postwar planning crystallized
and solidified, McCloy suggested to his assistants that the War
Department General Staff review existing practices and experiences at
home and abroad and recommend changes.[5-20]

                   [Footnote 5-20: Memos, McCloy for Advisory Committee
                   on Special Troop Policies, 31 Jul and 1 Sep 44,
                   sub: Participation of Negro Troops in the Post-War
                   Military Establishment; Memo, ASW for SW, 10 Jan
                   45, same sub, all in ASW 291.2 (NT).]

The Chief of Staff, General Marshall, continued to insist that the
Army's racial problem was but part of a larger national problem and,
as McCloy later recalled, had no strong views on a solution.[5-21]
Whatever his personal feelings, Marshall, like most Army staff
officers, always emphasized efficiency and performance to the
exclusion of social concerns. While he believed that the limited scope
of the experiment with integrated platoons toward the end of the war
in Europe made the results inconclusive, Marshall still wanted the
platoons' performance considered in the general staff study.[5-22]

                   [Footnote 5-21: Ltr, John J. McCloy to author, 18 Sep
                   69, CMH files.]

                   [Footnote 5-22: Memo, CofS for McCloy, 25 Aug 45,
                   WDCSA 291.2 Negroes (25 Aug 45).]

The idea of a staff study on the postwar use of black troops also
found favor with Secretary Stimson, and a series of conferences and
informal discussions on the best way to go about it took place in the
highest echelons of the Army during the early months of 1945. The
upshot was a decision to ask the senior commanders at home and
overseas for their comments. How did they train and use their black
troops? What irritations, frictions, and disorders arising from racial
conflicts had hampered their operations? What were their           (p. 132)
recommendations on how best to use black troops after the war? Two
weeks after the war ended in Europe, a letter with an attached
questionnaire was sent to senior commanders.[5-23] The questionnaire
asked for such information as: "To what extent have you maintained
segregation beyond the actual unit level, and what is your
recommendation on this subject? If you have employed Negro platoons in
the same company with white platoons, what is your opinion of the
practicability of this arrangement?"

                   [Footnote 5-23: Ltr, TAG to CinC, Southwest Pacific
                   Area, et al., 23 May 45, sub: Participation of
                   Negro Troops in Post-War Military Establishment, AG
                   291.2 (23 May 45). On the high-level discussions,
                   see Memo, Maj Gen W. F. Tompkins, Dir, Special
                   Planning Div, for ACofS, G-1, and Personnel
                   Officers of the Air, Ground, and Service Forces, 24
                   Feb 45, same sub; DF, G-1, WDGS (Col O. G. Haywood,
                   Exec), 8 Mar 45, same sub; Memo, Col G. E. Textor,
                   Dep Dir, WDSSP, for ACofS, G-1, 10 Mar 45, same
                   sub; Memo for the File (Col Lawrence Westbrook), 16
                   Mar 45; Memo, Maj Bell I. Wiley for Col Mathews, 18
                   Apr 45, all in AG 291.2.]

Not everyone agreed that the questionnaire was the best way to review
the performance of Negroes in World War II. Truman Gibson, for one,
doubted the value of soliciting information from senior commanders,
feeling that these officers would offer much subjective material of
little real assistance. Referring to the letter to the major senior
commanders, he said:

     Mere injunctions of objectivity do not work in the racial field
     where more often than not decisions are made on a basis of
     emotion, prejudice or pre-existing opinion.... Much of the
     difficulty in the Army has arisen from improper racial attitudes
     on both sides. Indeed, the Army's basic policy of segregation is
     said to be based principally on the individual attitudes and
     desires of the soldiers.

But who knew what soldiers' attitudes were? Why not, he suggested,
make some scientific inquiries? Why not try to determine, for example,
how far public opinion and pressure would permit the Army to go in
developing policies for black troops?[5-24]

                   [Footnote 5-24: Memo, Gibson for ASW, 30 May 45, ASW
                   291.2 (NT).]

Gibson had become, perforce, an expert on public opinion. During the
last several months he had suffered the slings and arrows of an
outraged black press for his widely publicized analysis of the
performance of black troops. Visiting black units and commanders in
the Mediterranean and European theaters to observe, in McCloy's words,
"the performance of Negro troops, their attitudes, and the attitudes
of their officers toward them,"[5-25] Gibson had arrived in Italy at the
end of February 1945 to find theater officials concerned over the poor
combat record of the 92d Infantry Division, the only black division in
the theater and one of three activated by the War Department. After a
series of discussions with senior commanders and a visit to the
division, Gibson participated in a press conference in Rome during
which he spoke candidly of the problems of the division's infantry
units.[5-26] Subsequent news reports of the conference stressed Gibson's
confirmation of the division's disappointing performance, but
neglected the reasons he advanced to explain its failure. The reports
earned a swift and angry retort from the black community. Many     (p. 133)
organizations and journals condemned Gibson's evaluation of the
92d outright. Some seemed less concerned with the possible accuracy of
his statement than with the effects it might have on the development
of future military policy. The NAACP's _Crisis_, for example, charged
that Gibson had "carried the ball for the War Department," and that
"probably no more unfortunate words, affecting the representatives of
the entire race, were ever spoken by a Negro in a key position in such
a critical hour. We seem destined to bear the burden of Mr. Gibson's
Rome adventure for many years to come."[5-27]

                   [Footnote 5-25: Ltr, Gibson to Gen John C. H. Lee,
                   CG, ComZ, ETOUSA, 31 Mar 45, ASW 291.2 (NT).]

                   [Footnote 5-26: Memo, Truman Gibson for Maj Gen O. L.
                   Nelson, 12 Mar 45, sub: Report on Visit to 92d
                   Division (Negro Troops), ASW 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 5-27: "Negro Soldier Betrayed," _Crisis_ 52
                   (April 1945):97; "Gibson Echo," ibid. (July

Other black journals took a more detached view of the situation,
asserting that Gibson's remarks revealed nothing new and that the
problem was segregation, of which the 92d was a notable victim. Gibson
took this tack in his own defense, pointing to the irony of a
situation in which "some people can, on the one hand, argue that
segregation is wrong, and on the other ... blindly defend the product
of that segregation."[5-28]

                   [Footnote 5-28: Washington _Afro-American_, April 15,
                   1945, quoted in Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_,
                   p. 579. For details of the Gibson controversy, see
                   Lee, pp. 575-79.]

Gibson had defenders in the Army whose comments might well apply to
all the large black units in the war. At one extreme stood the Allied
commander in Italy, General Mark W. Clark, who attributed the 92d's
shortcomings to "our handling of minority problems at home." Most of
all, General Clark thought, black soldiers needed the incentive of
feeling that they were fighting for home and country as equals. But
his conclusion--"only the proper environment in his own country can
provide such an incentive"--neatly played down Army responsibility for
the division's problems.[5-29]

                   [Footnote 5-29: Mark W. Clark, _A Calculated Risk_
                   (New York: Harper & Brothers, 1950), pp. 414-15.]

Another officer, who as commander of a divisional artillery unit was
intimately acquainted with the division's shortcomings, delineated an
entirely different set of causes. The division was doomed to
mediocrity and worse, Lt. Col. Marcus H. Ray concluded, from the
moment of its activation. Undercurrents of racial antipathy as well as
distrust and prejudice, he believed, infected the organization from
the outset and created an unhealthy beginning. The practice of
withholding promotion from deserving black officers along with
preferential assignments for white officers prolonged the malady. The
basic misconception was that southern white officers understood
Negroes; under such officers Negroes who conformed with the southern
stereotype were promoted regardless of their abilities, while those
who exhibited self-reliance and self-respect--necessary attributes of
leadership--were humiliated and discouraged for their uppityness. "I
was astounded," he said, "by the willingness of the white officers who
preceded us to place their own lives in a hazardous position in order
to have tractable Negroes around them."[5-30] In short, the men of the
92d who fought and died bravely should be honored, but their unit,
which on balance did not perform well, should be considered a      (p. 134)
failure of white leadership.

                   [Footnote 5-30: Ltr, Ray to Gibson, 14 May 45, WDGAP
                   291.2. Ray later succeeded Gibson as Civilian Aide
                   to the Secretary of War.]

[Illustration: COMPANY I, 370TH INFANTRY, 92D DIVISION, _advances
through Cascina, Italy_.]

Lt. Gen. Lucian K. Truscott, Jr., then Fifth Army commander in Italy,
disagreed. Submitting the proceedings of a board of review that had
investigated the effectiveness of black officers and enlisted men in
the 92d Division, he was sympathetic to the frustrations encountered
by the division commander, Maj. Gen. Edward M. Almond. "In justice to
those splendid officers"--a reference to the white senior commanders
and staff members of the division--"who have devoted themselves
without stint in an endeavor to produce a combat division with Negro
personnel and who have approached this problem without prejudice,"
Truscott endorsed the board's hard view that many infantrymen in the
division "would not fight."[5-31] This conclusion was in direct conflict
with the widely held and respected truism that competent leadership
solved all problems, from which it followed that the answer to the
problem of Negroes in combat was command. Good commanders prevented
friction, performed their mission effectively, and achieved success no
matter what the obstacles--a view put forth in a typical report from
World War II that "the efficiency of Negro units depends entirely on
the leadership of officers and NCO's."[5-32]

                   [Footnote 5-31: 1st Ind, Hq Fifth Army (signed L. K.
                   Truscott, Jr.), 30 Jul 45, to Proceedings and Board
                   of Review, 92d Inf Div, Fifth Army files.]

                   [Footnote 5-32: WD file 291.2 (Negro Troop Policy),
                   1943-1945, is full of statements to this effect.
                   The quote is from 2d Ind, Hq USASTAF, 26 Jul 45,
                   attached to AAF Summary Sheets to CofS, 17 Sep 45,
                   sub: Participation of Negro Troops in the Post-War
                   Military Establishment, AG 291.2 (23 May 45).]

In fact, General Truscott's analysis of the 92d Division's problems
seemed at variance with his analysis of command problems in other
units, as illustrated by his later attention to problems in the
all-white 34th Infantry Division.[5-33] The habit of viewing unit
problems as command problems was also demonstrated by General Jacob L.
Devers, who was deputy Allied commander in the Mediterranean when the
92d arrived in Italy. Reflecting later upon the 92d Division, General
Devers agreed that its engineer and armor unit performed well, but the
infantry did not "because their commanders weren't good enough."[5-34]

                   [Footnote 5-33: L. K. Truscott, Jr., _Command
                   Missions: A Personal Story_ (New York: Dutton,
                   1959), see pages 461-62 and 471-72 for comparison
                   of Truscott's critical analysis of problems of the
                   34th and 92d Infantry Divisions.]

                   [Footnote 5-34: Interv, author with General Jacob
                   Devers, 30 Mar 71, CMH files.]

Years later General Almond, the division's commander, was to claim (p. 135)
that the 92d Division had done "many things well and some things
poorly." It fought in extremely rugged terrain against a determined
enemy over an exceptionally broad front. The division's artillery as
well as its technical and administrative units performed well. Negroes
also excelled in intelligence work and in dealing with the Italian
partisans. On the other hand, General Almond reported, infantry
elements were unable to close with the enemy and destroy him. Rifle
squads, platoons, and companies tended "to melt away" when confronted
by determined opposition. Almond blamed this on "a lack of dedication
to purpose, pride of accomplishment and devotion to duty and teammates
by the majority of black riflemen assigned to Infantry Units."[5-35]

                   [Footnote 5-35: Ltr, Lt Gen Edward M. Almond to Brig
                   Gen James L. Collins, Jr., 1 Apr 72, CMH files.
                   General Almond's views are thoroughly explored in
                   Paul Goodman, _A Fragment of Victory_ (Army War
                   College, 1952). For an objective and detailed
                   treatment of the 92d Division, see Lee, _Employment
                   of Negro Troops_, Chapter XIX, and Ernest F.
                   Fisher, Jr., _Cassino to the Alps_, United States
                   Army in World War II (Washington: Government
                   Printing Office, 1977), Chapter XXIII.]

Similar judgments were expressed concerning the combat capability of
the other major black unit, the 93d Infantry Division.[5-36] When
elements of the 93d, the 25th Regimental Combat Team in particular,
participated in the Bougainville campaign in the Solomon Islands,
their performance was the subject of constant scrutiny by order of the
Chief of Staff.[5-37] The combat record of the 25th included enough
examples of command and individual failure to reinforce the War
Department's decision in mid-1944 to use the individual units of the
division in security, laboring, and training duties in quiet areas of
the theater, leaving combat to more seasoned units.[5-38] During the
last year of the war the 93d performed missions that were essential
but not typical for combat divisions.

                   [Footnote 5-36: A third black division, the 2d
                   Cavalry, never saw combat because it was disbanded
                   upon arrival in the Mediterranean theater.]

                   [Footnote 5-37: Rad, Marshall to Lt Gen Millard
                   Harmon, CG, USAFISPA, 18 Mar 44, CM-OUT 7514 (18
                   Mar 44).]

                   [Footnote 5-38: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_,
                   pp. 498-517. Lee discusses here the record of the
                   93d Infantry Division and War Department decisions
                   concerning its use.]

Analyses of the division's performance ran along familiar lines. The
XIV Corps commander, under whom the division served, rated the
performance of the 25th Regimental Combat Team infantry as fair and
artillery as good, but found the unit, at least those parts commanded
by black officers, lacking in initiative, inadequately trained, and
poorly disciplined. Other reports tended to agree. All of them, along
with reports on the 24th Infantry, another black unit serving in the
area, were assembled in Washington for Assistant Secretary McCloy.
While he admitted important limitations in the performance of the
units, McCloy nevertheless remained encouraged. Not so the Secretary
of War. "I do not believe," he told McCloy, "they can be turned into
really effective combat troops without all officers being white."[5-39]

                   [Footnote 5-39: The above digested reports and
                   quotations are from Lee, _Employment of Negro
                   Troops_, pp. 513-17.]

Black officers of the 93d, however, entertained a different view. They
generally cited command and staff inefficiencies as the major cause of
the division's discipline and morale problems. One respondent, a company
commander in the 25th Infantry, singled out the "continuous        (p. 136)
dissension and suspicion characterizing the relations between white
and colored officers of the division." All tended to stress what they
considered inadequate jungle training, and, like many white observers,
they all agreed the combat period was too brief to demonstrate the
division's developing ability.[5-40]

                   [Footnote 5-40: USAFFE Board Reports No. 185, 20 Jan
                   45, and 221, 25 Feb 45, sub: Information on Colored
                   Troops. These reports were prepared at the behest
                   of the commanding general of the Army Ground Forces
                   during the preparation of Bell I. Wiley's _The
                   Training of Negro Troops_ (AGF Study No. 36, 1946).
                   The quotation is from Exhibit K of USAFFE Board
                   Report No. 221.]


Despite the performance of some individuals and units praised by all,
the combat performance of the 92d and 93d Infantry Divisions was
generally considered less than satisfactory by most observers. A much
smaller group of commentators, mostly black journalists, never
accepted the prevailing view. Pointing to the decorations and honors
received by individuals in the two divisions, they charged that the
adverse reports were untrue, reflections of the prejudices of white
officers. Such an assertion presupposed that hundreds of officers and
War Department officials were so consumed with prejudice that they
falsified the record. And the argument from decorations, as one expert
later pointed out, faltered once it was understood that the 92d    (p. 137)
and 93d Infantry Divisions combined a relatively high number of
decorations with relatively few casualties.[5-41]

                   [Footnote 5-41: E. W. Kenworthy, "The Case Against
                   Army Segregation," _Annals of the American Academy
                   of Political Science_ 275 (May 1952):28-29. A low
                   decoration to casualty ratio is traditionally used
                   as one measure of good unit performance. However,
                   so many different unit attitudes and standards for
                   decorations existed during World War II that any
                   argument over ratios can only be self-defeating no
                   matter what the approach.]

Actually, there was little doubt that the performance of the black
divisions in World War II was generally unacceptable. Beyond that
common conclusion, opinions diverged widely. Commanders tended to
blame undisciplined troops and lack of initiative and control by black
officers and noncommissioned officers as the primary cause of the
difficulty. Others, particularly black observers, cited the white
officers and their lack of racial sensitivity. In fact, as Ulysses Lee
points out with careful documentation, all these factors were
involved, but the underlying problem usually overlooked by observers
was segregation. Large, all-black combat units submerged able soldiers
in a sea of men with low aptitude and inadequate training. Segregation
also created special psychological problems for junior black officers.
Carefully assigned so that they never commanded white officers or men,
they were often derided by white officers whose attitudes were quickly
sensed by the men to the detriment of good discipline. Segregation was
also a factor in the rapid transfer of men in and out of the
divisions, thus negating the possible benefits of lengthy training.
Furthermore, the divisions were natural repositories for many
dissatisfied or inadequate white officers, who introduced a host of
other problems.

Truman Gibson was quick to point out how segregation had intensified
the problem of turning civilians into soldiers and groups into units.
The "dissimilarity in the learning profiles" between black and white
soldiers as reflected in their AGCT scores was, he explained to
McCloy, primarily a result of inferior black schooling, yet its
practical effect on the Army was to burden it with several large units
of inferior combat ability (_Table 2_). In addition to the fact that
large black units had a preponderance of slow learners, Gibson
emphasized that nearly all black soldiers were trained near
"exceedingly hostile" communities. This hostile atmosphere, he
believed, had played a decisive role in their adjustment to Army life
and adversely affected individual motivation. Gibson also charged the
Army with promoting some black officers who lacked leadership
qualifications and whose performance, consequently, was under par. He
recommended a single measure of performance for officers and a single
system for promotion, even if this system reduced promotions for black
officers. Promotions on any basis other than merit, he concluded,
deprived the Army of the best leadership and inflicted weak commanders
on black units.

Table 2--AGCT Percentages in Selected World War II Divisions

       Unit             I         II        III        IV      V    Total
                      (130 +)  (110-120)  (90-109)  (60-89)  (0-59)

  11th Armored
       Division....... 3.0       23.8       33.8      33.1     6.3   100
  35th Infantry
       Division....... 3.3       27.0       34.2      28.0     7.5   100
  92d Infantry
      Division (Negro) 0.4        5.2       11.8      43.5    39.1   100
  93d Infantry
      Division (Negro) 0.1        3.5       13.0      38.4    45.0   100
  100th Infantry
      Division........ 3.6       27.1       34.1      29.1     6.1   100

_Source_: Tables submitted by The Adjutant General to the Gillem
Board, 1945.

Gibson was not trying to magnify the efficiency of segregated      (p. 138)
units. He made a special effort to compare the performance of the 92d
Division with that of the integrated black platoons in Germany because
such a comparison would demonstrate, he believed, that the Army's
segregation policy was in need of critical reexamination. He cited
"many officers" who believed that the problems connected with large
segregated combat units justified their abolition in favor of the
integration of black platoons into larger white units. Although such
unit integration would not abolish segregation completely, Gibson
concluded, it would permit the Army to use men and small units on the
basis of ability alone.[5-42]

                   [Footnote 5-42: Memo, Gibson for ASW, 23 Apr 45, sub:
                   Report of Visit to MTO and ETO, ASW 291.2 (NT); see
                   also Interv, Bell I. Wiley with Truman K. Gibson,
                   Civilian Aide to Secretary of War, 30 May 45, CMH

The flexibility Gibson detected among many Army officers was not
apparent in the answers to the McCloy questionnaire that flowed into
the War Department during the summer and fall of 1945. With few
exceptions, the senior officers queried expressed uniform reactions.
They reiterated a story of frustration and difficulty in training and
employing black units, characterized black soldiers as unreliable and
inefficient, and criticized the performance of black officers and
noncommissioned officers. They were particularly concerned with racial
disturbances, which, they believed, were not only the work of racial
agitators but also the result of poor morale and a sense of
discrimination among black troops. Yet they wanted to retain
segregation, albeit in units of smaller size, and they wanted to
depend, for the most part, on white officers to command these black
units. Concerned with performance, pragmatic rather than reflective in
their habits, the commanders showed little interest in or
understanding of the factors responsible for the conditions of which
they complained. Many believed that segregation actually enhanced
black pride.[5-43]

                   [Footnote 5-43: Eventually over thirty-five commands
                   responded to the McCloy questionnaire. For examples
                   of the attitudes mentioned above, see Ltr, HQ, U.S.
                   Forces, European Theater (Main) to TAG, 1 Oct 45,
                   sub: Study of Participation of Negro Troops in the
                   Postwar Establishment; Ltr, HQ, U.S. Forces, India,
                   Burma Theater, to TAG, 28 Aug 45, same sub; Ltr,
                   GHQ USARPAC to TAG, 3 Sep 45, same sub. All in AG
                   291.2 (23 May 45). Some of these and many others
                   are also located in WDSSP 291.2 (1945).]

These responses were summarized by the commanding generals of the
major force commands at the request of the War Department's Special
Planning Division.[5-44] For example, the study prepared by the Army
Service Forces, which had employed a high proportion of black troops
in its technical services during the war, passed on the
recommendations made by these far-flung commands and touched
incidentally on several of the points raised by Gibson.[5-45] Like
Gibson, the Army Service Forces recommended that Negroes of little (p. 139)
or no education be denied induction or enlistment and that no
deviation from normal standards for the sake of maintaining racial
quotas in the officer corps be tolerated. The Army Service Forces also
wanted Negroes employed in all major forces, participating
proportionately in all phases of the Army's mission, including
overseas and combat assignments, but not in every occupation. For the
Army Service Forces had decided that Negroes performed best as truck
drivers, ammunition handlers, stevedores, cooks, bakers, and the like
and should be trained in these specialties rather than more highly
skilled jobs such as armorer or machinist. Even in the occupations
they were best suited to, Negroes should be given from a third more to
twice as much training as whites, and black units should have 25 to 50
percent more officers than white units. At the same time, the Army
Service Forces wanted to retain segregated units, although it
recommended limiting black service units to company size. Stating in
conclusion that it sought only "to insure the most efficient training
and utilization of Negro manpower" and would ignore the question of
racial equality or the "wisdom of segregation in the social sense,"
the Army Service Forces overlooked the possibility that the former
could not be attained without consideration of the latter.

                   [Footnote 5-44: Memo, Dir, WDSSP, for CG's, ASF et
                   al., 23 May 45, sub: Participation of Negro Troops
                   in the Postwar Military Establishment, AG 291.2 (23
                   May 45).]

                   [Footnote 5-45: Memo, CofS, ASF, for Dir, Special
                   Planning Division, WDSS, 1 Oct 45, sub:
                   Participation of Negro Troops in the Postwar
                   Military Establishment, WDSSP 291.2 (2 Oct 45). On
                   the use of Negroes in the Signal Corps, see the
                   following volumes in the United States Army in
                   World War II series: Dulany Terrett, _The Signal
                   Corps: The Emergency_ (Washington: Government
                   Printing Office, 1956); George Raynor Thompson et
                   al., _The Signal Corps: The Test_ (Washington:
                   Government Printing Office, 1957); George Raynor
                   Thompson and Dixie R. Harris, _The Signal Corps:
                   The Outcome_ (Washington: Government Printing
                   Office, 1966).]

The Army Ground Forces, which trained black units for all major
branches of the field forces, also wanted to retain black units, but
its report concluded that these units could be of battalion size. The
organization of black soldiers in division-size units, it claimed,
only complicated the problem of training because of the difficulty in
developing the qualified black technicians, noncommissioned officers,
and field grade officers necessary for such large units and finding
training locations as well as assignment areas with sufficient
off-base recreational facilities for large groups of black soldiers.
The Army Ground Forces considered the problem of finding and training
field grade officers particularly acute since black units employing
black officers, at least in the case of infantry, had proved
ineffective. Yet white officers put in command of black troops felt
they were being punished, and their presence added to the frustration
of the blacks.

The Army Ground Forces was also particularly concerned with racial
disturbances, which, it believed, stemmed from conflicting white and
black concepts of the Negro's place in the social pattern. The Army
Ground Forces saw no military solution for a problem that transcended
the contemporary national emergency, and its conclusion--that the
solution lay in society at large and not primarily in the armed
forces--had the effect, whether or not so intended, of neatly
exonerating the Army. In fact, the detailed conclusions and
recommendations of the Army Ground Forces were remarkably similar to
those of the Army Service Forces, but the Ground Forces study, more
than any other, was shot full with blatant racism. The study quoted a
1925 War College study to the effect that the black officer was    (p. 140)
"still a Negro with all the faults and weaknesses of character
inherent in the Negro race." It also discussed the "average Negro" and
his "inherent characteristics" at great length, dwelling on his
supposed inferior mentality and weakness of character, and raising
other racial shibboleths. Burdened with these prejudices, the Army
Ground Forces study concluded

     that the conception that negroes should serve in the military
     forces, or in particular parts of the military forces, or sustain
     battle losses in proportion to their population in the United
     States, may be desirable but is impracticable and should be
     abandoned in the interest of a logical solution to the problem of
     the utilization of negroes in the armed forces.[5-46]

                   [Footnote 5-46: Memo, Ground AG, AGF, for CofSA, 28
                   Nov 45, sub: Participation of Negro Troops in the
                   Postwar Military Establishment, with Incl, WDSSP
                   291.2 (27 Dec 45).]

The Army Air Forces, another large employer of black servicemen,
reported a slightly different World War II experience. Conforming with
departmental policies on utilizing black soldiers, it had selected
Negroes for special training on the same basis as whites with the
exception of aviation cadets. Negroes with a lower stanine (aptitude)
had been accepted in order to secure enough candidates to meet the
quota for pilots, navigators, and bombardiers in the black units. In
its preliminary report to the War Department on the employment of
Negroes, the Army Air Forces admitted that individuals of both races
with similar aptitudes and test scores had the same success in
technical schools, could be trained as pilots and technicians in the
same period of time, and showed the same degree of mechanical
proficiency. Black units, on the other hand, required considerably
more time in training than white units, sometimes simply because they
were understrength and their performance was less effective. At the
same time the Air Forces admitted that even after discounting the
usual factors, such as time in service and job assignment, whites
advanced further than blacks. No explanation was offered.
Nevertheless, the commanding general of the Air Forces reported very
little racial disorder or conflict overseas. There had been a
considerable amount in the United States, however; many Air Forces
commanders ascribed this to the unwillingness of northern Negroes to
accept southern laws or social customs, the insistence of black
officers on integrated officers' clubs, and the feeling among black
fliers that command had been made an exclusive prerogative of white
officers rather than a matter depending on demonstrated qualification.

In contrast to the others, the Army Air Forces revealed a marked
change in sentiment over the post-World War I studies of black troops.
No more were there references to congenital inferiority or inherent
weaknesses, but everywhere a willingness to admit that Negroes had
been held back by the white majority.

The commanding general of the Army Air Forces recommended Negroes be
apportioned among the three major forces--the Army Ground Forces, the
Army Service Forces, and the Army Air Forces--but that their numbers
in no case exceed 10 percent of any command; that black servicemen be
trained exactly as whites; and that Negroes be segregated in units (p. 141)
not to exceed air group size. Unlike the others, the Army Air Forces
wanted black units to have black commanders as far as possible and
recommended that the degree of segregation in messing, recreation, and
social activities conform to the custom of the surrounding community.
It wanted Negroes assigned overseas in the same proportion as whites,
and in the United States, to the extent practicable, only to those
areas considered favorable to their welfare. Finally, the Air Forces
wanted Negroes to be neither favored nor discriminated against in
disciplinary matters.[5-47]

                   [Footnote 5-47: Memo, CG, AAF, for CofSA, 17 Sep 45,
                   sub: Participation of Negro Troops in the Postwar
                   Military Establishment, WDSSP 291.2 (1945). For the
                   final report of 2 Oct 45, which summed up the
                   previous recommendations, see Summary Sheet,
                   AC/AS-1 for Maj Gen C. C. Chauncey, DCofAS, 2 Oct
                   45, same sub and file.]

Among the responses of the subordinate commands were some exceptions
to the generalizations found in those of the major forces. One
commander, for example, while concluding that segregation was
desirable, admitted that it was one of the basic causes of the Army's
racial troubles and would have to be dealt with "one way or the
other."[5-48] Another recommended dispersing black troops, one or two in
a squad, throughout all-white combat units.[5-49] Still another pointed
out that the performance of black officers and noncommissioned
officers in terms of resourcefulness, aggressiveness, sense of
responsibility, and ability to make decisions was comparable to the
performance of white soldiers when conditions of service were nearly
equal. But the Army failed to understand this truth, the commander of
the 1st Service Command charged, and its separate and unequal
treatment discriminated in a way that would affect the efficiency of
any man. The performance of black troops, he concluded, depended on
how severely the community near a post differentiated between the
black and white soldier and how well the Negro's commander
demonstrated the fairness essential to authority. The Army admitted
that black units needed superior leadership, but, he added, it
misunderstood what this leadership entailed. All too often commanders
of black units acted under the belief that their men were different
and needed special treatment, thus clearly suggesting racial
inferiority. The Army, he concluded, should learn from its wartime
experience the deleterious effect of segregation on motivation and
ultimately on performance.[5-50]

                   [Footnote 5-48: Ltr, OCSigO (Col David E. Washburn,
                   Exec Off) to WDSSP, 31 Jul 45, sub: Participation
                   of Negro Troops in the Postwar Military
                   Establishment, WDSSP 291.2 (1945).]

                   [Footnote 5-49: Ltr, Maj Gen James L. Collins, CG,
                   Fifth Service Cmd, to CG, ASF, 24 Jul 45, sub:
                   Participation of Negro Troops in the Postwar
                   Military Establishment, WDSSP 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 5-50: Memo, CG, First Service Cmd, for CG,
                   ASF, 23 Jul 45, sub: Participation of Negro Troops
                   in the Postwar Military Establishment, WDSSP 291.2

Truman Gibson took much the same approach when he summed up for McCloy
his estimate of the situation facing the Army. After rehearsing the
recent history of segregation in the armed forces, he suggested that
it was not enough to compare the performance of black and white
troops; the reports of black performance should be examined to
determine whether the performance would be improved or impaired by
changing the policy of segregation. Any major Army review, he urged,
should avoid the failure of the old studies on race that based     (p. 142)
differences in performance on racial characteristics and should
question instead the efficiency of segregation. For him, segregation
was the heart of the matter, and he counseled that "future policy
should be predicated on an assumption that civilian attitudes will not
remain static. The basic policy of the Army should, therefore, not
itself be static and restrictive, but should be so framed as to make
further progress possible on a flexible basis."[5-51]

                   [Footnote 5-51: Memo, Truman Gibson for ASW, 8 Aug
                   45, ASW 291.2.]

Before passing Gibson's suggestions to the Assistant Secretary of War,
McCloy's executive assistant, Lt. Col. Davidson Sommers, added some
ideas of his own. Since it was "pretty well recognized," he wrote,
that the Army had not found the answer to the efficient use of black
manpower, a first-class officer or group of officers of high rank,
supplemented perhaps with a racially mixed group of civilians, should
be designated to prepare a new racial policy. But, he warned, their
work would be ineffectual without specific directions from Army
leaders. He wanted the Army to make "eventual nonsegregation" its
goal. Complete integration, Sommers felt, was impossible to achieve at
once. Classification test scores alone refuted the claim that "Negroes
in general make as good soldiers as whites." But he thought there was
no need "to resort to racial theories to explain the difference," for
the lack of educational, occupational, and social opportunities was

                   [Footnote 5-52: Memo, Exec Off, ASW, for McCloy, 28
                   Aug 45, ASW 291.2 (NT).]

Sommers had, in effect, adopted Gibson's gradualist approach to the
problem, suggesting an inquiry to determine "the areas in which
nonsegregation can be attempted first and the methods by which it can
be introduced ... instead of merely generalizing, as in the past, on
the disappointing and not very relevant experiences with large
segregated units." He foresaw difficulties: a certain amount of social
friction and perhaps a considerable amount of what he called
"professional Negro agitation" because Negroes competing with whites
would probably not achieve comparable ranks or positions immediately.
But Sommers saw no cause for alarm. "We shall be on firm ground," he
concluded, "and will be able to defend our actions by relying on the
unassailable position that we are using men in accordance with their

Competing with these calls for gradual desegregation was the Army's
growing concern with securing some form of universal military
training. Congress would discuss the issue during the summer and fall
of 1945, and one of the questions almost certain to arise in the
congressional hearings was the place contemplated for Negroes. Would
the Army use Negroes in combat units? Would the Army train and use
Negroes in units together with whites? Upon the answers to these
questions hinged the votes of most, if not all, southern congressmen.
Prudence dictated that the Army avoid any innovations that might
jeopardize the chance for universal military training. In other words,
went the prevalent view, what was good for the Army--and universal
military training was in that category--had to come before all

                   [Footnote 5-53: Memos, Col Frederick S. Skinner for
                   Dir, Special Planning Div, WDSS, 25 May and 2 Jun
                   45, sub: Participation of Negro Troops in the
                   Postwar Military Establishment, WDSSP 291.2

Even among officers troubled by the contradictory aspects of an    (p. 143)
issue clouded by morality, many felt impelled to give their prime
allegiance to the Army as it was then constituted. The Army's
impressive achievement during the war, they reasoned, argued for its
continuation in conformance with current precepts, particularly in a
world still full of hostilities. The stability of the Army came first;
changes would have to be made slowly, without risking the menace of
disruption. An attempt to mix the races in the Army seemed to most
officers a dangerous move bordering on irresponsibility. Furthermore,
the majority of Army officers, dedicated to the traditions of the
service, saw the Army as a social as well as a military institution.
It was a way of life that embraced families, wives and children. The
old manners and practices were comfortable because they were well
known and understood, had produced victory, and had represented a life
that was somewhat isolated and insulated--particularly in the
field--from the currents and pressures of national life. Why then
should the old patterns be modified; why exchange comfort for possible
chaos? Why should the Army admit large numbers of Negroes; what had
Negroes contributed to winning World War II; what could they possibly
contribute to the postwar Army?

Although opinion among Army officials on the future role of Negroes in
the Army was diverse and frankly questioning in tone, opinion on the
past performance of black units was not. Commanders tended to agree
that with certain exceptions, particularly small service and combat
support units, black units performed below the Army average during the
war and considerably below the best white units. The commanders also
generally agreed that black units should be made more efficient and
usually recommended they be reduced in size and filled with better
qualified men. Most civil rights spokesmen and their allies in the
Army, on the other hand, viewed segregation as the underlying cause of
poor performance. How, then, could the conflicting advice be channeled
into construction of an acceptable postwar racial policy? The task was
clearly beyond the powers of the War Department's Special Planning
Division, and in September 1945 McCloy adopted the recommendation of
Sommers and Gibson and urged the Secretary of War to turn over this
crucial matter to a board of general officers. Out of this board's
deliberations, influenced in great measure by opinions previously
expressed, would emerge the long-awaited revision of the Army's policy
for its black minority.

_The Navy's Informal Inspection_

In contrast to the elaborate investigation conducted by the Army, the
Navy's search for a policy consisted mainly of an informal
intradepartmental review and an inspection of its black units by a
civilian representative of the Secretary of the Navy. In general this
contrast may be explained by the difference in the services' postwar
problems. The Army was planning for the enlistment of a large cross
section of the population through some form of universal military
training; the Navy was planning for a much smaller peacetime
organization of technically trained volunteers. Moreover, the Army
wanted to review the performance of its many black combat units,   (p. 144)
whereas the naval establishment, which had excluded most of its
Negroes from combat, had little to gain from measuring their wartime

The character and methods of the Secretary of the Navy had an
important bearing on policy. Forrestal believed he had won the senior
officers to his view of equal treatment and opportunity, and to be
assured of success he wanted to convince lower commanders and the
ranks as well. He wrote in July 1945: "We are making every effort to
give more than lip service to the principles of democracy in the
treatment of the Negro and we are trying to do it with the minimum of
commotion.... We would rather await the practical demonstration of the
success of our efforts.... There is still a long road to travel but I
am confident we have made a start."[5-54]

                   [Footnote 5-54: Ltr, Forrestal to Field, 14 Jul 45,
                   54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

Forrestal's wish for a racially democratic Navy did not noticeably
conflict with the traditionalists' plan for a small, technically elite
force, so while the Army launched a worldwide quest in anticipation of
an orthodox policy review, the Navy started an informal investigation
designed primarily to win support for the racial program conceived by
the Secretary of the Navy.

The Navy's search began in the last months of the war when Secretary
Forrestal approved the formation of an informal Committee on Negro
Personnel. Although Lester Granger, the secretary's adviser on racial
matters, had originally proposed the establishment of such a committee
to "help frame sound and effective racial policies,"[5-55] the Chief of
Naval Personnel, a preeminent representative of the Navy's
professionals, saw an altogether different reason for the group. He
endorsed the idea of a committee, he told a member of the secretary's
staff, "not because there is anything wrong or backward about our
policies," but because "we need greater cooperation from the technical
Bureaus in order that those policies may succeed."[5-56] Forrestal did
little to define the group's purpose when on 16 April 1945 he ordered
Under Secretary Bard to organize a committee "to assure uniform
policies" and see that all subdivisions of the Navy were familiar with
each other's successful and unsuccessful racial practices.[5-57]

                   [Footnote 5-55: Ltr, Lester Granger to SecNav, 19 Mar
                   45, 54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 5-56: Memo, Chief, NavPers, for Cmdr
                   Richard M. Paget (Exec Off, SecNav), 21 Apr 45,
                   sub: Formation of Informal Cmte to Assure Uniform
                   Policies on the Handling of Negro Personnel, P-17,

                   [Footnote 5-57: Memo, SecNav for Cmdr Richard M.
                   Paget, 16 Apr 45, 54-1-19, Forrestal file,

By pressing for the uniform treatment of Negroes, Forrestal doubtless
hoped to pull backward branches into line with more liberal ones so
that the progressive reforms of the past year would be accepted
throughout the Navy. But if Forrestal's ultimate goal was plain, his
failure to give clear-cut directions to his informal committee was
characteristic of his handling of racial policy. He carefully followed
the recommendations of the Chief of Naval Personnel, who wanted the
committee to be a military group, despite having earlier expressed his
intention of inviting Granger to chair the committee. As announced on
25 April, the committee was headed by a senior official of the Bureau
of Naval Personnel, Capt. Roscoe H. Hillenkoetter, with another    (p. 145)
of the bureau's officers serving as committee recorder.[5-58]
Restricting the scope of the inquiry, Forrestal ordered that "whenever
practical" the committee should assign each of its members to
investigate the racial practices in his own organization.

                   [Footnote 5-58: Other members of the committee
                   included four senior Navy captains and
                   representatives of the Marine Corps and Coast
                   Guard. Memo, SecNav for Under SecNav, 25 Apr 45,
                   QB495/A3-1, GenRecsNav.]

Nevertheless when the committee got down to work it quickly went
beyond the limited concept of its mission as advanced by the Chief of
Naval Personnel. Not only did it study statistics gathered from all
sections of the department and review the experiences of various
commanders of black units, it also studied Granger's immediate and
long-range recommendations for the department, an extension of his
earlier wartime work for Forrestal. Specifically, Granger had called
for the formulation of a definite integration policy and for a
strenuous public relations campaign directed toward the black
community. He had also called for the enlistment and commissioning of
a significant number of Negroes in the Regular Navy, and he wanted
commanders indoctrinated in their racial responsibilities. Casting
further afield, Granger had warned that discriminatory policies and
practices in shipyards and other establishments must be eliminated,
and employment opportunities for black civilians in the department

                   [Footnote 5-59: Ltr, Granger to SecNav, 19 Mar 45,
                   54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

The committee deliberated on all these points, and, after meeting
several times, announced in May 1945 its findings and recommendations.
It found that the Navy's current policies were sound and when properly
executed produced good results. At the same time it saw a need for
periodic reviews to insure uniform application of policy and better
public relations. Such findings could be expected from a body headed
by a senior official of the personnel bureau, but the committee then
came up with the unexpected--a series of recommendations for sweeping
change. Revealing the influence of the Special Programs Unit, the
committee asked that Negroes be declared available for assignment to
all types of ships and shore stations in all classifications, with
selections made solely on merit. Since wholesale reassignments were
impractical, the committee recommended well-planned, gradual
assimilation--it avoided the word integration--as the best policy for
ending the concentration of Negroes at shore activities. It also
attacked the Steward's Branch as the conspicuous symbol of the
Negroes' second-class status and called for the assignment of white
stewards and allowing qualified stewards to transfer to general

The committee wanted the Judge Advocate General to assign legal
advisers to all major trials, especially those involving minorities,
to prevent errors in courts-martial that might be construed as
discrimination. It further recommended that Negroes be represented in
the secretary's public relations office; that news items concerning
Negroes be more widely disseminated through bureau bulletins; and,
finally, that all bureaus as well as the Coast Guard and Marine Corps
be encouraged to enroll commanders in special indoctrination programs
before they were assigned to units with substantial numbers of     (p. 146)

                   [Footnote 5-60: Memo, Cmte on Personnel for Under
                   SecNav, 22 May 45, sub: Report and Recommendations
                   of Committee on Negro Personnel, P. 16-3,

[Illustration: GRANGER INTERVIEWING SAILORS _on inspection tour in the

The committee's recommendations, submitted to Under Secretary Bard on
22 May 1945, were far more than an attempt to unify the racial
practices of the various subdivisions of the Navy Department. For the
first time, senior representatives of the department's often
independent branches accepted the contention of the Special Programs
Unit that segregation was militarily inefficient and a gradual but
complete integration of the Navy's general service was the solution to
racial problems.

Yet as a formula for equal treatment and opportunity in the Navy, the
committee's recommendations had serious omissions. Besides overlooking
the dearth of black officers and the Marine Corps' continued strict
segregation, the committee had ignored Granger's key proposal that
Negroes be guaranteed a place in the Regular Navy. Almost without
exception, Negroes in the Navy's general service were reservists,
products of wartime volunteer enlistment or the draft. All but a few
of the black regulars were stewards. Without assurance that many of
these general service reservists would be converted to regulars or
that provision would be made for enlistment of black regulars,     (p. 147)
the committee's integration recommendations lacked substance.
Secretary Forrestal must have been aware of these omissions, but he
ignored them. Perhaps the problem of the Negro in the postwar Navy
seemed remote during this last, climactic summer of the war.


To document the status of the Negro in the Navy, Forrestal turned
again to Lester Granger. Granger had acted more than once as the
secretary's eyes and ears on racial matters, and the association
between the two men had ripened from mutual respect to close
rapport.[5-61] During August 1945 Granger visited some twenty
continental installations for Forrestal, including large depots and
naval stations on the west coast, the Great Lakes Training Center, and
bases and air stations in the south. Shortly after V-J day Granger
launched a more ambitious tour of inspection that found him traveling
among the 45,000 Negroes assigned to the Pacific area.

                   [Footnote 5-61: Columbia University Oral Hist Interv
                   with Granger.]

Unlike the Army staff, whose worldwide quest for information stressed
black performance in the familiar lessons-learned formula and only
incidentally treated those factors that affected performance, Granger,
a civilian, never really tried to assess performance. He was,      (p. 148)
however, a race relations expert, and he tried constantly to discover
how the treatment accorded Negroes in the Navy affected their
performance and to pass on his findings to local commanders. He later
explained his technique. First, he called on the commanding officer
for facts and opinions on the performance and morale of the black
servicemen. Then he proceeded through the command, unaccompanied,
interviewing Negroes individually as well as in small and large
groups. Finally, he returned to the commanding officer to pass along
grievances reported by the men and his own observations on the
conditions under which they served.[5-62]

                   [Footnote 5-62: Granger's findings and an account of
                   his inspection technique are located in Ltrs,
                   Granger to SecNav, 4 Aug, 10 Aug, 27 Aug, and 31
                   Oct 45; and in "Minutes of Press Conference Held by
                   Mr. Lester B. Granger," 1 Nov 45. All in 54-1-13,
                   Forrestal file, GenRecsNav. See also Columbia
                   University Oral Hist Interv with Granger.]

Granger always related the performance of enlisted men to their
morale. He pointed out to the commanders that poor morale was at the
bottom of the Port Chicago mass mutiny and the Guam riot, and his
report to the secretary confirmed the experiences of the Special
Programs Unit: black performance was deeply affected by the extent to
which Negroes felt victimized by racial discrimination or handicapped
by segregation, especially in housing, messing, and military and
civilian recreational facilities. Although no official policy on
segregated living quarters existed, Granger found such segregation
widely practiced at naval bases in the United States. Separate housing
meant in most cases separate work crews, thereby encouraging voluntary
segregation in mess halls. In some cases the Navy's separate housing
was carried over into nearby civilian communities where no segregation
existed before. In others shore patrols forced segregation on civilian
places of entertainment, even when state laws forbade it. On southern
bases, especially, many commanders willingly abandoned the Navy's ban
against discrimination in favor of the racial practices of local
communities. There enforced segregation was widespread, often made
explicit with "colored" and "white" signs.

Yet Granger found encouraging exceptions which he passed along to
local commanders elsewhere. At Camp Perry, Virginia, for example,
there was a minimum of segregation, and the commanding officer had
intervened to see that Virginia's segregated bus laws did not apply to
Navy buses operating between the camp and Norfolk. This situation was
unusual for the Navy although integrated busing had been standard
practice in the Army since mid-1944. He found Camp Perry "a pleasant
contrast" to other southern installations, and from his experiences
there he concluded that the attitude of the commanding officer set the
pace. "There is practically no limit," Granger said, "to the
progressive changes in racial attitudes and relationships which can be
made when sufficiently enlightened and intelligent officer leadership
is in command." The development of hard and fast rules, he concluded,
was unnecessary, but the Bureau of Naval Personnel must constantly see
to it that commanders resisted the "influence of local conventions."

At Pearl Harbor Granger visited three of the more than two hundred
auxiliary ships manned by mixed crews. On two the conditions were
excellent. The commanding officer in each case had taken special   (p. 149)
pains to avoid racial differentiation in ratings, assignments,
quarters, and messes; efficiency was superior, morale was high, and
racial conflict was absent. On the third ship Negroes were separated;
they were specifically assigned to a special bunk section in the
general crew compartment and to one end of the chow table. Here there
was dissatisfaction among Negroes and friction with whites.

At the naval air bases in Hawaii performance and morale were good
because Negroes served in a variety of ratings that corresponded to
their training and ability. The air station in Oahu, for example, had
black radar operators, signalmen, yeomen, machinist mates, and others
working amiably with whites; the only sign of racial separation
visible was the existence of certain barracks, no different from the
others, set aside for Negroes.

Morale was lowest in black base companies and construction battalions.
In several instances able commanding officers had availed themselves
of competent black leaders to improve race relations, but in most
units the racial situation was generally poor. Granger regarded the
organization of the units as "badly conceived from the racial
standpoint." Since base companies were composed almost entirely of
nonrated men, spaces for black petty officers were lacking. In such
units the scaffold of subordinate leadership necessary to support and
uphold the authority of the officers was absent, as were opportunities
for individual advancement. Some units had been provisionally
re-formed into logistic support companies, and newly authorized
ratings were quickly filled. This partial remedy had corrected some
deficiencies, but left unchanged a number of the black base companies
in the Pacific area. Although construction battalions had workers of
both races, Granger reported them to be essentially segregated because
whites were assigned to headquarters or to supervisory posts. Some
officers had carried this arbitrary segregation into off-duty areas,
one commander contending that strict segregation was the civilian
pattern and that everyone was accustomed to it.

The Marine Corps lagged far behind the rest of the naval
establishment, and there was little pretense of conforming with the
Navy's racial policy. Black marines remained rigidly segregated and
none of the few black officer candidates, all apparently well
qualified, had been commissioned. Furthermore, some black marines who
wanted to enlist as regulars were waiting word whether they could be
included in the postwar Marine Corps. Approximately 85 percent of the
black marines in the Pacific area were in depot and ammunition
companies and steward groups. In many cases their assignments failed
to match their qualifications and previous training. Quite a few
specialists complained of having been denied privileges ordinarily
accorded white men of similar status--for example, opportunities to
attend schools for first sergeants, musicians, and radar operators.
Black technicians were frequently sent to segregated and hastily
constructed schools or detached to Army installations for schooling
rather than sent to Marine Corps schools. Conversely, some white
enlisted men, assigned to black units for protracted periods as
instructors, were often accorded the unusual privilege of living in
officers' quarters and eating in the officers' mess in order to
preserve racial segregation.

Most black servicemen, Granger found, resented the white fleet     (p. 150)
shore patrols in the Pacific area which they considered biased in
handling disciplinary cases and reporting offenders. The commanding
officer of the shore patrol in Honolulu defended the practice because
he believed the use of Negroes in this duty would be highly dangerous.
Granger disagreed, pointing to the successful employment of black
shore patrols in such fleet liberty cities as San Diego and Miami. He
singled out the situation in Guam, which was patrolled by an all-white
Marine Corps guard regarded by black servicemen as racist in attitude.
Frequently, racial clashes occurred, principally over the attentions
of native women, but it was the concentration of Negroes in the naval
barracks at Guam, Granger concluded, along with the lack of black
shore patrols, that intensified racial isolation, induced a suspicion
of racial policies, and aggravated resentment.

At every naval installation Granger heard vigorous complaints over the
contrast between black and white ratings and promotions. Discrepancies
could be explained partly by the fact that, since the general service
had been opened to Negroes fairly late in the war, many white men had
more than two years seniority over any black. But Granger found
evidence that whites were transferred into units to receive promotions
and ratings due eligible black members. In many cases, he found
"indisputable racial discrimination" by commanding officers, with the
result that training was wasted, trained men were prevented from
acquiring essential experience and its rewards, and resentment

Evidence of overt prejudice aside, Granger stressed again and again
that the primary cause of the Navy's racial problems was segregation.
Segregation was "impractical and inefficient," he pointed out, because
racial isolation bred suspicion, which in turn inflamed resentment,
and finally provoked insubordination. The best way to integrate
Negroes, Granger felt, was to take the most natural course, that is,
eliminate all special provisions, conditions, or cautions regarding
their employment. "There should be no exceptional approach to problems
involving Negroes," he counseled, "for the racial factor in naval
service will disappear only when problems involving Negroes are
accepted as part of the Navy's general program for insuring efficient
performance and first-class discipline."

Despite his earlier insistence on a fair percentage of Negroes in the
postwar Regular Navy, Granger conceded that the number and proportion
would probably decrease during peacetime. It was hardly likely, he
added, that black enlistment would exceed 5 percent of the total
strength, a manageable proportion. He even saw some advantages in
smaller numbers, since, as the educational standards for all enlistees
rose, the integration of relatively few but better qualified Negroes
would "undoubtedly make for greater racial harmony and improved naval

Despite the breadth and acuity of his observations, Granger suggested
remarkedly few changes. Impressed by the progress made in the
treatment of Negroes during the war, he apparently expected it to
continue uninterrupted. Although his investigations uncovered basic
problems that would continue to trouble the Navy, he did not       (p. 151)
recognize them as such. For his part, Forrestal sent Granger's
voluminous reports with their few recommendations to his military
staff and thanked the Urban League official for his contribution.[5-63]

                   [Footnote 5-63: Memo, J.F. [James Forrestal] for Vice
                   Adm Jacobs (Chief of Naval Personnel), 23 Aug 45;
                   Ltr, SecNav to Granger, 29 Dec 45, both in 54-1-13,
                   Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

Although different in approach and point of view, Granger's
observations neatly complemented the findings and recommendations of
the Committee on Negro Personnel. Both reinforced the secretary's
postwar policy aims and both supported his gradualist approach to
racial reform. Granger cited segregation, in particular the
concentration of masses of black sailors, as the principal cause of
racial unrest and poor morale among Negroes. The committee urged the
gradual integration of the general service in the name of military
efficiency. Granger and the committee also shared certain blind spots.
Both were encouraged by the progress toward full-scale integration
that occurred during the war, but this improvement was nominal at
best, a token bow to changing conditions. Their assumption that
integration would spread to all branches of the Navy neglected the
widespread and deeply entrenched opposition to integration that would
yield only to a strategy imposed by the Navy's civilian and military
leaders. Finally, the hope that integration would spread ignored the
fact that after the war few Negroes except stewards would be able to
meet the enlistment requirements for the Regular Navy. In short, the
postwar Navy, so far as Negroes were concerned, was likely to resemble
the prewar Navy.

The search for a postwar racial policy led the Army and Navy down some
of the same paths. The Army manpower planners decided that the best
way to avoid the inefficient black divisions was to organize Negroes
into smaller, and therefore, in their view, more efficient segregated
units in all the arms and services. At the same time Secretary
Forrestal's advisers decided that the best way to avoid the
concentration of Negroes who could not be readily assimilated in the
general service was to integrate the small remnant of black
specialists and leave the majority of black sailors in the separate
Steward's Branch. In both instances the experiences of World War II
had successfully demonstrated to the traditionalists that large-scale
segregated units were unacceptable, but neither service was yet ready
to accept large-scale integration as an alternative.

CHAPTER 6                                                          (p. 152)

New Directions

All the services developed new racial policies in the immediate
postwar period. Because these policies were responses to racial
stresses peculiar to each service and were influenced by the varied
experiences of each, they were, predictably, disparate in both
substance and approach; because they were also reactions to a common
set of pressures on the services they proved to be, perhaps not so
predictably, quite similar in practical consequences. One pressure
felt by all the services was the recently acquired knowledge that the
nation's military manpower was not only variable but also limited in
quantity. Military efficiency demanded, therefore, that the services
not only make the most effective use of available manpower, but also
improve its quality. Since Negroes, who made up approximately 10
percent of the population, formed a substantial part of the nation's
manpower, they could no longer be considered primarily a source of
unskilled labor. They too must be employed appropriately, and to this
end a higher proportion of Negroes in the services must be qualified
for specialized jobs.

Continuing demands by civil rights groups added to the pressure on the
services to employ Negroes according to their abilities. Arguing that
Negroes had the right to enjoy the privileges and share the
responsibilities of citizenship, civil rights spokesmen appeared
determined to test the constitutionality of the services' wartime
policies in the courts. Their demands placed the Truman administration
on the defensive and served warning on the armed forces that never
again could they look to the exclusion of black Americans as a
long-term solution to their racial problems.

In addition to such pressures, the services had to reckon with a more
immediate problem. Postwar black reenlistment, particularly among
service men stationed overseas, was climbing far beyond expectation.
As the armed forces demobilized in late 1945 and early 1946, the
percentage of Negroes in the Army rose above its wartime high of 9.68
percent of the enlisted strength and was expected to reach 15 percent
and more by 1947. Aside from the Marine Corps, which experienced a
rapid drop in black enlistment, the Navy also expected a rise in the
percentage of Negroes, at least in the near future. The increase
occurred in part because Negroes, who had less combat time than whites
and therefore fewer eligibility points for discharge, were being
separated from service later and more slowly. The rise reflected as
well the Negro's expectation that the national labor market would
deteriorate in the wake of the war. Although greater opportunities for
employment had developed for black Americans, civilians already filled
the posts and many young Negroes preferred the job security of a
military career. But there was another, more poignant reason why many
Negroes elected to remain in uniform: they were afraid to reenter  (p. 153)
what seemed a hostile society and preferred life in the armed forces,
imperfect as that might be. The effect of this increase on the
services, particularly the largest service, the Army, was sharp and
direct. Since many Negroes were poorly educated, they were slow to
learn the use of sophisticated military equipment, and since the best
educated and qualified men, black and white, tended to leave, the
services faced the prospect of having a large proportion of their
enlisted strength black and unskilled.

_The Gillem Board Report_

Clearly, a new policy was necessary, and soon after the Japanese
surrender Assistant Secretary McCloy sent to the recently appointed
Secretary of War the accumulated pile of papers on the subject of how
best to employ Negroes in the postwar Army. Along with the answers to
the questionnaires sent to major commanders and a collection of
interoffice memos went McCloy's reminder that the matter ought to be
dealt with soon. McCloy wanted to form a committee of senior officers
to secure "an objective professional view" to be used as a base for
attacking the whole race problem. But while he considered it important
to put this professional view on record, he still expected it to be
subject to civilian review.[6-1]

                   [Footnote 6-1: Memo, McCloy for SW, 17 Sep 45, SW
                   291.2; Ltr, McCloy to author, 25 Sep 69, CMH

Robert P. Patterson became Secretary of War on 27 September 1945,
after serving with Henry Stimson for five years, first as assistant
and later as under secretary. Intimately concerned with racial matters
in the early years of the war, Patterson later became involved in war
procurement, a specialty far removed from the complex and
controversial racial situation that faced the Army. Now as secretary
he once again assumed an active role in the Army's black manpower
problems and quickly responded to McCloy's request for a policy
review.[6-2] In accordance with Patterson's oral instructions, General
Marshall appointed a board, under the chairmanship of Lt. Gen. Alvan
C. Gillem, Jr., which met on 1 October 1945. Three days later a formal
directive signed by the Deputy Chief of Staff and approved by the
Secretary of War ordered the board to "prepare a policy for the use of
the authorized Negro manpower potential during the postwar period
including the complete development of the means required to derive the
maximum efficiency from the full authorized manpower of the nation in
the event of a national emergency."[6-3] On this group, to be known as
the Gillem Board, would fall the responsibility for formulating a
policy, preparing a directive, and planning the use of Negroes in the
postwar Army.

                   [Footnote 6-2: See, for example, Memo, SW for CofS, 7
                   Nov 45, SW 291.2; see also Ltr, McCloy to author,
                   25 Sep 69.]

                   [Footnote 6-3: Quoted in Memo, Gen Gillem for CofS,
                   17 Nov 45, sub: Report of Board of General Officers
                   on Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Post-War
                   Army, copy in CSGOT 291.2 (1945) BP.]

None of the board members was particularly prepared for the new
assignment. General Gillem, a Tennessean, had come up through the
ranks to command the XIII Corps in Europe during World War II.
Although he had written one of the 1925 War College studies on the (p. 154)
use of black troops and had many black units in his corps, Gillem
probably owed his appointment to the fact that he was a three-star
general, available at the moment, and had recently been selected by
the Chief of Staff to direct a Special Planning Division study on the
use of black troops that had been superseded by the new board.[6-4]
Burdened with the voluminous papers collected by McCloy, Gillem headed
a board composed of Maj. Gen. Lewis A. Pick, a Virginian who had built
the Ledo Road in the China-Burma-India theater; Brig. Gen. Winslow C.
Morse of Michigan, who had served in a variety of assignments in the
Army Air Forces culminating in wartime duties in China; and Brig. Gen.
Aln D. Warnock, the recorder without vote, a Texan who began his
career in the Arizona National Guard and had served in Iceland during
World War II.[6-5] These men had broad and diverse experience and gave
the board a certain geographical balance. Curiously enough, none was a
graduate of West Point.[6-6]

                   [Footnote 6-4: Interv, Capt Alan Osur, USAF, with Lt
                   Gen Alvan C. Gillem (USA Ret.), 3 Feb 72, copy in

                   [Footnote 6-5: Memo, Maj Gen Ray Porter, Dir, Spec
                   Planning Div, for Gillem, 28 Sep 45, sub: War
                   Department Special Board on Negro Manpower, WDCSA

                   [Footnote 6-6: In a later comment on the selections,
                   McCloy said that the geographical spread and lack
                   of West Point representation was accidental and
                   that the use of general officers reflected the
                   importance of the subject to him and to Patterson.
                   See Ltr, McCloy to author, 25 Sep 69, and Ltr, Gen
                   Morse to author, 10 Sep 74, CMH files.]

[Illustration: GENERAL GILLEM.]

Although new to the subject, the board members worked quickly. Less
than a month after their first session, Gillem informed the Chief of
Staff that they had already reached certain conclusions. They
recognized the need to build on the close relationships developed
between the races during the war by introducing progressive measures
that could be put into operation promptly and would provide for the
assignment of black troops on the basis of individual merit and
ability alone. After studying and comparing the racial practices of
the other services, the board decided that the Navy's partial
integration had stimulated competition which improved black
performance without causing racial friction. By contrast, strict
segregation in the Marine Corps required longer training periods and
closer supervision for black marines. In his memorandum Gillem
refrained from drawing the logical conclusion and simply went on to
note that the Army had, for example, integrated its black and white
patients in hospitals because of the greater expense, inefficiency,
and general impracticality of duplicating complex medical          (p. 155)
equipment and installations.[6-7] By inference the same disadvantages
applied to maintaining separate training facilities, operational units,
and the rest of the apparatus of the shrinking Army establishment. At
one point in his progress report, Gillem seemed close to recommending
integration, at least to the extent already achieved in the Navy. But
stated explicitly such a recommendation would have been a radical
step, out of keeping with the climate of opinion in the country and in
the Army itself.

                   [Footnote 6-7: Memo, Gen Gillem for CofS, 26 Oct 45,
                   sub: Progress Rpt on Board Study of Utilization of
                   Negro Manpower in the Post-War Army, WDCSA 291.2;
                   see also Interv, Osur with Gillem.]

On 17 November 1945 the Gillem Board finished the study and sent its
report to the Chief of Staff.[6-8] In six weeks the board had questioned
more than sixty witnesses, consulted a mass of documentary material,
and drawn up conclusions and recommendations on the use of black
troops. The board declared that its recommendations were based on two
complementary principles: black Americans had a constitutional right
to fight, and the Army had an obligation to make the most effective
use of every soldier. But the board also took into account reports of
the Army's wartime experience with black units. It referred constantly
to this experience, citing the satisfactory performance of the black
service units and some of the smaller black combat units, in
particular the artillery and tank battalions. It also described the
black infantry platoons integrated into white companies in Europe as
"eminently successful." At the same time large black combat units had
not been satisfactory, most often because their junior officers and
noncommissioned officers lacked the ability to lead. The difficulties
the Army encountered in properly placing its black troops during the
war, the board decided, stemmed to some extent from inadequate staff
work and improper planning. Poor staff work allowed a disproportionate
number of Negroes with low test scores to be allocated to combat
elements. Lack of early planning, constant reorganization and
regrouping of black units, and continuous shifting of individuals from
one type of training to another had confused and bewildered black
troops, who sometimes doubted that the Army intended to commit them to
combat at all.

                   [Footnote 6-8: Memo, Gillem for CofS, 17 Nov 45, sub:
                   Report of Board of General Officers on the
                   Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Post-War Army.
                   Unless otherwise noted this section is based on the

It was necessary, the board declared, to avoid repetition of this
experience. Advance planning was needed to develop a broader base of
trained men among black troops to provide cadres and leaders to meet
national emergencies more efficiently. The Army had to realize and
take advantage of the advances made by Negroes in education, industry,
and government service. The wide range of skills attained by Negroes
had enhanced their military value and made possible a broader
selectivity with consequent benefit to military efficiency. Thus, the
Army had to adopt a racial policy that provided for the progressive
and flexible use of black manpower "within proportions corresponding
to those in the civilian population." This policy, it added, must "be
implemented _promptly ... must_ be objective by nature ... must    (p. 156)
eliminate, at the earliest practicable moment, any special
consideration based on race ... and should point towards the immediate
objective of an evaluation of the Negro on the basis of individual
merit and ability."

The board made eighteen specific recommendations, of which the
following were the most important.

"That combat and service units be organized and activated from the
Negro manpower available in the postwar Army to meet the requirements
of training and expansion and in addition qualified individuals be
utilized in appropriate special and overhead units." The use of
qualified Negroes in overhead units was the first break with the
traditional policy of segregation, for though black enlisted men would
continue to eat and sleep in segregated messes and barracks, they
would work alongside white soldiers and perform the same kind of duty
in the same unit.

"The proportion of Negro to white manpower as exists in the civil
population be the accepted ratio for creating a troop basis in the
postwar Army."[6-9]

                   [Footnote 6-9: The 10 percent quota that eventually
                   emerged from the Gillem Board was an approximation;
                   Gillem later recalled that the World War II
                   enlisted ratio was nearer 9.5 percent, but that
                   General Eisenhower, the Chief of Staff, saying he
                   could not remember that, suggested making it "an
                   even 10 percent." See Interv, Osur with Gillem.]

"That Negro units organized or activated for the postwar Army conform
in general to other units of the postwar Army but the maximum strength
of type [sic] units should not exceed that of an infantry regiment or
comparable organization." Here the board wanted the Army to avoid the
division-size units of World War II but retain separate black units
which would be diversified enough to broaden the professional base of
Negroes in the Regular Army by offering them a larger selection of
military occupations.

"That in the event of universal training in peacetime additional
officer supervision is supplied to units which have a greater than
normal percentage of personnel falling into A.G.C.T. classifications
IV and V." Such a policy had existed in World War II, but was never
carried out.

"That a staff group of selected officers whose background has included
commanding troops be formed within the G-1 Division of the staffs of
the War Department and each major command of the Army to assist in the
planning, promulgation, implementation and revision of policies
affecting all racial minorities." This was the administrative
machinery the board wanted to facilitate the prompt and efficient
execution of the Army's postwar racial policies.

"That reenlistment be denied to regular Army soldiers who meet only
the minimum standards." This provision was in line with the concept
that the peacetime Army was a cadre to be expanded in time of
emergency. As long as the Army accepted all reenlistments regardless
of aptitude and halted black enlistments when black strength exceeded
10 percent, it would deny enlistment to many qualified Negroes. It
would also burden the Army with low-scoring men who would never rise
above the rank of private and whose usefulness in a peacetime      (p. 157)
cadre, which had the function of training for wartime expansion,
would be extremely limited.

"That surveys of manpower requirements conducted by the War Department
include recommendations covering the positions in each installation of
the Army which could be filled by Negro military personnel." This
suggestion complemented the proposal to use Negroes in overhead
positions on an individual basis. By opening more positions to
Negroes, the Army would foster leadership, maintain morale, and
encourage a competitive spirit among the better qualified. By forcing
competition with whites "on an individual basis of merit," the Army
would become more attractive as a career to superior Negroes, who
would provide many needed specialists as a "nucleus for rapid
expansion of Army units in time of emergency."

"That groupings of Negro units with white units in composite
organizations be continued in the postwar Army as a policy." Since
World War II demonstrated that black units performed satisfactorily
when grouped or operated with white combat units, the inclusion of a
black service company in a white regiment or a heavy weapons company
in an infantry battalion could perhaps be accomplished "without
encountering insurmountable difficulties." Such groupings would build
up a professional relationship between blacks and whites, but, the
board warned, experimentation must not risk "the disruption of
civilian racial relationships."

"That there be accepted into the Regular Army an unspecified number of
qualified Negro officers ... that all officers, regardless of race, be
required to meet the same standard for appointment ... be accorded
equal rights and opportunities for advancement and professional
improvement; and be required to meet the same standard for
appointment, promotion and retention in all components of the Army."
The board set no limit on the number of black officers in the Army,
nor did it suggest that black officers be restricted to service in
black units.

Its report rendered, the board remained in existence ready to make
revisions "as may be warranted" by the comments of the many
individuals and agencies that were to review the policy in conformance
with a directive of the Secretary of War.[6-10]

                   [Footnote 6-10: Memo, Brig Gen H. I. Hodes, ADCofS,
                   for Gillem, 24 Nov 45, sub: War Department Special
                   Board on Negro Management, WDCSA 320.2 (17 Nov

No two individuals were more intimately concerned with the course of
events that led to the Gillem Board Report than John J. McCloy and
Truman Gibson, and although both were about to leave government
service, each gave the new Secretary of War his opinion of the
report.[6-11] McCloy called the report a "fine achievement" and a "great
advance over previous studies." It was most important, he said, that
the board had stated the problem in terms of manpower efficiency. At
the same time both men recognized ambiguities in the board's       (p. 158)
recommendations, and their criticisms were strong, precise, and,
considering the conflicts that developed in the Army over these
issues, remarkedly acute. Both agreed the report needed a clear
statement on the basic issue of segregation, and they wanted the board
to eliminate the quota. Gibson pointed out that the board proposed as
a long-range objective the utilization of all persons on the basis of
individual ability alone. "This means, of course," he announced with
more confidence than was warranted, "a completely integrated Army." In
the interest of eventually achieving an integrated Army he was willing
to settle for less than immediate and total integration, but
nevertheless he attacked the board for what he called the vagueness of
its recommendations. Progressive and planned integration, he told
Secretary Patterson, demanded a clear and explicit policy stating that
segregation was outmoded and integration inevitable, and the Army
should move firmly and steadily from one to the other.

                   [Footnote 6-11: Memo, Civilian Aide for ASW, 13 Nov
                   45, ASW 291.2 Negro Troops (Post War); Ltr, idem to
                   SW, 13 Nov 45; Memo, McCloy for Patterson, 24 Nov
                   45; Memo, Gibson for SW, 28 Nov 45. Last three in
                   SW 291.2. The Gibson quote is from the 28 November

On some fundamental issues McCloy thought the board did "not speak
with the complete clarity necessary," but he considered the ambiguity
unintentional. Experience showed, he reminded the secretary, "that we
cannot get enforcement of policies that permit of any possibility of
misconstruction." Directness, he said, was required in place of
equivocation based on delicacy. If the Gillem Board intended black
officers to command white officers and men, it should have said so
flatly. If it meant the Army should try unsegregated and mixed units,
it should have said so. Its report, McCloy concluded, should have put
these matters beyond doubt. He was equally forthright in his rejection
of the quota, which he found impractical because it deprived the Army
of many qualified Negroes who would be unable to enlist when the quota
was full. Even if the quota was meant as a floor rather than a
ceiling, McCloy thought it objectionable. "I do not see any place," he
wrote, "for a quota in a policy that looks to utilize Negroes on the
basis of ability."

If the Gillem Board revealed the Army's willingness to compromise in
treating a pressing efficiency problem, detailed comments by
interested staff agencies revealed how military traditionalists hoped
to avoid a pressing social problem. For just as McCloy and Gibson
criticized the board for failing to spell out concrete procedures
toward integration, other staff experts generally approved the board's
report precisely because its ambiguities committed them to very
little. Their specific criticisms, some betraying the biases of the
times, formed the basis of the standard traditionalist defense of the
racial _status quo_ for the next five years.

Comments from the staff's personnel organization set the tone of this
criticism.[6-12] The Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, G-1, Maj.
Gen. Willard S. Paul, approved the board's recommendations, calling
them a "logical solution to the problem of effective utilization of
Negro manpower." Although he thought the report "sufficiently      (p. 159)
detailed to permit intelligent, effective planning," he passed along
without comment the criticisms of his subordinates. He was opposed to
the formation of a special staff group. "We must soon reach the
point," he wrote, "where our general staff must be able to cope with
such problems without the formation of ad hoc committees or

                   [Footnote 6-12: For examples of this extensive review
                   of the Gillem Board Report in G-1, see the
                   following Memos: Col J. F. Cassidy (Exec Office,
                   G-1) for Col Parks, 10 Dec 45; Chief, Officer
                   Branch, G-1, for Exec Off, G-1 Policy Group, 14 Dec
                   45; Actg Chief, Req and Res Br, for Chief, Policy
                   Control Group, 14 Dec 45; Lt Col E. B. Jones,
                   Special Projects Br, for G-1, 19 and 21 Dec 45,
                   sub: Policy for Utilization of Negro Manpower in
                   Post-War Army. All in WDGAP 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 6-13: Memo, Gen Paul, G-1, for CofS, 27 Dec
                   45, sub: Policy for Utilization of Negro Manpower
                   in Post-War Army, WDGAP 291.2 (24 Nov 45).]

The Assistant Chief of Staff for Organization and Training, G-3, Maj.
Gen. Idwal H. Edwards, was chiefly concerned with the timing of the
new policy. In trying to employ black manpower on a broader
professional scale, he warned, the Army must recognize the "ineptitude
and limited capacity of the Negro soldier." He wanted various phases
of the new policy timed "with due consideration for all factors such
as public opinion, military requirements and the military situation."
If the priority given public opinion in the sequence of these factors
reflected Edwards's view of their importance, the list is somewhat
curious. Edwards concurred in the recommendations, although he wanted
the special staff group established in the personnel office rather
than in his organization, and he rejected any arbitrary percentage of
black officers. More black officers could be obtained through
expansion of the Reserve Officers' Training Corps, he suggested, but
he rejected the board's call for special classification of all
enlistees in reception and training centers, on grounds that the
centers were not adequate for the task.[6-14]

                   [Footnote 6-14: G-3 Summary Sheet to ADCofS, 2 Jan
                   46, sub: War Department Special Board on Negro
                   Manpower, WDGCT 291.21 (24 Nov 45).]

The chief of the General Staff's Operations Division, Lt. Gen. John E.
Hull, dismissed the Gillem report with several blunt statements: black
enlisted men should be assigned to black units capable of operational
use within white units at the rate of one black battalion per
division; a single standard of professional proficiency should be
followed for white and black officers; and "no Negro officer be given
command of white troops."[6-15]

                   [Footnote 6-15: Memo, Lt Gen John E. Hull, ACofS, OPD
                   (signed Brig Gen E. D. Post, Dep Chief, Theater Gp,
                   OPD), for ACofS, G-3, 4 Jan 46, sub: War Department
                   Special Board on Negro Manpower, WDGCT 291.21.]

The deputy commander of the Army Air Forces, Lt. Gen. Ira C. Eaker,
agreed with the board that the Army should not be "a testing ground
for problems in race relationships." Neither did he think the Air
Forces should organize units for the sole purpose of "advancing the
prestige of one race, especially when it is necessary to utilize
personnel that do not have the proper qualifications in order to keep
these units up to strength." Black combat units should be limited by
the 10 percent quota and by the small number of Negroes qualified for
tactical training. Most Negroes should be placed in Air Forces service
units, where "their wartime record was the best," even though such
placement would leave the Air Forces open to charges of
discrimination. The idea of experimental groupings of black and white
units in composite organizations might prove "impractical," Eaker
wrote to the Chief of Staff, because an Air Forces group operated as
an integral unit rather than as three or four separate squadrons;
units often exchanged men and equipment, and common messes were used.
Composite organizations were practical "only when it is not        (p. 160)
necessary for the units to intermingle continually in order to carry
on efficiently." Why intermingling could not be synonymous with
efficiency, he failed to explain. The inference was clear that
segregation was not only normal but best.

Yet he advocated continuing integrated flying schools and agreed that
Negroes should be stationed where community attitudes were favorable.
He cited the difficulties involved in stationing. For more than two
years the Army Air Forces had tried to find a suitable base for its
only black tactical group. Even in northern cities with large black
communities--Syracuse, New York, Columbus, Ohio, and Windsor Locks,
Connecticut, among others--officials had vehemently protested against
having the black group.

The War Department, Eaker concluded, "should never be ahead of popular
opinion on this subject; otherwise it will put itself in a position of
stimulating racial disorders rather than overcoming them." Along these
lines, and harking back to the Freeman Field incident, he protested
against regulations reaffirmed by the Gillem Board for the joint use
of clubs, theaters, post exchanges, and the like at stations in
localities where such use was contrary to civilian practices.[6-16]

                   [Footnote 6-16: 1st Ind, Lt Gen Ira C. Eaker, Deputy
                   Cmdr, AAF, to CofS, 19 Dec 45, sub: War Department
                   Special Board on Negro Manpower, copy at Tab H,
                   Supplemental Report of Board of Officers on
                   Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Post-War Army,
                   26 Jan 46, copy in CMH.]

The Army Ground Forces headquarters concurred generally with the
Gillem Board's conclusions and recommendations but suggested the Army
not act alone. The headquarters recommended a policy be formulated for
the entire military establishment; only then should individual
elements of the armed forces come forward with their own policies. The
idea that Negroes should serve in numbers proportionate to their
percentage of the population and bear their share of battle losses
"may be desirable but is impracticable and should be abandoned in the
interest of a logical solution."[6-17] Since the abilities of Negroes
were limited, the report concluded, their duties should be restricted.

                   [Footnote 6-17: Memo, Lt Col S. R. Knight (for CG,
                   AGF) for CofS, 18 Dec 45, sub: Army Ground Forces
                   Comments and Recommendations on Report of the War
                   Department Special Board (Gillem) on Negro
                   Manpower, dated 17 Nov 45, GNGPS 370.01 (18 Dec
                   45); AGF Study, "Participation of Negro Troops in
                   the Postwar Military Establishment," 28 Nov 45,
                   forwarded to CofS, ATTN: Dir, WD Special Planning
                   Div, GNDCG 370.01 (28 Nov 45).]

The commanding general of the Army Service Forces claimed the Gillem
Board Report was advocating substantially the same policy his
organization had followed during the war. The Army Service Forces had
successfully used an even larger percentage of Negroes than the Gillem
Board contemplated. Concurring generally with the board's
recommendations, he cautioned that the War Department should not
dictate the use of Negroes in the field; to do so would be a serious
infringement of command prerogatives that left each commander free to
select and assign his men. As for the experimental groupings of black
and white units, the general believed that such mixtures were
appropriate for combat units but not for the separate small units
common to the Army Service Forces. Separate, homogeneous companies or
battalions formed during the war worked well, and experience proved
mixed units impractical below group and regimental echelons.

The Service Forces commander called integration infeasible "for    (p. 161)
the present and foreseeable future." It was unlawful in many areas, he
pointed out, and not common practice elsewhere, and requiring soldiers
to follow a different social pattern would damage morale and defeat
the Army's effort to increase the opportunities and effectiveness of
black soldiers. He did not try to justify his contention, but his
meaning was clear. It would be a mistake for the Army to attempt to
lead the nation in such reforms, especially while reorganization,
unification, and universal military training were being

                   [Footnote 6-18: Memo, Maj Gen Daniel Noce, Actg CofS,
                   ASF, for CofS, 28 Dec 45, sub: War Department
                   Special Board on Negro Manpower, copy at Tab J,
                   Supplemental Report of War Department Special Board
                   on Negro Manpower, 26 Jan 46, CMH files.]

Reconvened in January 1946 to consider the comments on its original
report, the Gillem Board deliberated for two more weeks, heard
additional witnesses, and stood firm in its conclusions and
recommendations.[6-19] The policy it proposed, the board emphasized, had
one purpose, the attainment of maximum manpower efficiency in time of
national emergency. To achieve this end the armed forces must make
full use of Negroes now in service, but future use of black manpower
had to be based on the experience gained in two major wars. The board
considered the policy it was proposing flexible, offering opportunity
for advancement to qualified individuals and at the same time making
possible for the Army an economic use of national manpower as a whole.

                   [Footnote 6-19: Supplemental Report of War Department
                   Special Board on Negro Manpower, "Policy for
                   Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Post-War
                   Army," 26 Jan 46. The following quotations are
                   taken from this amended version of the Gillem Board
                   Report, a copy of which, with all tabs and annexes,
                   is in CMH.]

To its original report the board added a statement at once the hope
and despair of its critics and supporters.

     _The Initial Objectives_: The utilization of the proportionate
     ratio of the manpower made available to the military
     establishment during the postwar period. The manpower potential
     to be organized and trained as indicated by pertinent

     _The Ultimate Objective_: The effective use of _all_ manpower
     made available to the military establishment in the event of a
     major mobilization at some unknown date against an undetermined
     aggressor. The manpower to be utilized, in the event of another
     major war, in the Army without regard to antecedents or race.

     When, and if such a contingency arises, the manpower of the
     nation should be utilized in the best interests of the national

     The Board cannot, and does not, attempt to visualize at this
     time, intermediate objectives. Between the first and ultimate
     objective, timely phasing may be interjected and adjustments made
     in accordance with conditions which may obtain at this
     undetermined date.

The board based its ultimate objective on the fact that the black
community had made important advances in education and job skills in
the past generation, and it expected economic and educational
conditions for Negroes to continue to improve. Since such improvement
would make it possible to employ black manpower in a variety of ways,
the board's recommendations could be only a guide for the future, a
policy that must remain flexible.

To the specific objections raised by the reviewing agencies, the board
replied that although black units eventually should be commanded by
black officers "no need exists for the assignment of Negro commanders
to units composed of white troops." It also agreed with those who  (p. 162)
felt it would be beneficial to correlate Army racial policies with
those of the Navy. On other issues the board stood firm. It rejected
the proposal that individual commanders be permitted to choose
positions where Negroes could be employed in overhead installations on
the grounds that this delegation of responsibility "hazards lack of
uniformity and makes results doubtful." It refused to drop the quota,
arguing it was needed for planning purposes. At the same time the
board did admit that the 10 percent ratio, suitable for the moment,
might be changed in the future in the interest of efficiency--though
changed in which way it did not say.


The board rejected the proposition that the Army Service Forces and
the Army Air Forces were unable to use small black units in white
organizations and took a strong stand for elimination of the
professional private, the career enlistee lacking the background or
ability to advance beyond the lowest rank. Finally, the board rejected
demands that the color line be reestablished in officers' messes and
enlisted recreational facilities. "This large segment of the
population contributed materially to the success attained by our
military forces.... The Negro enjoyed the privileges of citizenship
and, in turn, willingly paid the premium by accepting service. In many
instances, this payment was settled through the medium of the supreme

The board's recommendations were well received, at least in the
highest echelons of the War Department. General Dwight D. Eisenhower,
now Chief of Staff,[6-20] quickly sent the proposed policy to the
Secretary of War with a recommendation for approval "subject to such
adjustment as experience shows is necessary."[6-21] On 28 February 1946
Secretary Patterson approved the new policy in a succinct restatement
of the board's recommendations. The policy and the full Gillem Board
Report were published as War Department Circular 124 on 27 April 1946.
At the secretary's direction the circular was dispatched to the field
"without delay."[6-22] On 4 March the report was released to the
press.[6-23] The most exhaustive and intensive inquiry ever made   (p. 163)
by the Army into the employment of black manpower had survived the
review and analysis process with its conclusions and recommendations

                   [Footnote 6-20: Eisenhower succeeded Marshall as
                   Chief of Staff on 19 November 1945.]

                   [Footnote 6-21: Memo, CofS for SW, 1 Feb 46, sub:
                   Supplemental Report of Board of Officers on
                   Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Post-War Army,
                   WDCSA 320.2 (1 Feb 46).]

                   [Footnote 6-22: Ltr, TAG for CG's, AGF et al., 6 May
                   46, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in the
                   Post-War Army, WDGAP 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 6-23: WD Press Release, 4 Mar 46, "Report
                   of Board of Officers on Utilization of Negro
                   Manpower in the Post-War Army."]

Attitudes toward the new policy varied with interpretations of the
board's statement of objectives. Secretary Patterson saw in the report
"a significant development in the status of the Negro soldiers in the
Army." The immediate effect of using Negroes in composite units and
overhead assignments, he predicted, would be to change War Department
policy on segregation.[6-24] But the success of the policy could not be
guaranteed by a secretary of war, and some of his advisers were more
guarded in their estimates. To Truman Gibson, once again in government
service, but briefly this time, the report seemed a good beginning
because it offered a new approach, one that had originated within the
Army itself. Yet Gibson was wary of its chances for success: The
board's recommendations, he told the Assistant Secretary of War, would
make for a better Army "only if they are effectively carried out."[6-25]
The newly appointed assistant secretary, Howard C. Petersen, was
equally cautious. Explaining the meaning of the report to the Negro
Newspaper Publishers Association, he warned that "a strong policy
weakly enforced will be of little value to the Army."[6-26]

                   [Footnote 6-24: Memo, SW for CofS, 28 Feb 46, WDCSA
                   320.2 (28 Feb 46).]

                   [Footnote 6-25: Memo, Truman Gibson, Expert
                   Consultant to the SW, for Howard C. Petersen, 28
                   Feb 46, ASW 291.2 Negro Troops (Post-War).]

                   [Footnote 6-26: Remarks of the Assistant Secretary of
                   War at Luncheon for Negro Newspaper Publishers
                   Association, 1 Mar 46, ASW 291.2.]

Marcus H. Ray, Gibson's successor as the secretary's adviser on racial
affairs,[6-27] stressed the board's ultimate objective to employ
manpower without regard to race and called its recommendations "a step
in the direction of efficient manpower utilization." It was a
necessary step, he added, because "any racial group which lives under
the stigma of implied inferiority inherent in a system of enforced
separation cannot give over-all top performance in peace or in

                   [Footnote 6-27: Ray, a former commander of an
                   artillery battalion in the 92d Infantry Division,
                   was appointed civilian aide on 2 January 1946; see
                   WD Press Release, 7 Jan 46.]

                   [Footnote 6-28: Ltr, Marcus Ray to Capt Warman K.
                   Welliver, 10 Apr 46, copy in CMH. Welliver, the
                   commander of a black unit during the war, was a
                   student of the subject of Negroes in the Army; see
                   his "Report on the Negro Soldier."]

On the whole, the black community was considerably less sanguine about
the new policy. The _Norfolk Journal and Guide_ called the report a
step in the right direction, but reserved judgment until the Army
carried out the recommendations.[6-29] To a distinguished black
historian who was writing an account of the Negro in World War II, the
Gillem Board Report reflected the Army's ambiguity on racial matters.
"It is possible," L. D. Reddick of the New York Public Library wrote,
"to interpret the published recommendations as pointing in opposite
directions."[6-30] One NAACP official charged that it "tries to dilute
Jim-Crow by presenting it on a smaller scale." After citing the
tremendous advances made by Negroes and all the reasons for ending
segregation, he accused the Gillem Board of refusing to take the   (p. 164)
last step.[6-31] Most black papers adopted the same attitude,
characterizing the new policy as "the same old Army." The Pittsburgh
_Courier_, for one, observed that the new policy meant that the Army
command had undergone no real change of heart.[6-32] Other segments of
the public were more forebearing. One veterans' organization commended
the War Department for the work of the Gillem Board but called its
analysis and recommendations incomplete. Citing evidence that Jim
Crow, not the enemy, "defeated" black combat units, the chairman of
the American Veterans Committee called for an immediate end to

                   [Footnote 6-29: Norfolk _Journal and Guide_, March 9,

                   [Footnote 6-30: Ltr, L. D. Reddick, N.Y. Pub. Lib.,
                   to SW, 12 Mar 46, SW 291.]

                   [Footnote 6-31: Ltr, Bernard Jackson, Youth Council,
                   NAACP Boston Br, to ASW, 4 Apr 46, ASW 291.2 (NT).]

                   [Footnote 6-32: Pittsburgh _Courier_, May 11, 1946.]

                   [Footnote 6-33: Ltr, Charles G. Bolte, Chmn, Amer
                   Vets Cmte, to SW, 8 Mar 46; see also Ltr, Ralph
                   DeNat, Corr Secy, Amer Vets Cmte, to SW, 28 May 46,
                   both in SW 291.2 (Cmte) (9 Aug 46).]

Clearly, opposition to segregation was not going to be overcome with
palliatives and promises, yet Petersen could only affirm that the
Gillem Board Report would mean significant change. He admitted
segregation's tenacious hold on Army thinking and that black units
would continue to exist for some time, but he promised movement toward
desegregation. He also made the Army's usual distinction between
segregation and discrimination. Though there were many instances of
unfair treatment during the war, he noted, these were individual
matters, inconsistent with Army policy, which "has consistently
condemned discrimination." Discrimination, he concluded, must be
blamed on "defects" of enforcement, which would always exist to some
degree in any organization as large as the Army.[6-34]

                   [Footnote 6-34: Ltrs, ASW to Bernard H. Solomon and
                   to Bernard Jackson, 9 Apr 46, both in ASW 291.2.]

Actually, Petersen's promised "movement" toward integration was likely
to be a very slow process. So substantive a change in social practice,
the Army had always argued, required the sustained support of the
American public, and judging from War Department correspondence and
press notices large segments of the public remained unaware of what
the Army was trying to do about its "Negro problem." Most military
journalists continued to ignore the issue; perhaps they considered the
subject of the employment of black troops unimportant compared with
the problems of demobilization, atomic weaponry, and service
unification. For example, in listing the principal military issues
before the United States in the postwar period, military analyst
Hanson Baldwin did not mention the employment of Negroes in the

                   [Footnote 6-35: Hanson Baldwin, "Wanted: An American
                   Military Policy," _Harper's_ 192 (May

Given the composition of the Gillem Board and the climate of opinion
in the nation, the report was exemplary and fair, its conclusions
progressive. If in the light of later developments the recommendations
seem timid, even superficial, it should be remembered to its credit
that the board at least made integration a long-range goal of the Army
and made permanent the wartime guarantee of a substantial black

Nevertheless the ambiguities in the Gillem Board's recommendations
would be useful to those commanders at all levels of the Army who were
devoted to the racial _status quo_. Gillem and his colleagues      (p. 165)
discussed black soldiers in terms of social problems rather than
military efficiency. As a result, their recommendations treated the
problem from the standpoint of how best Negroes could be employed
within the traditional segregated framework even while they spoke of
integration as an ultimate goal. They gave their blessing to the
continued existence of segregated units and failed to inquire whether
segregation might not be a factor in the inefficiency and
ineffectiveness of black units and black soldiers. True, they sought
to use qualified Negroes in specialist jobs as a solution to better
employment of black manpower, but this effort could have little
practical effect. Few were qualified--and determination of
qualifications was often done by those with little sympathy for the
Negro and even less for the educated Negro. Black serviceman holding
critical specialties and those assigned to overhead installations
would never amount to more than a handful of men whose integration
during duty hours only would fall far short even of tokenism.

To point out as the board did that the policy it was recommending no
longer required segregation was meaningless. Until the Army ordered
integration, segregation, simply by virtue of inertia, would remain.
As McCloy, along with Gibson and others, warned, without a strong,
explicit statement of intent by the Army the changes in Army practice
suggested by the Gillem Board would be insignificant. The very
acceptance of the board's report by officials traditionally opposed to
integration should have been fair warning that the report would be
difficult to use as a base for a progressive racial policy; in fact it
could be used to justify almost any course of action. From the start,
the War Department encountered overwhelming difficulties in carrying
out the board's recommendations, and five years later the ultimate
objective was still out of reach.

Clearly, the majority of Army officers viewed segregated service as
the acceptable norm. General Jacob L. Devers, then commanding general
of Army Ground Forces, gave a clue to their view when he told his
fellow officers in 1946 that "we are going to put colored battalions
in white divisions. This is purely business--the social side will not
be brought into it."[6-36] Here then was the dilemma: Was not the Army a
social institution as well as a fighting organization? The solution to
the Army's racial problems could not be achieved by ignoring the
social implications. On both counts there was a reluctance among many
professional soldiers to take in Negroes. They registered acute social
discomfort at the large influx of black soldiers, and many who had
devoted their lives to military service had very real misgivings over
using Negroes in white combat units or forming new black combat units
because they felt that black fighters in the air and on the ground had
performed badly in the past. To entrust the fighting to Negroes who
had failed to prove their competence in this highest mission of the
Army seemed to them to threaten the institution itself.

                   [Footnote 6-36: Remarks by Gen J. L. Devers, Armored
                   Conference Report, 16 May 46.]

Despite these shortcomings, the work of the Gillem Board was a
progressive step in the history of Army race relations. It broke with
the assumption implicit in earlier Army policy that the black soldier
was inherently inferior by recommending that Negroes be assigned   (p. 166)
tasks as varied and skilled as those handled by white soldiers. It
also made integration the Army's goal by declaring as official policy
the ultimate employment of all manpower without regard to race.

Even the board's insistence on a racial quota, it could be argued, had
its positive aspects, for in the end it was the presence of so many
black soldiers in the Korean War that finally ended segregation. In
the meantime, controversy over the quota, whether it represented a
floor supporting minimum black participation or a ceiling limiting
black enlistment, continued unabated, providing the civil rights
groups with a focal point for their complaints. No matter how hard the
Army tried to justify the quota, the quota increased the Army's
vulnerability to charges of discrimination.

_Integration of the General Service_

The Navy's postwar revision of racial policy, like the Army's, was the
inevitable result of its World War II experience. Inundated with
unskilled and undereducated Negroes in the middle of the war, the Navy
had assigned most of these men to segregated labor battalions and was
surprised by the racial clashes that followed. As it began to
understand the connection between large segregated units and racial
tensions, the Navy also came to question the waste of the talented
Negro in a system that denied him the job for which he was qualified.
Perhaps more to the point, the Navy's size and mission made
immediately necessary what the Army could postpone indefinitely.
Unlike the Army, the Navy seriously modified its racial policy in the
last year of the war, breaking up some of the large segregated units
and integrating Negroes in the specialist and officer training
schools, in the WAVES, and finally in the auxiliary fleet and the
recruit training centers.

Yet partial integration was not enough. Lester Granger's surveys and
the studies of the secretary's special committee had demonstrated that
the Navy could resolve its racial problems only by providing equal
treatment and opportunity. But the absurdity of trying to operate two
equal navies, one black and one white, had been obvious during the
war. Only total integration of the general service could serve justice
and efficiency, a conclusion the civil rights advocates had long since
reached. After years of leaving the Navy comparatively at peace, they
now began to demand total integration.

There was no assurance, however, that a move to integration was
imminent when Granger returned from his final inspection trip for
Secretary Forrestal in October 1945. Both Granger and the secretary's
Committee on Negro Personnel had endorsed the department's current
practices, and Granger had been generally optimistic over the reforms
instituted toward the end of the war. Admirals Nimitz and King both
endorsed Granger's recommendations, although neither saw the need for
further change.[6-37] For his part Secretary Forrestal seemed determined
to maintain the momentum of reform. "What steps do we take," he    (p. 167)
asked the Chief of Naval Personnel, "to correct the various practices
... which are not in accordance with Navy standards?"[6-38]

                   [Footnote 6-37: Ltr, CINCPAC&POA to SecNav via Ch,
                   NavPers, 30 Oct 45, sub: Negro Naval
                   Personnel--Pacific Ocean Areas, and 2d Ind, CNO, 7
                   Dec 45, same sub, both in P16-3/MM, OpNavArchives.]

                   [Footnote 6-38: Memo, J. F. for Adm Jacobs, 23 Aug
                   45, 54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

[Illustration: ADMIRAL DENFELD.]

In response the Bureau of Naval Personnel circulated the Granger
reports throughout the Navy and ordered steps to correct practices
identified by Granger as "not in accordance with Navy standards."[6-39]
But it was soon apparent that the bureau would be selective in
adopting Granger's suggestions. In November, for example, the Chief of
Naval Personnel, Admiral Louis E. Denfeld, arguing that officers
"could handle black personnel without any special indoctrination,"
urged the secretary to reject Granger's recommendation that an office
be established in headquarters to deal exclusively with racial
problems. At the same time some of the bureau's recruiting officials
were informing Negroes that their reenlistment in the Regular Navy was
to be limited to the Steward's Branch.[6-40] With the help of Admiral
Nimitz, Chief of Naval Operations, Forrestal quickly put an end to
this recruiting practice, but he paid no further attention to racial
matters except to demand in mid-December a progress report on racial
reforms in the Pacific area.[6-41] Nor did he seem disturbed when the
Pacific commander reported a large number of all-black units, some
with segregated recreational facilities, operating in the Pacific area
as part of the permanent postwar naval organization.[6-42]

                   [Footnote 6-39: Memo, Asst Ch, NavPers, for SecNav,
                   10 Sep 45, sub: Ur Memo of August 23, 1945,
                   Relative to Lester B. Granger ... 54-1-13,
                   Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 6-40: 1st Ind, Chief, NavPers, to Ltr,
                   CINCPAC&POA to SecNav, 30 Oct 45, sub: Negro
                   Personnel--Pacific Ocean Areas (ca. 15 Nov 45),
                   P16-3MM, OpNavArchives; Memo, M. F. Correa (Admin
                   Asst to SecNav) for Capt Robert N. McFarlane, 30
                   Nov 45, 54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 6-41: Forrestal's request for a progress
                   report was circulated in CNO Dispatch 142105Z Dec
                   45 to CINCPAC&POA, quoted in Nelson, "Integration
                   of the Negro," p. 58.]

                   [Footnote 6-42: Memo, CINCPAC&POA for CNO, 5 Jan 46,
                   sub: Negro Naval Personnel--Pacific Ocean Areas,
                   P10/P11, OpNavArchives.]

In the end the decision to integrate the general service came not from
the secretary but from that bastion of military tradition, the Bureau
of Naval Personnel. Despite the general reluctance of the bureau to
liberalize the Navy's racial policy, there had been all along some
manpower experts who wanted to increase the number of specialties open
to black sailors. Capt. Hunter Wood, Jr., for example, suggested in
January 1946 that the bureau make plans for an expansion in
assignments for Negroes. Wood's proposal fell on the sympathetic ears
of Admiral Denfeld, who considered the Granger recommendations     (p. 168)
practical for the postwar Navy. Denfeld, of course, was well aware
that these recommendations had been endorsed by Admirals King and
Nimitz as well as Forrestal, and he himself had gone on record as
believing that Negroes in the peacetime Navy should lose none of the
opportunities opened to them during the war.[6-43]

                   [Footnote 6-43: Admiral Denfeld's statement to the
                   black press representatives in this regard is
                   referred to in Memo, Capt H. Wood, Jr., for Chief,
                   NavPers, 2 Jan 46, P16-3/MM, BuPersRecs.]

Denfeld had had considerable experience with the Navy's evolving
racial policy in his wartime assignment as assistant chief of
personnel where his principal concern had been the efficient
distribution and assignment of men. He particularly objected to the
fact that current regulations complicated what should have been the
routine transfer of sailors. Simple control procedures for the
segregation of Negroes in general service had been effective when
Negroes were restricted to particular shore stations and duties, he
told Admiral Nimitz on 4 January 1946, but now that Negroes were
frequently being transferred from shore to sea and from ship to ship
the restriction of Negroes to auxiliary ships was becoming extremely
difficult to manage and was also "noticeably contrary to the
non-differentiation policy enunciated by the Secretary of the Navy."
The only way to execute that policy effectively and maintain
efficiency, he concluded, was to integrate the general service
completely. Denfeld pointed out that the admission of Negroes to the
auxiliary fleet had caused little friction in the Navy and passed
almost unnoticed by the press. Secretary Forrestal had promised to
extend the use of Negroes throughout the entire fleet if the
preliminary program proved practical, and the time had come to fulfill
that promise. He would start with "the removal of restrictions
governing the type of duty to which general service Negroes can be
assigned," but would limit the number of Negroes on any ship or at any
shore station to a percentage no greater than that of general service
Negroes throughout the Navy.[6-44]

                   [Footnote 6-44: Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to CNO, 4 Jan
                   46, sub: Assignment of Negro Personnel, P16-3MM,

With the enlistment of the Chief of Naval Personnel in the cause, the
move to an integrated general service was assured. On 27 February 1946
the Navy published Circular Letter 48-46: "Effective immediately all
restrictions governing types of assignments for which Negro naval
personnel are eligible are hereby lifted. Henceforth, they shall be
eligible for all types of assignments in all ratings in all activities
and all ships of naval service." The letter went on to specify that
"in housing, messing, and other facilities, there would be no special
accommodations for Negroes." It also directed a redistribution of
personnel by administrative commands so that by 1 October 1946 no ship
or naval activity would be more than 10 percent Negro. The single
exception would be the Naval Academy, where a large contingent of
black stewards would be left intact to serve the midshipmen's meals.

The publication of Circular Letter 48-46 was an important step in the
Navy's racial history. In less than one generation, in fewer years
actually than the average sailor's service life, the Navy had made a
complete about-face. In a sense the new policy was a service       (p. 169)
reform rather than a social revolution; after a 23-year hiatus
integration had once again become the Navy's standard racial policy.
Since headlines are more often reserved for revolutions than
reformations, the new policy attracted little attention. The
metropolitan press gave minimum coverage to the event and never
bothered to follow later developments. For the most part the black
press treated the Navy's announcement with skepticism. On behalf of
Secretary Forrestal, Lester Granger invited twenty-three leading black
editors and publishers to inspect ships in the fleet as well as shore
activities to see for themselves the changes being made. Not one
accepted. As one veteran put it, the editors shrank from praising the
Navy's policy change for fear of being proved hasty. They preferred to
remain on safe ground, "givin' 'em hell."[6-45]

                   [Footnote 6-45: As reported in Ltr, Granger to
                   author, 25 Jun 69, CMH files.]

The editors had every reason to be wary: integration was seriously
circumscribed in the new directive, which actually offered few
guarantees of immediate change. Applying only to enlisted men in the
shore establishment and on ships, the directive ignored the Navy's
all-white officer corps and its nonwhite servants branch of stewards.
Aimed at abolishing discrimination in the service, it failed to
guarantee either through enlistment, assignment guidelines, or
specific racial quotas a fair proportion of black sailors in the
postwar Navy. Finally, the order failed to create administrative
machinery to carry out the new policy. In a very real sense the new
policy mirrored tradition. It was naval tradition to have black
sailors in the integrated ranks and a separate Messman's Branch. The
return to this tradition embodied in the order complemented
Forrestal's philosophy of change as an outgrowth of self-realized
reform. At the same time naval tradition did not include the concept
of high-ranking black officers, white servants, and Negroes in
specialized assignments. Here Forrestal's hope of self-reform did not
materialize, and equal treatment and opportunity for Negroes in the
Navy remained an elusive goal.

But Forrestal and his military subordinates made enough of a start to
draw the fire of white segregationists. The secretary answered charges
and demands in a straightforward manner. When, for example, a
congressman complained that "white boys are being forced to sleep with
these negroes," Forrestal explained that men were quartered and messed
aboard ship according to their place in the ship's organization
without regard to race. The Navy made no attempt to prescribe the
nature or extent of their social relationships, which were beyond the
scope of its authority. Although Forrestal expressed himself as
understanding the strong feelings of some Americans on this matter, he
made it clear that the Navy had finally decided segregation was the
surest way to emphasize and perpetuate the gap between the races and
had therefore adopted a policy of integration.[6-46]

                   [Footnote 6-46: Ltr, Congressman Stephen Pace of
                   Georgia to Forrestal, 22 Jun 46; Ltr, Forrestal to
                   Pace, 14 Aug 46, both in 54-1-13, Forrestal file,

What Forrestal said was true, but the translation of the Navy's
postwar racial policy into the widespread practice of equal treatment
and opportunity for Negroes was still before him and his officers. (p. 170)
To achieve it they would have to fight the racism common in many
segments of American society as well as bureaucratic inertia. If put
into practice the new policy might promote the efficient use of naval
manpower and give the Navy at least a brief respite from the criticism
of civil rights advocates, but because of Forrestal's failure to give
clear-cut direction--a characteristic of his approach to racial
reform--the Navy might well find itself proudly trumpeting a new
policy while continuing its old racial practices.

_The Marine Corps_

As part of the naval establishment, the Marine Corps fell under the
strictures of Secretary Forrestal's announced policy of racial
nondiscrimination.[6-47] At the same time the Marine Corps was
administratively independent of the Chief of Naval Operations and the
Chief of Naval Personnel, and Circular Letter 48-46, which
desegregated the Navy's general service, did not apply to the corps.
In the development of manpower policy the corps was responsible to the
Navy, in organization it closely resembled the Army, but in size and
tradition it was unique. Each of these factors contributed to the
development of the corps' racial policy and helped explain its postwar
racial practices.

                   [Footnote 6-47: The latest pronouncement of that
                   policy was ALNAV 423-45.]

Because of the similarities in organization and mission between the
Army and the Marine Corps, the commandant leaned toward the Army's
solution for racial problems. The Army staff had contended that
racially separate service was not discriminatory so long as it was
equal, and through its Gillem Board policy it accepted the
responsibility of guaranteeing that Negroes would be represented in
equitable numbers and their treatment and opportunity would be similar
to that given whites. Since the majority of marines served in the
ground units of the Fleet Marine Force, organized like the Army in
regiments, battalions, and squadrons with tables of organization and
equipment, the formation of racially separate units presented no great

Although the Marine Corps was similar to the Army in organization, it
was very different in size and tradition. With a postwar force of
little more than 100,000 men, the corps was hardly able to guarantee
its segregated Negroes equal treatment and opportunity in terms of
specialized training and variety of assignment. Again in contrast to
the Army and Navy with their long tradition of Negroes in service, the
Marine Corps, with a few unauthorized exceptions, had been an
exclusively white organization since 1798. This habit of racial
exclusion was strengthened by those feelings of intimacy and
fraternity natural to any small bureaucracy. In effect the marines
formed a small club in which practically everybody knew everybody else
and was reluctant to admit strangers.[6-48] Racial exclusion often
warred with the corps' clear duty to provide the fair and equal
service for all Americans authorized by the Secretary of the Navy. At
one point the commandant, General Alexander Vandegrift, even had   (p. 171)
to remind his local commanders that black marines would in fact be
included in the postwar corps.[6-49]

                   [Footnote 6-48: See USMC Oral History Interviews, Lt
                   Gen James L. Underhill, 25 Mar 68, and Lt Gen Ray
                   A. Robinson, 18 Mar 68, both in Hist Div, HQMC.]

                   [Footnote 6-49: Memo, CO, 26th Marine Depot Co.,
                   Fifth Service Depot, Second FMF, Pacific, for CMC,
                   2 Nov 45, with Inds, sub: Information Concerning
                   Peacetime Colored Marine Corps, Request for; Memos,
                   CMC for CG, FMF (Pacific), et al., 11 Dec 45, sub:
                   Voluntary Enlistments, Negro Marines, in Regular
                   Marine Corps, Assignment of Quotas; idem for Cmdr,
                   MCAB, Cherry Point, N.C., et al., 14 Dec 45. Unless
                   otherwise noted, all documents cited in this
                   section are located in Hist Div, HQMC.]

One other factor influenced the policy deliberations of the Marine
Corps: its experiences with black marines during World War II.
Overshadowing the praise commanders gave the black depot companies
were reports of the trials and frustrations suffered by those who
trained the large black combat units. Many Negroes trained long and
hard for antiaircraft duty, yet a senior group commander found them
ill-suited to the work because of "emotional instability and lack of
appreciation of materiel." One battery commander cited the "mechanical
ineptitude" of his men; another fell back on "racial characteristics
of the Negro as a whole" to explain his unit's difficulty.[6-50]
Embodying rash generalization and outright prejudice, the reports of
these commanders circulated in Marine Corps headquarters, also
revealed that a large group of black marines experienced enough
problems in combat training to cast serious doubt on the reliability
of the defense battalions. This doubt alone could explain the corps'
decision to relegate the units to the backwaters of the war zone.
Seeing only the immediate shortcomings of the large black combat
units, most commanders ignored the underlying reasons for the failure.
The controversial commander of the 51st Defense Battalion, Col. Curtis
W. LeGette,[6-51] however, gave his explanation to the commandant in
some detail. He reported that more than half the men in the 51st as it
prepared for overseas deployment--most of them recent draftees--were
in the two lowest categories, IV and V, for either general
classification or mechanical aptitude. That some 212 of the
noncommissioned officers of the units were also in categories IV and V
was the result of the unit's effort to carry out the commandant's
order to replace white noncommissioned officers as quickly as
possible. The need to develop black noncommissioned officers was
underscored by LeGette, who testified to a growing resentment among
his black personnel at the assignment of new white noncoms.
Symptomatic of the unit's basic problems in 1944 was what LeGette
called an evolving "occupational neurosis" among white officers forced
to serve for lengthy periods with black marines.[6-52]

                   [Footnote 6-50: AAA Gp, 51st Defense Bn, FMF,
                   Montford Pt., Gp Cmdr's Endorsement on Annual
                   Record Practice, Year 1943, 20 Dec 43; AAA Gp, 51st
                   Defense Bn, FMF, Montford Pt., Battery Cmdr's
                   Narrative Report of Record Practice, 1943, 21 Dec
                   43; idem, Battery Cmdr's Narrative Rpt (signed R.
                   H. Twisdale) (ca. 20 Dec 43).]

                   [Footnote 6-51: For the extensive charges and
                   countercharges concerning the controversy between
                   Colonel LeGette and his predecessor in the 51st,
                   see files of Hist Div, HQMC.]

                   [Footnote 6-52: Memo, CO, 51st Defense Bn, FMF, for
                   CMC, 20 Jul 44, sub: Combat Efficiency, Fifty-First
                   Defense Battalion, Serial 1085.]

The marines experienced far fewer racial problems than either the Army
or Navy during the war, but the difficulties that occurred were
nonetheless important in the development of postwar racial policy. The
basic cause of race problems was the rigid concentration of        (p. 172)
often undertrained and undereducated men, who were subjected to racial
slurs and insensitive treatment by some white officials and given
little chance to serve in preferred military specialties or to advance
in the labor or defense units or steward details to which they were
invariably consigned. But this basic cause was ignored by Marine Corps
planners when they discussed the postwar use of Negroes. They
preferred to draw other lessons from the corps' wartime experience.
The employment of black marines in small, self-contained units
performing traditional laboring tasks was justified precisely because
the average black draftee was less well-educated and experienced in
the use of the modern equipment. Furthermore, the correctness of this
procedure seemed to be demonstrated by the fact that the corps had
been relatively free of the flare-ups that plagued the other services.
Many officials would no doubt have preferred to eliminate race
problems by eliminating Negroes from the corps altogether. Failing
this, they were determined that regular black marines continue to
serve in those assignments performed by black marines during the war:
in service units, stewards billets, and a few antiaircraft artillery
units, the postwar successors to defense battalions.[6-53]

                   [Footnote 6-53: Shaw and Donnelly, _Blacks in the
                   Marine Corps_, pp 47-49; Interv, James Westfall
                   with Col Curtis W. LeGette (USMC, Ret.), 8 Feb 72,
                   copy in CMH.]

[Illustration: GENERAL THOMAS.]

The development of a postwar racial policy to carry out the Navy
Department's nondiscrimination order in the Marine Corps fell to the
Division of Plans and Policies and its director, Brig. Gen. Gerald C.
Thomas. It was a complicated task, and General Thomas and his staff
after some delay established a series of guidelines intended to steer
a middle path between exclusion and integration that would be
nondiscriminatory. In addition to serving in the Steward's Branch,
which contained 10 percent of all blacks in the corps, Negroes would
serve in segregated units in every branch of the corps, and their
strength would total some 2,800 men. This quota would not be like that
established in the Army, which was pegged to the number of black
soldiers during the war and which ultimately was based on national
population ratios. The Marine Corps ratio of blacks to whites would be
closer to 1 in 30 and would merely represent the estimated number of
billets that might be filled by Negroes in self-sustaining segregated

The directorate also established a table of distribution plan that for
the first time provided for black regular marines in aviation units
and several other Marine Corps activities. Aviation units alone    (p. 173)
accounted for 25 percent of the marines in the postwar corps, General
Thomas contended, and must absorb their proportionate share of black
strength. Further, the Navy's policy of nondiscrimination demanded
that all types of assignments be opened to black marines. Segregation
"best suits the needs of the Marine Corps," General Thomas concluded.
Ignoring the possibility of black officers and women marines, he
thought that the opening of all specialties and types of duty to the
enlisted ranks would find the Marine Corps "paralleling Navy
policy."[6-54] Clearly, the Division of Plans and Policies wanted the
corps to adopt a formula roughly analogous to the Gillem Board's
separate but equal system without that body's provisions for a fixed
quota, black officers, or some integrated service.

                   [Footnote 6-54: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 8 Apr 46, sub: Negro Personnel in the
                   Post-War Marine Corps. This memo was not submitted
                   for signature and was superseded by a memo of 13
                   May 46.]

But even this concession to nondiscrimination was never approved, for
the Plans and Policies Division ran afoul of a basic fact of
segregation: the postwar strength of many elements of the Marine Corps
was too small to support separate racial units. The Director of
Aviation, for example, argued that because of the size and nature of
his operation, segregated service was impossible. A substantial number
of his enlisted men also did double duty by serving in air stations
where Negroes could not be segregated, he explained. Only completely
separate aviation units, police and maintenance, and construction
units would be available for Negroes, a state of affairs "which would
be open to adverse criticism." He recommended instead that Negroes in
aviation be used only as stewards.[6-55] He failed to explain how this
solution would escape adverse criticism.

                   [Footnote 6-55: Memos, Dir, Aviation, for CMC, 26 Apr
                   46, sub: Negro Personnel in the Post-War Marine
                   Corps, and 31 May 46, sub: Enlistment of Negroes
                   "For Duty in Aviation Units Only."]

General Thomas rejected these proposals, repeating that Secretary
Forrestal's nondiscrimination policy demanded that a separate but
equal system be extended throughout the Marine Corps. He also borrowed
one of the Gillem Board's arguments: Negroes must be trained in the
postwar military establishment in every occupation to serve as a cadre
for future general mobilizations.[6-56] Thomas did not mention the fact
that although large branches such as Fleet Marine Force aviation could
maintain separate but equal living facilities for its black marines,
even they would have to provide partially integrated training and
working conditions. And the smaller organizations in the corps would
be forced to integrate fully if forced to accept black marines. In
short, if the corps wanted segregation it must pay the price of
continued discrimination against black marines in terms of numbers
enlisted and occupations assigned.

                   [Footnote 6-56: Div of Plans and Policies (signed G.
                   C. Thomas), Consideration of Non-Concurrence, 2 May
                   46, attached to Memo, Dir, Aviation, for CMC, 26
                   Apr 46.]

The choice was left to Commandant Vandegrift. One solution to the
"Negro question," General Thomas told him, was complete integration
and the abolition of racial quotas, but Thomas did not press this
solution. Instead, he reviewed for Vandegrift the racial policies of
the other services, pointing out that these policies had more often
been devised to "appease the Negro press and other 'interested'    (p. 174)
agencies than to satisfy their own needs." Until the matter was
settled on a "higher level," Thomas concluded, the services were not
required to go further than had been their custom, and until
Vandegrift decided on segregation or integration, setting quotas for
the different branches in the corps was inappropriate. Thomas himself
recommended that segregated units be adopted and that a quota be
devised only after each branch of the corps reported how many Negroes
it could use in segregated units.[6-57] Vandegrift approved Thomas's
recommendation for segregated black units, and the Marine Corps lost
the chance, temporarily, to adopt a policy in line with either the
Navy's limited and integrated system or the Army's separate but equal

                   [Footnote 6-57: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 13 May 46, sub: Negro Personnel in the
                   Post-War Marine Corps.]

General Thomas spent the summer collecting and reviewing the proposals
of the corps' various components for the employment of black marines.
On the basis of this review General Vandegrift approved a postwar
policy for the employment of Negroes in the Marine Corps on 26
September 1946. The policy called for the enlistment of 2,264 Negroes,
264 as stewards, the rest to serve in separate units, chiefly in
ground security forces of the Fleet Marine Force in Guam and Saipan
and in Marine Corps activities of the naval shore establishment. No
Negroes except stewards would serve in Marine aviation, Marine forces
afloat, or, with the exception of service depots, in the Marine
logistic establishment.[6-58]

                   [Footnote 6-58: Idem for CMC, 25 Sep 46, sub:
                   Post-War Negro Personnel Requirements. For examples
                   of the proposals submitted by the various
                   components, see Memo, F. D. Beans, G-3, for G-1, 6
                   Aug 46, sub: Employment of Colored Personnel in the
                   Fleet Marine Force (Ground) (less Service Ground)
                   and in Training Activities; Memo, Lt Col Schmuck,
                   G-3, for Col Stiles, 10 Jun 46, sub: Utilization of
                   Negro Personnel in Post-War Infantry Units of the
                   Fleet Marine Force; Memo, QMC for CMC, 4 Sep 46,
                   sub: Negro Personnel in the Post-War Marine Corps.]

The policy was in effect by January 1947. In the end the Marine Corps'
white-only tradition had proved strong enough to resist the
progressive impulses that were pushing the other services toward some
relaxation of their segregation policies. Committed to limiting
Negroes to a token representation and employing black marines in
rigidly self-contained units, the Marine Corps could not establish a
quota for Negroes based on national racial proportions and could offer
no promise of equal treatment and opportunity in work assignments and

Thus all the services emerged from their deliberations with postwar
policies that were markedly different in several respects but had in
common a degree of segregation. The Army, declaring that military
efficiency demanded ultimate integration, temporized, guaranteeing as
a first step an intricate system of separate but equal treatment and
opportunity for Negroes. The Marine Corps began with the idea that
separate but equal service was not discriminatory, but when equal
service proved unattainable, black marines were left with separatism
alone. The Navy announced the most progressive policy of all,
providing for integration of its general service. Yet it failed to
break the heavy concentration of Negroes in the Steward's Branch,  (p. 175)
where no whites served. And unlike the segregated Army, the integrated
Navy, its admission standards too high to encourage black enlistments,
did not guarantee to take any black officers or specialists.

None of these policies provided for the equal treatment and
opportunity guaranteed to every black serviceman under the
Constitution, although the racial practices of all the services stood
far in advance of those of most institutions in the society from which
they were derived. The very weaknesses and inadequacies inherent in
these policies would in themselves become a major cause of the reforms
that were less than a decade away.

CHAPTER 7                                                          (p. 176)

A Problem of Quotas

The War Department encountered overwhelming problems when it tried to
put the Gillem Board's recommendations into practice, and in the end
only parts of the new policy for the use of black manpower were ever
carried out. The policy foundered for a variety of reasons: some
implicit in the nature of the policy itself, others the result of
manpower exigencies, and still others because of prejudices lingering
in the staff, the Army, and the nation at large.

Even before the Army postwar racial policy was published in War
Department Circular 124 on 27 April 1946 it met formidable opposition
in the staff. Although Secretary Patterson had approved the new course
of action, the Assistant Chief of Staff for Personnel, General Paul,
sent a copy of what he called the "proposed" policy to the Army Air
Forces for further comment.[7-1] The response of the air commander,
General Carl Spaatz, revealed that he too considered the policy still
open for discussion. He suggested that the Army abandon the quota in
favor of admitting men on the basis of intelligence and professional
ability and forbid enlistment to anyone scoring below eighty in the
entry tests. He wanted the composite organizations of black and white
units recommended by the board held to a minimum, and none smaller
than an air group--a regimental-size unit. Black combat units should
have only black service units in support. In fact, Spaatz believed
that most black units should be service units, and he wanted to see
Negroes employed in overhead assignments only where and when their
specialties were needed. He did not want jobs created especially for

                   [Footnote 7-1: DF, ACofS, G-1, to CG, AAF, 15 Mar 46,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Postwar
                   Army, WDGAP 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-2: Memo, CG, AAF, for ACofS, G-1, 3 Apr
                   46, sub: Utilization of Manpower in the Postwar
                   Army, WDGAP 291.2.]

These were not the only portents of difficulty for the new policy.
Before its publication General Paul had announced that he would not
establish a staff group on racial affairs as called for by the Gillem
Board. Citing manpower shortages and the small volume of work he
envisaged, Paul planned instead to divide such duties between his
Welfare Branch and Military Personnel Services Group.[7-3] The concept
of a central authority for the direction of racial policy was further
weakened in April when Paul invited the Assistant Chief of Staff for
Organization and Training, General Edwards, one of whose primary tasks
was to decide the size and number of military units, to share
responsibility for carrying out the recommendations of the Gillem

                   [Footnote 7-3: DF, ACofS, G-1, to ASW, 26 Mar 46,
                   sub: Implementation of WD Cir 124, WDGAP 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-4: Idem to ACofS, G-3, 29 Apr 46, sub:
                   Implementation of WD Cir 124, WDGAP 291.2.]

Assistant Secretary Petersen was perturbed at the mounting         (p. 177)
evidence of opposition. Specifically, he believed Spaatz's comments
indicated a lack of accord with Army policy, and he wanted the Army
Air Forces told that "these basic matters are no longer open for
discussion." He also wanted to establish a troop basis that would
lead, without the imposition of arbitrary percentages, to the
assignment of a "fair proportion" of black troops to all major
commands and their use in all kinds of duties in all the arms and
services. Petersen considered the composite unit one of the most
important features of the new policy, and he wanted "at least a few"
such units organized soon. He mentioned the assignment of a black
parachute battalion to the 82d Airborne Division as a good place to

Petersen had other concerns. He was distressed at the dearth of black
specialists in overhead detachments, and he wondered why War
Department Circular 105, which provided for the assignment of men to
critically needed specialties, explicitly excluded Negroes.[7-5] He
wanted the circular revised. Above all, Petersen feared the new policy
might falter from a lack of aggressive leadership. He estimated that
at first it would require at least the full attention of several
officers under the leadership of an "aggressive officer who knows the
Army and has its confidence and will take an active interest in
vigorous enforcement of the program."[7-6] By implication Petersen was
asking General Paul to take the lead.

                   [Footnote 7-5: WD Cir 105, 10 Apr 46.]

                   [Footnote 7-6: Memo, ASW for ACofS, G-1, 27 Apr 46,
                   ASW 291.2.]

Within a week of Petersen's comments on leadership, Paul had revised
Circular 105, making its provisions applicable to all enlisted men,
regardless of race or physical profile.[7-7] A few days later, he was
assuring Petersen that General Spaatz's comments were "inconsistent
with the approved recommendations" and were being disregarded.[7-8] Paul
also repeated the principal points of the new policy for the major
commanders, especially those dealing with composite units and overhead
assignments for black specialists. He stressed that, whenever
possible, Negroes should be assigned to places where local community
attitudes were most favorable and no undue burden would be imposed on
local civilian facilities.[7-9]

                   [Footnote 7-7: G-1 Summary Sheet for CofS, 3 May 46,
                   sub: Changes to WD Cir 105, 1946, WDGAP 291.2.
                   Revision appeared as WD Circular 142, 17 May 46.]

                   [Footnote 7-8: DF, ACofS, G-1, to ASW, 13 May 46,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in Postwar Army,
                   WDGAP 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-9: Ltr, TAG to CG's, AGF, AAF, and ASF, 6
                   May 46, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in
                   Postwar Army, AGAM-PM 291.2 (30 Apr 46); idem to
                   CG's, 10 Jun 46, same sub, same file (4 Jun 46).]

General Paul believed the principal impediment to practical
application of the new policy was not so much the opposition of field
commanders as the fact that many black units continued to perform
poorly. He agreed with Marcus Ray, Civilian Aide to the Secretary of
War, who had predicted as early as January 1946 that the success of
the Gillem Board's recommendations would depend on how many Negroes of
higher than average ability the armed forces could attract and retain.
Ray reasoned that among the Negroes enlisting in the Regular Army--14
percent of the 1945 total--were large numbers of noncommissioned   (p. 178)
officers in the three highest grades whose abilities were limited.
They were able to maintain their ratings, usually in service units,
because their duties required knowledge of neither administration nor
weapons. Truckmasters, foremen, riggers, and the like, they rushed to
reenlist in order to freeze themselves in grade. Since many of these
men were in the two lowest test categories, they could not supply the
leaders needed for black units. Ray wanted to replace these men with
better educated enlistees who could be used on the broadened
professional base recommended by the Gillem Board. To that end he
wanted the Army to test all enlisted men, discharge those below
minimum standards, and launch a recruiting campaign to attract better
qualified men, both black and white.[7-10] For his part, Paul also
deplored the enlistment of men who were, in his words, "mentally
incapable of development into the specialists, technicians, and
instructors that we must have in the post-war Regular Army."[7-11]

                   [Footnote 7-10: Memo, Marcus H. Ray for ASW, 22 Jan
                   46, ASW 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-11: Memo, ACofS, G-1, for CofS, 25 Jan
                   46, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in the
                   Postwar Army, WDGAP 291.2.]

[Illustration: GENERAL PAUL.]

Here, even before the new racial policy was published, the Army staff
ran head on into the realities of postwar manpower needs. In a rapid
demobilization, the Army was critically short of troops, particularly
for overseas replacements, and it could maintain troop strength only
by accepting all the men it could get. Until Paul had more definite
information on the future operations of Selective Service and the rate
of voluntary Regular Army enlistments, he would have to postpone
action to curtail the admission of low-scoring men. So pressing were
the Army's needs that Paul could do nothing to guarantee that black
strength would not greatly exceed the 10 percent figure suggested by
the Gillem Board. He anticipated that by 1 July 1946 the regular and
active reserve components of the Army would together be approximately
15 percent black, a percentage impossible to avoid if the Army was to
retain 1.8 million men. Since all planning had been based on a 10
percent black strength, plans would have to be revised to make use of
the excess. In February 1946 the Chief of Staff approved General
Paul's program: Negroes would continue to be drafted at the 10 percent
ratio; at the same time their enlistment in the Regular Army would
continue without restriction on numbers. Negroes would be limited to
15 percent of the overseas commands, and the continental commands  (p. 179)
would absorb all the rest.[7-12]

                   [Footnote 7-12: DF, ACofS, G-1, 23 Jan 46, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Personnel, WDGAP 291.2 (23 Jan
                   46); Ltr, TAG to CG's, Major Forces, and Overseas
                   Cmdrs, 4 Feb 46, same sub, AG 291.2 (31 Jan 46)

Paul's program for absorbing Negroes faced rough going, for the
already complex manpower situation was further complicated by
limitations on the use of Negroes in certain overseas theaters and the
demands of the War Department's major commands. The Army was
prohibited by an agreement with the State Department from sending
Negroes to the Panama Canal Zone; it also respected an unwritten
agreement that barred black servicemen from Iceland, the Azores, and
China.[7-13] Since the War Department was unable to use Negroes
everywhere, the areas where they could be used had to take more. The
increase in black troops provoked considerable discussion in the large
Pacific and European commands because it entailed separate housing,
transportation, and care for dependents--all the usual expensive
trappings of segregation. Theater commanders also faced additional
problems in public relations and management. As one War Department
staff officer claimed, black units required more than normal
administration, stricter policing, and closer supervision. This in
turn demanded additional noncommissioned officers, and "more Negro
bodies must be maintained to produce equivalent results."[7-14]

                   [Footnote 7-13: G-1 Memo for Rcd, Col Coyne,
                   Operations Gp, 19 Feb 47, WDGAP 291.2; prohibitions
                   for certain areas are discussed in detail in
                   Chapter 15.]

                   [Footnote 7-14: Memo, Actg Chief, Pac Theater Sec,
                   OPD, for Maj Gen H. A. Craig, Dep ACofS, OPD, 12
                   Feb 46, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower, WDGOT

Both commands protested the War Department decision. Representatives
from the European theater arrived in Washington in mid-February 1946
to propose a black strength of 8.21 rather than the prescribed 15
percent. Seeking to determine where black soldiers could be used "with
the least harmful effect on theater operations," they discovered in
conferences with representatives of the War Department staff only the
places Negroes were not to be used: in infantry units, in the
constabulary, which acted as a border patrol and occupation police, in
highly technical services, or as supervisors of white civilian

                   [Footnote 7-15: Memo, Chief, Eur Sec, OPD, for Maj
                   Gen Howard A. Craig, Dep ACofS, OPD, 15 Feb 46,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Personnel, WDGOT 291.2.]

The commander of Army Forces, Pacific, was even more insistent on a
revision, asking how he could absorb so many Negroes when his command
was already scheduled to receive 50,000 Philippine Scouts and 29,500
Negroes in the second half of 1947. These two groups, which the
command considered far less adaptable than white troops to
occupational duties, would together make up about 40 percent of the
command's total strength. Although Philippine Scouts in the theater
never exceeded 31,000, the command's protest achieved some success.
The War Department agreed to reduce black troops in the Pacific to 14
percent by 1 January 1947 and 13 percent by 1 July 1947.[7-16]

                   [Footnote 7-16: Memo for Rcd, Lt Col French, Theater
                   Group, OPD, 7 May 46, sub: Negro Enlisted Strength,
                   Pacific Theater, 1947, WDGOT 291.2. For a
                   discussion of the Philippine Scouts in the Pacific
                   theater, see Robert Ross Smith, "The Status of
                   Philippine Military Forces During World War II,"
                   CMH files.]

No sooner had the demands of the overseas theaters been dealt with (p. 180)
than the enlarged black quotas came under attack from the commanders
of major forces. Instead of planning to absorb more Negroes, the Army
Air Forces wanted to divest itself of some black units on the premise
that unskilled troops were a liability in a highly technical service.
General Spaatz reported that some 60 percent of all his black troops
stationed in the United States in January 1946 were performing the
duties of unskilled laborers and that very few could be trained for
skilled tasks. He predicted that the Army Air Forces would soon have
an even higher percentage of low-scoring Negroes because 15 percent of
all men enlisting in his Regular Army units--expected to reach a total
of 45,000 men by 1 July 1946--were black. To forestall this increase
in "undesirable and uneconomical" troops, he wanted to stop inducting
Negroes into the Army Air Forces and suspend all black enlistments in
the Regular Army.[7-17]

                   [Footnote 7-17: Memo, CG, AAF, for ACofS, G-1, 25 Jan
                   46, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in the
                   Postwar Army, WDGAP 291.2.]

The Army Air Forces elaborated on these arguments in the following
months, refining both its estimates and demands. Specifically, its
manpower officials estimated that to reach the 15 percent black
strength ordered by 1 July 1946 the Air Forces would have to take
50,500 Negroes into units that could efficiently use only 22,000 men.
This embarrassment of more than 28,000 unusable men, the Army Air
Forces claimed, would require eliminating tactical units and creating
additional quartermaster car companies, mess platoons, and other
service organizations.[7-18] The Air staff wanted to eliminate the
unwanted 28,000 black airmen by raising to eighty the minimum
classification test score for Regular Army enlistment in the Army Air
Forces. In the end it retreated from this proposal, and on 25 February
requested permission to use the 28,000 Negroes in service units, but
over and above its 400,000-man troop basis. It promised to absorb all
these men into the troop basis by 30 June 1946.[7-19]

                   [Footnote 7-18: Memo, Brig Gen William Metheny, Off,
                   Commitments Div, ACofS Air Staff-3, for ACofS Air
                   Staff-3, 18 Feb 46, WDGOT 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-19: DF, DCofAS (Maj Gen C. C. Chauncey)
                   to G-3 25 Feb 46, sub: Utilization of Negro
                   Manpower in the Postwar Army, WDGOT 291.2.]

The Army staff rejected this plan on the grounds that any excess
allowed above the current Air Forces troop basis would have to be
balanced by a corresponding and unacceptable deficit in the Army
Ground Forces and Army Service Forces.[7-20] The Army Air Forces
countered with a proposal to discharge all black enlistees in excess
of Air Forces requirements in the European theater who would accept
discharge. It had in mind a group of 8,795 Negroes recently enlisted
for a three-year period, who, in accordance with a lure designed to
stimulate such enlistments, had chosen assignment in the Air Forces
and a station in Europe. With a surplus of black troops, the Air
Forces found itself increasingly unable to fulfill the "overseas
theater of choice" enlistment contract. Since some men would
undoubtedly refuse to serve anywhere but Europe, the Air staff     (p. 181)
reasoned, why not offer a discharge to all men who preferred
separation over service elsewhere?

                   [Footnote 7-20: Memo, Actg ACofS, G-3, for CG, AAF,
                   14 Mar 46, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in
                   the Postwar Army, WDGOT 291.2.]

Again the Army staff turned down a request for a reduction in black
troops. This time the Air Forces bowed to the inevitable--15 percent
of its enlisted strength black--but grudgingly, for a quota of 50,419
Negroes, General Spaatz charged, "seriously jeopardizes the ability of
the AAF to perform its assigned mission."[7-21]

                   [Footnote 7-21: Memo, ACofS, G-3, for CG, AAF, 21 Mar
                   46, sub: Authorized Military Personnel as of 31
                   December 1946 and 30 June 1947, WDGOT 320.2 (21 Mar
                   46); DF, CG, AAF, to ACofS, G-3, 26 Mar 46, same
                   sub, WDGOT 291.21 (12 Feb 46).]

The Army Service Forces also objected. When queried,[7-22] the chiefs of
its technical and administrative services all agreed they could use
only small percentages of black troops, and only those men in the
higher categories of the classification test. From the replies of the
chiefs it was plain that none of the technical services planned to use
Negroes in as much as 10 percent of spaces, and several wanted to
exclude black units altogether. Furthermore, the test qualifications
they wanted set for many jobs were consistently higher than those
achieved by the men then performing the tasks. The staff of the Army
Service Forces went so far as to advocate that no more than 3.29
percent of the overhead and miscellaneous positions in the Army
Service Forces be entrusted to black troops.[7-23]

                   [Footnote 7-22: Memo, Actg Dir, Plans and Policy,
                   ASF, for PMG et al., 23 May 46, sub: Utilization of
                   Negro Manpower in the Postwar Army, AG 291.2 (23
                   May 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-23: The replies of the individual
                   technical and administrative service chiefs, along
                   with the response of the ASF Personnel Director,
                   are inclosed in Memo, Chief, Plans and Policy Off,
                   Dir of SS&P, for Dir, O&T, 21 Jun 46, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Postwar Army,
                   WDGSP 291.2 (Negro).]

These answers failed to impress the War Department's Director of
Personnel and Administration and the Director of Organization and
Training.[7-24] Both agreed that the technical and administrative
services had failed to appreciate the problems and responsibilities
outlined in War Department Circular 124; the assumption that black
troops would not be used in certain types of duty in the future
because they had not been so used in the past was unwarranted, General
Paul added. Limited or token employment of Negroes, he declared, was
no longer acceptable.[7-25]

                   [Footnote 7-24: Under WD Circular 134, 14 May 46, the
                   War Department General Staff was reorganized, and
                   many of its offices, including G-1 and G-3, were
                   redesignated as of 11 June 1946. For an extended
                   discussion of these changes, see James E. Hewes,
                   Jr., _From Root to McNamara: Army Organization and
                   Administration, 1900-1963_ (Washington: Government
                   Printing Office, 1975), Chapter IV.]

                   [Footnote 7-25: DF, D/OT to D/PA, 13 Jul 46, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Postwar Army,
                   WDGOT 291.21 (21 Jun 46); DF, D/PA to D/OT, 30 Jul
                   46, same sub, WDGAP 291.2 (15 Jul 46).]

Yet somehow the reality of black enlistments and inductions in 1946
never quite matched the Army's dire predictions. According to plans
for 1 April 1946, Negroes in the continental United States would
comprise 15.2 percent of the Army Service Forces, 15.4 percent of the
Army Ground Forces, and 17 percent of the Army Air Forces. Actually,
Negroes in continental commands on 30 April 1946 made up 14.86 percent
of the Army Service Forces, 5.62 percent of the Army Ground Forces,
and 11.86 percent of the Army Air Forces. The 116,752 black soldiers
amounted to 12.35 percent of all troops based in the United States;
overseas, the 67,372 Negroes constituted 7.73 percent of American  (p. 182)
force. Altogether, the 184,124 Negroes in the Army amounted to 10.14
percent of the whole.[7-26]

                   [Footnote 7-26: Strength of the Army (STM-30), 1 May
                   46; see also Memo, ACofS, G-1, for Chief, MPD, ASF,
                   3 Jun 46, sub: Utilization of Negro Personnel,
                   WDGPA 291.2. (12 Jul 46).]

_The Quota in Practice_

While the solution to the problem of too many black enlistees and too
many low-scoring men was obvious, it was also replete with difficulty.
The difficulty came from the complex way the Army obtained its
manpower. It accepted volunteers for enlistment in the Regular Army
and qualified veterans for the Organized Reserves; until November 1946
it also drafted men through the Selective Service and accepted
volunteers for the draft.[7-27] At the same time, under certain
conditions it accepted enlistment in the Regular Army of drafted men
who had completed their tours. To curtail enlistment of Negroes and
discharge low-scoring professionals, the Army would be obliged to
manipulate the complex regulations governing the various forms of
enlistment and sidestep the egalitarian provisions of the Selective
Service System at a time when the service was trying to attract
recruits and avoid charges of racial discrimination. Altogether it was
quite a large order, and during the next two years the Army fought the
battle of numbers on many fronts.

                   [Footnote 7-27: Volunteers for the draft were men
                   classified 1-A by Selective Service who were
                   allowed to sign up for immediate duty often in the
                   service of their choice. The volunteer for the
                   draft was only obliged to serve for the shorter
                   period imposed on the draftee rather than the
                   36-month enlistment for the Regular Army.]

It first took on the draft. Although to stop inducting Negroes when
the administration was trying to persuade Congress to extend the draft
act was politically unwise, the Army saw no way to restrict the number
of Negroes or eliminate substandard men so long as Selective Service
insisted on 10 percent black calls and a minimum classification test
score of seventy. In April 1946 the Army issued a call for 126,000
men, boldly specifying that no Negroes would be accepted. Out of the
battle of memos with Selective Service that followed, a compromise
emerged: a black call of 4 percent of the total in April, a return to
the usual 10 percent call for Negroes in May, and another 4 percent
call in June.[7-28] No draft calls were issued in July and August, but
in September the Army staff tried again, canceling the call for
Negroes and rejecting black volunteers for induction.[7-29] Again it
encountered resistance from the Selective Service and the black
community, and when the Secretary of War was sued for violation of the
Selective Service Act the Army issued a 3 percent call for Negroes in
October, the last call made under the 1940 draft law. In all, 16,888
Negroes were drafted into the Army in 1946, some 10.5 percent of the

                   [Footnote 7-28: Report of the Director, Office of
                   Selective Service Review, 31 March 1947, Table 56,
                   copy in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 7-29: Memo, Chief, Manpower Control Gp,
                   D/PA, for TAG, 6 Sep 46, Utilization of Negro
                   Manpower in Postwar Army, WDGPA 291.2; D/PA Memo
                   for Rcd, 1 Sep 46. WDGPA 291.2 (1 Sep 46-31 Dec

                   [Footnote 7-30: Figures vary for the number actually
                   drafted; those given above are from Selective
                   Service Monograph No. 10, _Special Groups_,
                   Appendix, p. 201. See also "Review of the Month,"
                   _A Monthly Summary of Events and Trends in Race
                   Relations_ 4 (October 1946):67.]

The Army had more success restricting black enlistments. In April  (p. 183)
1946, at the same time it adopted the Gillem Board recommendations,
the Army began to deny enlistment or reenlistment in the Regular Army
to anyone scoring below seventy on the Army General Classification
Test. The only exceptions were men who had been decorated for valor
and men with previous service who had scored sixty-five and were
recommended for reenlistment by their commanders.[7-31] The Army also
stopped enlisting men with active venereal disease, not because the
Medical Department was unable to cure them but because by and large
their educational levels were low and, according to the classification
tests, they had little aptitude for learning. The Army stopped
recruiting men for special stations, hoping a denial of the European
theater and other attractive assignments would lower the number of
unwanted recruits.

                   [Footnote 7-31: WD Cir 110, 17 Apr 46.]

Using the new enlistment standards as a base, the Army quickly revised
its estimated black strength downward. On 16 April 1946 the Secretary
of War rescinded the order requiring major commands to retain a black
strength of 15 percent.[7-32] The acting G-3 had already informed the
commanding general of the Army Air Forces of the predicted drop in the
number of black troops--from 13.3 percent in June 1946 to 10 percent a
year later--and agreed the Army Air Forces could reduce its planned
intake accordingly.[7-33] Estimating the European theater's capacity to
absorb black troops at 21,845 men, approximately 10 percent of the
command total, the Army staff agreed to readjust its planned allotment
of Negroes to that command downward by some 1,500 spaces.[7-34]

                   [Footnote 7-32: Ltr, TAG to CG, AAF, et al., 16 Apr
                   46, sub: Utilization of Negro Personnel, AGAO-S-A-M
                   291.2 (12 Apr 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-33: Memo, Actg ACofS, G-3, for CG, AAF,
                   12 Apr 46, sub: Utilization of Negro Personnel,
                   WDGOT 291.21 (12 Feb 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-34: Memo, ACofS, OPD, for CofS, 13 May
                   46, sub: Augmentation of the ETO Ceiling Strengths
                   as of 1 Jul 46 (less AAF), WDCSA 320.2 (1946).]

These changes proved ill-advised, for the effort to curb the number of
Negroes in the Regular Army was largely unsuccessful. The staff had
overlooked the ineffectiveness of the Army's testing measures and the
zeal of its recruiters who, pressed to fill their quotas, accepted
enlistees without concern for the new standards. By mid-June the
effect was readily apparent. The European theater, for example,
reported some 19,000 Negroes in excess of billets in black units and
some 2,000 men above the theater's current allotment of black troops.
Assignment of Negroes to Europe had been stopped, but the number of
black regulars waiting for overseas assignment stood at 5,000, a
figure expected to double by the end of the summer. Some of this
excess could be absorbed in eight newly created black units, but that
still left black units worldwide 18 to 40 percent overstrength.[7-35]

                   [Footnote 7-35: G-1 Memo for Rcd (signed Col E. L.
                   Heyduck, Enl Div), 18 Jun 46, WDGAP 291.2; see also
                   EUCOM Hist Div (prepared by Margaret L. Geis),
                   "Negro Personnel in the European Command, 1 January
                   1946-30 June 1950," Occupation Forces in Europe
                   Series (Historical Division, European Command,
                   1952) (hereafter Geis Monograph), pp. 14-18, copy
                   in CMH.]

Notice that Negroes totaled 16 percent of the Regular Army on 1 July
1946 with the personnel staff's projections running to a 24 percent
level for the next year precipitated action in the War Department. (p. 184)
On 15 July Marcus Ray and Dean Rusk, Special Assistant to the
Assistant Secretary of War, met with representatives of the Army staff
to discuss black strength. Basing his decision on the consensus of
that meeting, the Secretary of War on 17 July suspended enlistment of
Negroes in the Regular Army. He excepted two categories of men from
this ruling. Men who qualified and had actually served for six months
in any of forty-eight unusual military occupational specialties in
which there were chronic manpower shortages would be enlisted without
promise of specific assignment to branch or station. At the same time,
because of manpower shortages, the Army would continue to accept
Negroes, already regulars, who wanted to reenlist.[7-36]

                   [Footnote 7-36: Ltr, TAG to CG, Each Army, et al., 17
                   Jul 46, sub: Enlistment of Negroes, AGSE-P342.06 (9
                   Jul 46); D/PA Summary Sheet to CofS, 9 Jul 46, sub:
                   Enlistment of Negroes in Regular Army, WDGPA

[Illustration: MARCUS RAY.]

While the new enlistment policy would help restore the Gillem Board's
quantitative equilibrium to the Army, the secretary's exception
allowing reenlistment of regulars would only intensify the qualitative
imbalance between black and white soldiers. The nation's biracial
educational system had produced an average black soldier who scored
well below the average white soldier on all the Army's educational and
training tests. The segregation policy had only complicated the
problem by denying the talented Negro the full range of Army
occupations and hence an equal chance for advancement. With the
suspension of first-time enlistments, the qualitative imbalance was
sure to grow, for now the highly qualified civilian would be passed
over while the less qualified soldier was permitted to reenlist.

This imbalance was of particular concern to Marcus Ray who was present
when the suspension of black enlistments had been decided upon. Ray
had suggested that instead of barring all new enlistees the Army
should discharge all Class V soldiers, whites and blacks alike, for
the convenience of the government and recruit in their place an equal
number of Class I and II candidates. Manpower officials had objected,
arguing there was no point in enlisting more Negroes in Class I and II
until the 10 percent ratio was again reached. Such a reduction, with
current attrition, would take two years. At the same time, the Army
manpower shortages made it impractical to discharge 92,000 soldiers,
half of whom were white, in Class V. The organization and training
representatives, on the other hand, agreed with Ray that it was    (p. 185)
in the best interest of the Army to discharge these men, pointing
out that a recent increase in pay for enlisted men together with the
continuing need for recruits with greater aptitude for learning would
make the policy palatable to the Congress and the public.[7-37]

                   [Footnote 7-37: D/OT Memo for Red, 15 Jul 46; DF,
                   D/OT to D/PA, 15 Jul 46, sub: Basic Training of
                   Negro Personnel; both in WDGOT 291.2.]

The conferees deferred decision on the matter, but during the
following months the War Department set out to achieve a qualitative
balance between its black and white recruits. On 10 August 1946 the
Chief of Staff directed commanders, under the authority of Army
Regulation 615-369 which defined ineptness for military service, to
eliminate after six months men "incapable of serving in the Army in a
desirable manner after reasonable attempts have been made to utilize
their capabilities." He went on to explain that this category included
those not mentally qualified, generally defined as men scoring below
seventy, and those repeatedly guilty of minor offenses.[7-38] The Army
reissued the order in 1947, further defining the criteria for
discharge to include those who needed continued and special
instruction or supervision or who exhibited habitual drunkenness,
ineptness, or inability to conform to group living. A further
modification in 1949 would deny reenlistment to married men who had
failed during their first enlistment to make corporal or single men
who did not make private first class.[7-39]

                   [Footnote 7-38: WD Cir 241, 10 Aug 46.]

                   [Footnote 7-39: WD Cir 93, 9 Apr 47; D/PA Summary
                   Sheet, 1 Sep 49, sub: Method of Reducing Negro
                   Reenlistment Rate, WDGPA 291.2 (6 Apr 49).]

The measures were aimed at eliminating the least qualified men of both
races, and in October 1946 General Paul decided the Army could now
begin taking black recruits with the qualifications and background
that allowed them "to become useful members of the Army."[7-40] To that
end The Adjutant General announced on 2 October that as a further
exception to the prohibition against black enlistments in the Regular
Army all former officers and noncommissioned officers who volunteered
would be accepted without limitation.[7-41] On 31 October he announced
the establishment of a selective procurement program. With the
exception of men who had been in certain specialized occupations for
six months, all Negroes enlisting in the Regular Army had to score one
hundred on the Army General Classification Test; the minimum score for
white enlistees remained seventy.[7-42] At the same time, The Adjutant
General rescinded for Negroes the choice-of-assignment provision of
Regular Army enlistment contracts.

                   [Footnote 7-40: P&A Memo for Red, 30 Sep 46, attached
                   to copy of Ltr, TAG to CG, Each Army, et al., 2 Oct
                   46, sub: Enlistment of Negroes, AGSE-P342.06, WDGAP

                   [Footnote 7-41: Ltr, TAG to CG, Each Army, et al., 2
                   Oct 46, sub: Enlistment of Negroes, AGSE-P342.06
                   (30 Sep 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-42: Ibid., 31 Oct 46, sub: Enlistment of
                   Negroes, AGSE-P342.06 (23 Oct 46); see also WD Cir
                   103, 1947. An exception to the AGCT 70 minimum for
                   whites was made in the case of enlistment into the
                   AAF which remained at 100 for both races.]

These measures helped lower the percentage of Negroes in the Army and
reduced to some extent the differential in test scores between white
and black soldiers. The percentage of Negroes dropped by 30 June 1947
to 7.91 percent of the Army, 8.99 percent of its enlisted strength (p. 186)
and 9.4 percent of its Regular Army strength. Black enlisted strength
of all the overseas commands stood at 8.75 percent, down from the
10.77 percent of the previous December. Percentages in the individual
theaters reflected this trend; the European theater, for example,
dropped from 10.33 percent black to 9.96, the Mediterranean theater
from 10.05 to 8.03, and Alaska from 26.6 to 14.54.[7-43]

                   [Footnote 7-43: All figures are from STM-30, Strength
                   of the Army. Figures for the Pacific theater were
                   omitted because of the complex reorganization of
                   Army troops in that area in early 1947. On 30 June
                   1947 the Army element in the Far East Command, the
                   major Army organization in the Pacific, had 18,644
                   black enlisted troops, 8.56 percent of the
                   command's total.]

Precise figures on the number of poorly qualified troops eliminated
are unknown, but the European command expected to discharge some
12,000 low-scoring and unsuitable men, many of them black, in
1947.[7-44] Several commands reported that the new regulations
materially improved the quality of black units by opening vacancies to
better qualified men. General Paul could argue with considerable
justification that in regulating the quality of its recruits the Army
was following the spirit if not the letter of the Gillem Board Report.
If the Army could set high enough standards it would get good men, and
to this end the General Staff's Personnel and Administration Division
asked for the support of commanders.[7-45]

                   [Footnote 7-44: Memo, Brig Gen J. J. O'Hare, Dep Dir,
                   P&A, for SA, 9 Mar 48, sub: Implementation of WD
                   Cir 124, CSGPA 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-45: G-1 Memo for Rcd, 30 Sep 46, attached
                   to Ltr, TAG to CG, Each Army, et al., 2 Oct 46,
                   sub: Enlistment of Negroes, AGSE-P342.06 (30 Sep

Although these measures were helpful to the Army, they were frankly
discriminatory, and they immediately raised a storm of protest. During
the summer of 1946, for example, many black soldiers and airmen
complained about the Army's rejection of black enlistments for the
European theater. The NAACP, which received some of the soldiers'
complaints, suggested that the War Department honor its pledges or
immediately release all Negroes who were refused their choice of
location.[7-46] The Army did just that, offering to discharge honorably
those soldiers who, denied their theater of choice, rejected any
substitute offered.[7-47]

                   [Footnote 7-46: Ltr, Walter White to SW, 18 Jun 46;
                   Telg, White to SW, 24 Jun 46; both in SW 291.2
                   (Negro Troops).]

                   [Footnote 7-47: DF, OTIG to D/PA, 23 Jul 46, sub:
                   Assignment of Negro Enlistees Who Have Selected ETO
                   as Choice of Initial Assignment, WDSIG 220.3--Negro

Later in 1946 a young Negro sued the Secretary of War and a Pittsburgh
recruiting officer for refusing to enlist him. To make standards for
black applicants substantially higher than those for whites, he
alleged, violated the Preamble and Fifth Amendment of the
Constitution, while the inducements offered for enlistment, for
example the GI Bill of Rights, constituted a valuable property right
denied him because of race. The suit asked that all further
enlistments in the Army be stopped until Negroes were accepted on
equal terms with whites and all special enlistment requirements for
Negroes were abolished.[7-48] Commenting on the case, the chief of the
War Department's Public Relations Division, Maj. Gen. Floyd L. Parks,
defended the Gillem Board's 10 percent quota, but agreed that      (p. 187)
"we are on weak ground [in] having a different standard for admission
between white and colored.... I think the thing to do is to put a
ceiling over the number you take in, and then take the best

                   [Footnote 7-48: Pittsburgh _Post Gazette_, December
                   19, 1946.]

                   [Footnote 7-49: Memo, D/PRD for SW, ASW, and D/P&A,
                   19 Dec 46, ASW 291.2.]

The suit brought to a climax the feeling of indignation against Army
policy that had been growing among some civil rights activists. One
organization called on the Secretary of War to abandon the Gillem
Board policy "and unequivocably and equitably integrate Negroes ...
without any discrimination, segregation or quotas in any form, concept
or manner."[7-50] Senator Robert M. LaFollette, Jr., of Wisconsin called
the decision to suspend black enlistments race discrimination.[7-51]
Walter P. Reuther, president of the United Automobile Workers and the
codirector of his union's Fair Practices Department, branded the
establishment of a quota "undemocratic and in violation of principles
for which they [Negroes] fought in the war" and demanded that black
enlistment be reinstated and the quota abolished.[7-52] Invoking
American tradition and the United Nations Charter, John Haynes Holmes,
chairman of the board of directors of the American Civil Liberties
Union, called for the abolition of enlistment quotas. The national
commander of the United Negro and Allied Veterans of America announced
that his organization unreservedly condemned the quota because it
deliberately deprived citizens of their constitutional right to serve
their country.[7-53]

                   [Footnote 7-50: Ltr, American Veterans Committee,
                   Manhattan Chapter, to SW, 17 Jul 46, SW 291.2

                   [Footnote 7-51: Ltr, LaFollette to SW, 25 Jul 46, SW

                   [Footnote 7-52: Ltr, Reuther and William Oliver to
                   SW, 23 Jul 46, SW 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-53: Ltr, J. H. Holmes to SW, 26 Jul 46;
                   Ltr, Arthur D. Gatz, Nat'l Cmdr, United Negro and
                   Allied Veterans of America, to SW, 20 Jul 46; both
                   in SW 291.2.]

The replies of the Secretary of War to all these protests were very
much alike. The Army's enlistment practices, he wrote, were based on a
belief that black strength in the Army ought to bear a direct
relationship to the percentage of Negroes in the population. As for the
basic premise of what seemed to him a perfectly logical course of action,
Patterson concluded that "acceptance of the Negro-white ratio existing
in the civilian population as a basis for the Army's distribution of
units and personnel is not considered discriminatory."[7-54] The
secretary's responses were interesting, for they demonstrated a
significant change in the Army's attitude toward the quota. There is
evidence that the quota was devised by the Gillem Board as a temporary
expedient to guarantee the substantial participation of Negroes. It
was certainly so viewed by civil rights advocates. As late as December
1946 Assistant Secretary Petersen was still echoing this view when he
explained that the quota was a temporary ceiling and the Army had no
right to use it as a permanent bar to black enlistment.[7-55]

                   [Footnote 7-54: See Ltrs, SW to Wesley P. Brown,
                   Adjutant, Jesse Clipper American Legion Post No.
                   430, Buffalo, N.Y., 30 Aug 46, and to Jesse O.
                   Dedmon, Jr., Secy, Veterans Affairs Bureau, NAACP,
                   18 Nov 46; both in SW 291.2. The quote is from the
                   latter document.]

                   [Footnote 7-55: Memo, Maj Gen Parks for SW, et al.,
                   19 Dec 46 (with attached note signed "HP"), SW

Nevertheless it is also clear that the traditionalists considered the
quota a means of permanently limiting black soldiers to a percentage
equivalent to Negroes in the population. Assistant Secretary       (p. 188)
McCloy belonged to neither group. More than a year before in reviewing
the Gillem Board's work he had declared: "I do not see any place for a
quota in a policy that looks to utilization of Negroes on the basis of

After a year of dealing with black overstrengths and juggling
enlistment standards, General Paul and his staff thought otherwise.
They believed that a ceiling must be imposed on the Army's black
strength if a rapid and uncontrolled increase in the number of black
troops was to be avoided. And it had to be avoided, they believed,
lest it create a disproportionately large pool of black career
soldiers with low aptitudes that would weaken the Army. Using the
quota to limit the number of black troops, they maintained, was not
necessarily discriminatory. It could be defended as a logical reading
of the Gillem Board's declaration that "the proportion of Negro to
white manpower as exists in the civil population" should be accepted
in the peacetime Army to insure an orderly and uniform mobilization in
a national emergency. With the Gillem policy to support it, the Army
staff could impose a strict quota on the number of black soldiers and
justify different enlistment standards for blacks and whites, a course
that was in fact the only alternative to the curtailment of white
enlistment under the manpower restrictions being imposed upon the
postwar Army.[7-56]

                   [Footnote 7-56: DF, D/P&A to D/O&T, 28 Apr 47, sub:
                   Negro Enlisted Strength, WDGPA 291.2 (12 Jul 46);
                   idem for SA, 6 Aug 48, sub: Removing Restrictions
                   on Negro Enlistments, CSGPA 291.2.]

Paul's reasoning was eventually endorsed by the new Chief of Staff,
General Omar N. Bradley, Secretary Patterson, and his successor,
Secretary of the Army Kenneth C. Royall.[7-57] Beginning in mid-1947 the
enlistment of Negroes was carefully geared to their percentage of the
total strength of the Army, not to a fixed quota or percentage of
those enlisting. This limitation on black enlistment was made more
permanent in 1949 when it was included in the Army's mobilization
plan, the basic manpower planning document.[7-58]

                   [Footnote 7-57: Memo, ONB (Gen Bradley) for Gen Paul,
                   9 Aug 48, CSUSA 291.2 Negroes (6 Aug 48). Bradley
                   succeeded Eisenhower as Chief of Staff on 7
                   February 1948, and Royall succeeded Patterson on 19
                   July 1947. Royall assumed the title Secretary of
                   the Army on 17 September 1947 under the terms of
                   the National Security Act of 1947.]

                   [Footnote 7-58: AMP-1 Personnel Annex, 1 Jun 49, P&D
                   370.0 (25 Apr 49); see also Memo, Chief, Planning
                   Office, P&A, for Brig Gen John E. Dahlquist (Dep
                   P&A), 4 Feb 49, sub: Utilization of Negroes in
                   Mobilization, D/PA 291.2 (4 Feb 49).]

The adjustment of enlistment quotas to increase or curtail black
strength quickly became routine in the Army. When the number of
Negroes dropped below 10 percent of the Army's total strength in June
1947, The Adjutant General set a quota for the enlistment of black
soldiers.[7-59] When this quota was met in late August, the enlistment
of Negroes with no special training was reduced to 500 men per
month.[7-60] As part of a Personnel and Administration Division program
to increase the number and kinds of black units, the quota was
temporarily increased to 3,000 men per month for four months beginning
in December 1947.[7-61] Finding itself once again exceeding the 10 (p. 189)
percent black strength figure, the Army suspended the enlistment of
all Negroes for nine months beginning in April 1949.[7-62]

                   [Footnote 7-59: Ltr, TAG to CG, Each Army, et al., 9
                   Jul 47, sub: Enlistment of Negroes AGSE-P291.2. (27
                   Jun 47).]

                   [Footnote 7-60: T-7286, TAG to CO, Gen Ground, Ft.
                   Monroe (AGF), 27 Aug 47, 291.254 Negroes; Ltr, TAG
                   to CG, Each Army, et al., 3 Sep 47, sub: Enlistment
                   of Negroes, AGSE-P291.2.]

                   [Footnote 7-61: Msg, TAG to CG's, All ZI Armies, 19
                   Dec 47, AGSE-P 291.254.]

                   [Footnote 7-62: Msg, TAG to CG, All Armies (ZI), et
                   al., 17 Mar 49, WCL 22839; D/PA Summary Sheet for
                   VCofS, 1 Sep 49, sub: Method of Reducing the Negro
                   Reenlistment Rate, CSGPA 291.2 (6 Apr 49).]

In effect, the Gillem Board's critics who predicted that the quota
would become permanent were correct, but the quota was only the most
publicized manifestation of the general scheme of apportioning
manpower by race throughout the Army. General Paul had offered one
solution to the problem in July 1946. He recommended that each major
command and service be allocated its proportionate share of black
troops; that such troops "have the over-all average frequency of AGCT
grades occurring among Negro military personnel"; and that major
commands and services submit plans for establishing enough units and
overhead positions to accommodate their total allocations.[7-63] But
Paul did not anticipate the low-scoring soldier's penchant for
reenlistment or the ability of some commanders, often on the basis of
this fact, to justify the rejection of further black allotments. Thus,
in pursuit of a racial policy designed to promote the efficient use of
manpower, the G-1 and G-3 sections of the General Staff wrestled for
almost five years with the problem of racial balances in the various
commands, continental armies, and training programs.

                   [Footnote 7-63: DF, D/PA to D/OT, 30 Jul 46, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Postwar Army,
                   WDGPA 291.2 (15 Jul 46).]

_Broader Opportunities_

The equitable distribution of Negroes throughout each major command
and service was complicated by certain provisions of Circular 124.
Along with the quota, the policy prescribed grouping black units, not
to exceed regimental size, with white units in composite organizations
and integrating black specialists in overhead organizations. The
composite organizations were primarily the concern of the G-3 (later
the Organization and Training Division) section of the General Staff,
and in June 1946 its director, Lt. Gen. Charles P. Hall, brought the
matter to the attention of major commanders. Although the War
Department did not want to establish an arbitrary number of black
combat units, Hall explained, the new policy stressed the development
of such units to provide a broader base for future expansion, and he
wanted more black combat units organized as rapidly as trained troops
became available. To that end he called for a survey of all black
units to find out their current organization and assignment.[7-64]

                   [Footnote 7-64: Cir as Memo, TAG for CG, AAF et al.,
                   10 Jun 46, sub: Organization of Negro Manpower in
                   Postwar Army, AG 291.2 (4 Jun 46).]

Army Ground Forces reported that it had formed some composite units,
but its largest black unit, the 25th Regimental Combat Team, had been
attached to the V Corps at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, instead of
being made an organic element in a division. Practically all service
group headquarters reported separate black and white battalions    (p. 190)
under their control, but many of the organizations in the Army Service
Forces--those under the Provost Marshal General and the Surgeon
General, for example--still had no black units, let alone composite
organizations. The Caribbean Defense Command, the Trinidad Base
Command, and the Headquarters Base Command of the Antilles Department
reported similar situations. The Mediterranean theater was using some
Negroes with special skills in appropriate overhead organizations, but
in the vast European Command Negroes were assigned to separate
regiments and smaller units. There were two exceptions: one
provisional black regiment was attached to the 1st Infantry Division,
and a black field artillery battalion was attached to each of the
three occupation divisions. The Alaskan Department and the Okinawa
Base Command had black units, both separate and grouped with white
units, but the Yokohama Base Command continued to use specially
skilled Negroes in black units because of the great demand for
qualified persons in those units.[7-65]

                   [Footnote 7-65: Memo, D/O&T for ASW, 18 Jul 46, sub:
                   Organization of Negro Manpower in Postwar Army,
                   WDGOT 291.2.]

To claim, as Hall did to Assistant Secretary Petersen, that black
units were being used like white units was misleading. Despite the
examples cited in the survey, many black units still remained
independent organizations, and with one major exception black combat
units grouped with white units were attached rather than assigned as
organizational elements of a parent unit. This was an important
distinction.[7-66] The constant imposition of attached status on a unit
that under normal circumstances would be assigned as an organic
element of a division introduced a sense of impermanence and
alienation just as it relieved the division commander of considerable
administrative control and hence proprietary interest in the unit.

                   [Footnote 7-66: An attached unit, such as a tank
                   destroyer battalion, is one temporarily included in
                   a larger organization; an assigned unit is one
                   permanently given to a larger organization as part
                   of its organic establishment. On the distinction
                   between attached and assigned status, see Ltr, CSA
                   to CG, CONARC, 21 Jul 55, CSUSA 322.17 (Div), and
                   CMH, "Lineages and Honors: History, Principles, and
                   Preparation," June 1962, in CMH.]

Attached status, so common for black units, thus weakened morale and
hampered training as Petersen well understood. Noting the favorable
attitude of the division commander, he had asked in April 1946 if it
was possible to assign the black 555th Parachute Battalion to the
celebrated 82d Airborne Division.[7-67] The answer was no. The
commanding general of the Army Ground Forces, General Devers,
justified attachment rather than assignment of the black battalion to
the 82d on the grounds that the Army's race policy called for the
progressive adoption of the composite unit and attachment was a part
of this process. Assignment of such units was, on the other hand, part
of a long-range plan to put the new policy into effect and should
still be subject to considerable study. Further justifying the _status
quo_, he pointed to the division's low strength, which he said
resulted from a lack of volunteers. Offering his own variation     (p. 191)
of the "Catch-22" theme, he suggested that before any black battalion
was assigned to a large combat unit, the effect of such an assignment
on the larger unit's combat efficiency would first have to be studied.
Finally, he questioned the desirability of having a black unit assume
the history of a white unit; evidently he did not realize that the
intention was to assign a black unit with its black history to the

                   [Footnote 7-67: Memo, Actg, ACofS, G-3, for CG, AGF,
                   3 Jun 46, sub: Formation of Composite White-Negro
                   Units, with attachment, WDGOT 291.21 (30 Apr 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-68: Memo, CG, AFG, for CofS, 21 June 46,
                   sub: Formation of Composite White-Negro Units,
                   GNGCT-41 291.2 (Negro) (3 Jun 46).]

24th Infantry troops, Camp Majestic, Japan, June 1947_.]

In the face of such arguments Hall accepted what he called the
"nonfeasibility" of replacing one of the 82d's organic battalions with
the 555th, but he asked whether an additional parachute battalion
could be authorized for the division so that the 555th could be
assigned without eliminating a white battalion. He reiterated the
arguments for such an assignment, adding that it would invigorate the
555th's training, attract more and better black recruits, and better
implement the provisions of Circular 124.[7-69] General Devers remained
unconvinced. He doubted that assigning the black battalion to the  (p. 192)
division would improve the battalion's training, and he was
"unalterably opposed" to adding an extra battalion. He found the idea
unsound from both a tactical and organizational point of view. It was,
he said, undesirable to reorganize a division solely to assign a black

                   [Footnote 7-69: DF, D/O&T to CG, AGF, 24 Jul 46, sub:
                   Formation of Composite White-Negro Units, WDGOT
                   291.21 (30 Apr 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-70: Memo, CG, AGF, for D/O&T, 1 Aug 46,
                   sub: Formation of Composite White-Negro Units, CMT
                   2 to DF, D/O&T to CG, AGF, 24 Jul 46, same sub,
                   WDGOT 291.21 (30 Apr 46).]

General Hall gave up the argument, and the 555th remained attached to
the 82d. Attached status would remain the general pattern for black
combat units for several years.[7-71] The assignment of the 24th
Infantry to the 25th Infantry Division in Japan was the major
exception to this rule, but the 24th was the only black regiment left
intact, and it was administratively difficult to leave such a large
organization in attached status for long. The other black regiment on
active duty, the 25th Infantry, was split; its battalions, still
carrying their unit designations, were attached to various divisions
to replace inactive or unfilled organic elements. The 9th and 10th
Cavalry, the other major black units, were inactivated along with the
2d Cavalry Division in 1944, but reactivated in 1950 as separate tank

                   [Footnote 7-71: Memo, D/O&T for SW, 19 Sep 46, sub:
                   Request for Memorandum, WDGOT 291.21 (12 Sep 46).]

That this distinction between attached and assigned status was
considered important became clear in the fall of 1947. At that time
the personnel organization suggested that the word "separate" be
deleted from a sentence of Circular 124: "Employment will be in Negro
regiments or groups, separate battalions or squadrons, and separate
companies, troops, or batteries." General Paul reasoned that the word
was redundant since a black unit was by definition a separate unit.
General Devers was strongly opposed to deletion on grounds that it
would lead to the indiscriminate organization of small black units
within larger units. He argued that the Gillem Board had provided for
black units as part of larger units, but not as organic parts. He
believed that a separate black unit should continue to be attached
when it replaced a white unit; otherwise it would lose its identity by
becoming an organic part of a mixed unit. Larger considerations seem
also to have influenced his conclusion: "Our implementation of the
Negro problem has not progressed to the degree where we can accept
this step. We have already progressed beyond that which is acceptable
in many states and we still have a considerable latitude in the
present policy without further liberalizing it from the Negro
viewpoint."[7-72] The Chief of Staff supported Paul's view, however, and
the word "separate" was excised.[7-73]

                   [Footnote 7-72: DF, CG, AGF, to D/P&A, 15 Sep 47,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Postwar
                   Army. Policy; AGF DF, 27 Aug 47, same sub; both in
                   GNGAP-M 291.2 (27 Aug 47). The quote is from the
                   former document.]

                   [Footnote 7-73: DA Cir 32-III, 30 Oct 47. The life of
                   Circular 124 was extended indefinitely by DA
                   Circular 24-II, 17 Oct 47, and DA Ltr AGAO 291.2
                   (16 Mar 49).]

But the practice of attaching rather than assigning black units
continued until the end of 1949. Only then, and increasingly during
1950, did the Army begin to assign a number of black units as organic
parts of combat divisions. More noteworthy, Negroes began to be
assigned to fill the spaces in parts of white units. Thus the 3d   (p. 193)
Battalion of the 9th Infantry and the 3d Battalion of the 188th
became black units in 1950.

Despite the emergence of racially composite units, the Army's
execution of the Gillem Board recommendation on the integration of
black and white units was criticized by black leaders. The board had
placed no limitation on the size of the units to be integrated, and
its call for progressive steps to utilize black manpower implied to
many that the process of forming composite black and white units would
continue till it included the smaller service units, which still
contained the majority of black troops. It was one thing, the Army
staff concluded, to assign a self-sustaining black battalion to a
division, but quite another to assign a small black service unit in a
similar fashion. As a spokesman for the Personnel and Administration
Division put it in a 1946 address, the Army was "not now ready to mix
Negro and white personnel in the same company or battery, for messing
and housing." Ignoring the Navy's experience to the contrary, he
concluded that to do so might provoke serious opposition from the men
in the ranks and from the American public.[7-74]

                   [Footnote 7-74: Col. H. E. Kessinger, Exec Off,
                   ACofS, G-1, "Utilization of Negro Manpower, 1946,"
                   copy in WDGPA 291.2 (1946).]

Accordingly, G-1 and G-3 agreed to reject the Mediterranean theater's
1946 plan to organize composite service units in the 88th Infantry
Division because such organization "involves the integration of Negro
platoons or Negro sections into white companies, a combination which
is not in accordance with the policy as expressed in Circular
124."[7-75] In the separate case of black service companies--for
example, the many transportation truck companies and ordnance
evacuation companies--theater commanders tended to combine them first
into quartermaster trains and then attach them to their combat

                   [Footnote 7-75: DF, ACofS, G-1, to CofS, 3 Jun 46,
                   sub: Implementation of the Gillem Board, WDGAP
                   291.2 (24 Nov 45); see also Routing Form, ACofS,
                   G-1, same date, subject, and file.]

                   [Footnote 7-76: For the formation of quartermaster
                   trains in Europe, see Geis Monograph, pp. 89-90.]

Despite the relaxation in the distinction between attached and
assigned status in the case of large black units, the Army staff
remained adamantly opposed to the combination of small black with
small white units. The Personnel and Administration Division jealously
guarded the orthodoxy of this interpretation. Commenting on one
proposal to combine small units in April 1948, General Paul noted that
while grouping units of company size or greater was permissible, the
Army had not yet reached the stage where two white companies and two
black companies could be organized into a single battalion. Until the
process of forming racially composite units developed to this extent,
he told the Under Secretary of the Army, William H. Draper, Jr., the
experimental mixing of small black and white units had no place in the
program to expand the use of Negroes in the Army.[7-77] He did not say
when such a process would become appropriate or possible. Several
months later Paul flatly told the Chief of Staff that integration of
black and white platoons in a company was precluded by stated Army

                   [Footnote 7-77: Memo, D/P&A for Under SA, 29 Apr 48,
                   sub: Negro Utilization in the Postwar Army, CSGPA

                   [Footnote 7-78: Idem for CofS, 21 Jun 48, CSGPA

_Assignments_                                                      (p. 194)

The organization of black units was primarily the concern of the
Organization and Training Division; the Personnel and Administration
Division's major emphasis was on finding more jobs for black soldiers
in keeping with the Gillem Board's call for the use of Negroes on a
broader professional scale. This could best be done, Paul decided, by
creating new black units in a variety of specialties and by using more
Negroes in overhead spaces in unit headquarters where black
specialists would be completely interspersed with white. To that end
his office prepared plans in November 1946 listing numerous
occupational specialties that might be offered black recruits. It also
outlined in considerable detail a proposal for converting several
organizations to black units, including a field artillery (155-mm.
howitzer) battalion, a tank company, a chemical mortar company, and an
ordnance heavy automotive maintenance company. These units would be
considered experimental in the sense that the men would be specially
selected and distributed in terms of ability. The officers, Negroes
insofar as practical, and cadre noncommissioned officers would be
specially assigned. Morale and learning ability would be carefully
monitored, and special training would be given men with below average
AGCT scores. At the end of six months, these organizations would be
measured against comparable white units. Mindful of the controversial
aspects of his plan, Paul had a draft circulated among the major
commands and services.[7-79]

                   [Footnote 7-79: DF, D/P&A to CG, AGF, et al., 16 Nov
                   46, sub: Proposed Directive, Utilization of Negro
                   Military Personnel; see also P&A Memo for Rcd, 14
                   Nov 46; both in WDGPA 291.2 (12 Jul 46).]

The Army Ground Forces, first to answer, concentrated on Paul's
proposal for experimental black units. Maj. Gen. Charles L. Bolte,
speaking for the commanding general, reported that in July 1946 the
command had begun a training experiment to determine the most
effective assignments for black enlisted men in the combat arms.
Because of troop reductions and the policy of discharging individuals
with low test scores, he said, the experiment had lasted only five
weeks. Five weeks was apparently long enough, however, for Brig. Gen.
Benjamin F. Caffey, commander of the 25th Regimental Combat Team
(Provisional), to reach some rather startling conclusions. He
discovered that the black soldier possessed an untrained and
undisciplined mind and lacked confidence and pride in himself. In the
past the Negro had been unable to summon the physical courage and
stamina needed to withstand the shocks of modern battle. Integrating
individual Negroes or small black units into white organizations would
therefore only lower the standard of efficiency of the entire command.
He discounted the integration after the Battle of the Bulge, saying
that it succeeded only because it came at the end of the war and
during pursuit action. "It still remains a moot question," Caffey
concluded, "as to whether the Negroes in integrated units would have
fought in a tough attack or defensive battle." Curiously enough he
went on to say that until Negroes reached the educational level of
whites, they should be organized into small combat units--battalions
and smaller--and attached to white organizations in order to learn the
proper standards of military discipline, conduct, administration,  (p. 195)
and training. Despite its unfavorable opinion of experimental black
units, the Army Ground Forces did not reject the whole proposal
outright but asked for a postponement of six months until its own
reorganization, required by the War Department, was completed.[7-80]

                   [Footnote 7-80: Ltr, Brig Gen B. F. Caffey, CG, 25th
                   RCT (Prov), Ft. Benning Ga., to CG, AGF, 4 Dec 46,
                   AGF 291.2; DF, CG, AGF, to D/P&A, 22 Nov 46, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Military Personnel, WDGPA
                   291.2 (Negro) (16 Nov 46).]

The other forces also rejected the idea of experimental black units.
General Spaatz once again declared that the mission of the Army Air
Forces was already seriously hampered by budgetary and manpower
limitations and experimentation would only sacrifice time, money,
manpower, and training urgently needed by the Army Air Forces to
fulfill its primary mission. He believed, moreover, that such an
experiment would be weighted in favor of Negroes since comparisons
would be drawn between specially selected and trained black units and
average white units.[7-81] In a similar vein the Director of
Organization and Training, General Hall, found the conversion
"undesirable at this time." He also concluded that the problem was not
limited to training difficulties but involved a "combination of
factors" and could be solved through the application of common sense
by the local commander.[7-82] The Chiefs of Ordnance and the Chemical
Corps, the technical services involved in the proposed experiment,
concurred in the plan but added that they had no Negroes available for
the designated units.[7-83]

                   [Footnote 7-81: DF, CG, AAF, to D/P&A, 27 Nov 45,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Military Personnel, WDGPA
                   291.2 (16 Nov 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-82: Memo, D/O&T for D/P&A, 4 Dec 46, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Military Personnel, WDGOT
                   291.2 (16 Nov 46).]

                   [Footnote 7-83: Tabs E and F to DF, D/P&A to DCofS,
                   10 Jan 47, sub: Utilization of Negro Military
                   Personnel in Overhead Installations, WDGPA 291.2
                   (12 Jul 46).]

In the face of this strong opposition, Paul set aside his plan to
establish experimental black units and concentrated instead on the use
of Negroes in overhead positions. On 10 January 1947 he drew up for
the Chief of Staff's office a list of 112 military occupational
specialties most commonly needed in overhead installations, including
skilled jobs in the Signal, Ordnance, Transportation, Medical, and
Finance Corps from which Negroes had been excluded. He called for an
immediate survey of the Army commands to determine specialties to
which Negroes might be assigned, the number of Negroes that could be
used in each, and the number of Negroes already qualified and
available for immediate assignment. Depending on the answers to this
survey, he proposed that commanders assign immediately to overhead
jobs those Negroes qualified by school training, and open the
pertinent specialist courses to Negroes. Black quotas for the courses
would be increased, not only for recruits completing basic training,
who would be earmarked for assignment to overhead spaces, but also for
men already assigned to units, who would be returned to their units
for such assignments upon completion of their courses. Negroes thus
assigned would perform the same duties as whites alongside them, but
they would be billeted and messed in separate detachments or       (p. 196)
attached to existing black units for quarters and food.[7-84]

                   [Footnote 7-84: DF, D/P&A to DCofS, 10 Jan 47, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Military Personnel in Overhead
                   Installations, WDGPA 291.2 (12 Jul 46).]

This proposal also met with some opposition. General Spaatz, for
example, objected on the same grounds he had used against experimental
black units. Forcing the military development of persons on the basis
of color, General Ira C. Eaker, the deputy commander of Army Air
Forces, argued, was detrimental to the organization as a whole. Spaatz
added that it was desirable and necessary to select individual men on
the basis of their potential contribution to the service rather than
in response to such criteria as race.[7-85]

                   [Footnote 7-85: DF, CG, AAF (signed by Dep CG, Lt Gen
                   Ira C. Eaker), to D/P&A, 20 Jan 47, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Military Personnel in Overhead
                   Installations, WDGPA 291.2 (12 Jul 46).]

The Acting Deputy Chief of Staff, Maj. Gen. Henry I. Hodes, objected
to the timing of the Paul proposal since it would require action by
field commanders during a period when continuing mass demobilization
and severe budget limitations were already causing rapid and frequent
adjustments, especially in overhead installations. He also felt that
sending men to school would disrupt unit activities; altogether too
many men would be assigned to overhead jobs, particularly during the
period when Negroes were receiving training. Finally, he believed that
Paul's directive was too detailed. He doubted that it was workable
because it centralized power in Washington.[7-86]

                   [Footnote 7-86: Memo, ADCofS for D/P&A, 24 Jan 47,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Military Personnel in
                   Overhead Installations, WDCSA 291.2 (10 Jan 47).]

General Paul disagreed. The major flow of manpower, he maintained, was
going to domestic rather than overseas installations. A relatively
small shift of manpower was contemplated in his plan and would
therefore cause little dislocation. The plan would provide commanders
with the trained men they had been asking for. School training
inevitably required men to be temporarily absent from their units,
but, since commanders always complained about the scarcity of trained
Negroes, Paul predicted that they would accept a temporary
inconvenience in order to have their men school trained. The Gillem
Board policy had been in effect for nine months, and "no material
implementation by field commanders has as yet come to the attention of
the division." If any changes were to be accomplished, Paul declared,
"a specific directive must be issued." Since the Chief of Staff had
charged the Personnel and Administration Division with implementing
Gillem Board policy and since that policy expressly directed the use
of Negroes in overhead positions, it seemed to Paul "inconceivable
that any proposition ... designed to improve the caliber of any of
their Negro personnel would be unworkable in the sense of creating a
personnel shortage." He again recommended that the directive be
approved and released to the public to "further the spirit and
recommendations of the Gillem Board Report."[7-87]

                   [Footnote 7-87: Memo, D/P&A for General Hodes, 29 Jan
                   47, sub: Utilization of Negro Personnel in Overhead
                   Installations, WDGPA 291.2 (12 Jul 46).]

His superiors did not agree. Instead of a directive, General Hodes
ordered yet another survey to determine whether commanders were
actually complying with Circular 124. He wanted all commands       (p. 197)
to itemize all the occupation specialties of major importance that
contained black troops in overhead spaces.[7-88] Needless to say, the
survey added little to the Army's knowledge of its racial problems.
Most commanders reported full compliance with the circular and had no
further recommendations.

                   [Footnote 7-88: Memo, ADCofS for D/P&A, 4 Feb 47,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Military Personnel in
                   Overhead Installations, WDCSA 291.2 (10 Jan 47);
                   Ltr, TAG to CG, AAF, et al., 5 Mar 47, same sub,
                   AGAM-PM 291.2 (27 Feb 47).]

With rare exceptions their statistics proved their claims specious.
The Far East Command, for example, reported no Negroes in overhead
spaces, although General MacArthur planned to incorporate about 400
Negroes into the bulk overhead units in Japan in July 1947. He
reported that he would assign Negroes to overhead positions when
qualified men could be spared. For the present they were needed in
black units.[7-89] Other commands produced similar statistics. The
Mediterranean theater, 8 percent black, had only four Negroes in 2,700
overhead spaces, a decrease over the previous year, because, as its
commander explained, a shortage of skilled technicians and
noncommissioned officers in black units meant that none could be
spared. More than 20 percent black, the Alaskan Department had no
Negroes in overhead spaces. In Europe, on the other hand, some 2,125
overhead spaces, 18.5 percent of the total, were filled by

                   [Footnote 7-89: Msg, CINCFE to WD for AGPP-P, 3 May
                   47, C-52352. Although CINCFE was a joint commander,
                   his report concerned Army personnel only.]

                   [Footnote 7-90: Ltr, CG, MTO, to TAG, 16 Apr 47, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Military Personnel in Overhead
                   Installations; Ltr, CG, Alaskan Dept, to TAG, 14
                   Apr 47, same sub; Ltr, CG, EUCOM, to TAG, 15 Apr
                   47, same sub. All in AGPP-P 291.2 (6 Feb 47).]

Although Negroes held some 7 percent of all overhead positions in the
field services, the picture was far from clear. More than 8 percent of
the Army Air Forces' 105,000 overhead spaces, for example, were filled
by Negroes, but the Army Ground Forces used only 473 Negroes, who
occupied 5 percent of its overhead spaces. In the continental armies
almost 14,000 Negroes were assigned to overhead, 13.35 percent of the
total of such spaces--a more than equitable figure. Yet most were
cooks, bakers, truck drivers, and the like; all finance clerks, motion
picture projectionists, and personnel assistants were white. In the
field commands the use of Negroes in Signal, Ordnance, Transportation,
Medical, and Finance overhead spaces was at a minimum, although
figures varied from one command to the other. The Transportation
Corps, more than 23 percent black, used almost 25 percent of its
Negroes in overhead; the Chemical Corps, 28 percent black, used more
than 30 percent of its Negroes in overhead. At the same time virtually
all skilled military occupational specialties were closed to Negroes
in the Signal Corps, and the Chief of Finance stated flatly: "It is
considered impractical to have negro overhead assigned to these
[field] activities and none are utilized."[7-91]

                   [Footnote 7-91: The reports of all these services are
                   inclosures to DF, TAG to D/P&A, 23 Apr 47, sub:
                   Utilization of Negro Military Personnel in Overhead
                   Installations, AGPP-P 291.2 (6 Feb 47). The quote
                   is from Ltr, Chief of Finance Corps to TAG, 25 Mar
                   47, same sub.]

The survey attested to a dismal lack of progress in the            (p. 198)
development of specialist training for Negroes. Although all the
commanders of the zone of interior armies reported that Negroes had
equal opportunity with whites to attend Army schools, in fact more
than half of all the Army's courses were not open to black soldiers
regardless of their qualifications. The Ordnance Department, for
example, declared that all its technical courses were open to
qualified Negroes, but as late as November 1947 the Ordnance School in
Atlanta, Georgia, had openings for 440 whites but none for blacks.

Ironically, the results of the Hodes survey were announced just four
days short of Circular 124's first birthday. Along with the other
surveys and directives of the past year, it demonstrated that in
several important particulars the Gillem Board's recommendations were
being only partially and indifferently followed. Obviously, some way
must be found to dispel the atmosphere of indifference, and in some
quarters hostility, that now enveloped Circular 124.

_A New Approach_

A new approach was possible mainly because General Paul and his staff
had amassed considerable experience during the past year in how to use
black troops. They had come to understand that the problems inherent
in broadening the employment of black soldiers--the procurement of
desirable black recruits, their training, especially school training
for military occupational specialties, and their eventual placement in
spaces that used that training--were interrelated and that progress in
one of these areas was impossible without advances in the other two.
In November 1947 the Personnel and Administration Division decided to
push for a modest step-by-step increase in the number of jobs open to
Negroes, using this increase to justify an expansion of school quotas
for Negroes and a special recruitment program.

It was a good time for such an initiative, for the Army was in the
midst of an important reorganization of its program for specialist
training. On 9 May 1947 the War Department had introduced a Career
Guidance Program for managing the careers of enlisted men. To help
each soldier develop his maximum potential and provide the most
equitable system for promotions, it divided all Army jobs into several
career fields--two, for example, were infantry and food service--and
established certain job progressions, or ladders, within each field.
An enlisted man could move up the ladder in his career field to
increased responsibility and higher rank as he completed school
courses, gained experience, and passed examinations.[7-92]

                   [Footnote 7-92: WD Cir 118, 9 May 47.]

General Paul wanted to take advantage of this unusually fluid
situation. He could point out that black soldiers must be included in
the new program, but how was he to fit them in? Black units lacked the
diverse jobs open to whites, and as a result Negroes were clustered in
a relatively small number of military specialties with few career
fields open to them. Moreover, some 111 of the Army's 124 listed
school courses required an Army General Classification Test score  (p. 199)
of ninety for admission, and the Personnel and Administration Division
discovered that 72 percent of Negroes enlisted between April 1946 and
March 1947 as compared to 29 percent of whites scored below that
minimum. Excluded from schools, these men would find it difficult to
move up the career ladders.[7-93]

                   [Footnote 7-93: P&A Memo for Rcd, attached to DF,
                   D/P&A to TAG, 11 Jun 47, sub: Utilization of Negro
                   Manpower in the Postwar Army in Connection With
                   Enlisted Career Guidance Program, WDGPA 291.2 (11
                   Jun 47).]

Concerned that the new career program would discriminate against black
soldiers, Paul could not, however, agree with the solution suggested
by Roy K. Davenport, an Army manpower expert. On the basis of a
detailed study that he and a representative of the Personnel and
Administration Division conducted on Negroes in the career program,
Davenport concluded that despite significant improvement in the
quality of black recruits in recent months more than half the black
enlisted men would still fail to qualify for the schooling demanded in
the new program. He wanted the Army to consider dropping the test
score requirement for school admission and substituting a "composite
of variables," including length of service in a military occupation
and special performance ratings. Such a system, he pointed out, would
insure the most capable in terms of performance would be given
opportunities for schooling and would eliminate the racial
differential in career opportunity. It was equally important,
Davenport thought, to broaden arbitrarily the list of occupational
specialties, open all school courses to Negroes, and increase the
black quotas for courses already open to them.[7-94]

                   [Footnote 7-94: Davenport, "Matters Relating to the
                   Participation of Negro Personnel in the Career
                   Program," attached to DF, D/P&A to Brig Gen J. J.
                   O'Hare, Chief, Mil Pers Mgt Gp, P&A Div, 3 Nov 47,
                   WDGPA 291.2 (11 Jul 47).]

Mindful of the strong opposition to his recent attempts to train
Negroes for new overhead assignments, General Paul did not see how
occupational specialties could be increased until new units or
converted white ones were formed, or, for that matter, how school
quotas could be increased unless positions for Negroes existed to
justify the training. He believed that the Army should first widen the
employment of black units and individuals in overhead spaces, and then
follow up with increased school quotas and special recruitment. Paul
had already learned from recent surveys that the number of available
overhead positions would allow only a modest increase in the number of
specialized jobs available to Negroes; any significant increase would
require the creation of new black units. Given the limitations on
organized units, any increase would be at the expense of white units.

The Organization and Training Division had the right to decide which
units would be white and which black, and considering the strong
opposition in that division to the creation of more black units, an
opposition that enjoyed support from the Chief of Staff's office,
Paul's efforts seemed in vain. But again an unusual opportunity
presented itself when the Chief of Staff approved a reorganization of
the general reserve in late 1947. It established a continentally
based, mobile striking force of four divisions with supporting units.
Each unit would have a well-trained core of Regular Army or other
troops who might be expected to remain in the service for a        (p. 200)
considerable period of time. Manpower and budget limitations precluded
a fully manned and trained general reserve, but new units for the four
continental divisions, which were in varying stages of readiness, were

                   [Footnote 7-95: For a discussion of the
                   reorganization of the general reserve, see the
                   introduction to John B. Wilson's "U.S. Army Lineage
                   and Honors: The Division," in CMH.]

Bragg, North Carolina, 1948_.]

Here was a chance to create some black units, and Paul jumped at it.
During the activation and reorganization of the units for the general
reserve he persuaded the Organization and Training Division to convert
nineteen white units to black: seven combat (including infantry and
field artillery battalions), five combat support, and seven service
units for a total of 8,000 spaces. Nine of the units were attached to
general reserve divisions, including the 2d Armored, 2d Infantry, and
82d Airborne Division. The rest, nondivisional elements, were assigned
to the various continental armies.[7-96]

                   [Footnote 7-96: Ltrs, TAG to CG, Each Army, et al.,
                   18 Dec 47 and 1 Mar 48. sub: Activation and
                   Reorganization of Certain Units of the General
                   Reserve, AGAO-1 322 (28 Nov 47 and 8 Jan 48).]

With the spaces in hand, the Personnel and Administration Division
launched a special drive in late December 1947 to secure 6,318
Negroes, 565 men per week, above the normal recruiting quotas. It
called on the commanding generals of the continental armies to enlist
men for three years' service in the Regular Army from among those  (p. 201)
who had previous military service, had completed high school, or
had won the Bronze Star, Commendation Ribbon, or a decoration for
valor, and who could make a "reasonable" score on the classification
test. After basic training at Fort Dix and Fort Knox, the men would be
eligible for specialized schooling and direct assignment to the newly
converted units.[7-97]

                   [Footnote 7-97: Army Memo 600-750-26, 17 Dec 47, sub:
                   Enlistment of Negroes for Special Units; DF, D/P&A
                   to TAG, 27 Jan 48, sub: Training Div Assignment
                   Procedures for Negro Pers Enlisting Under
                   Provisions of DA Memo 600-750-26, 17 Dec 47, CSGPA
                   291.2 (7 Jan 48).]

The conversion of units did not expand to any great extent the range
of military specialties open to Negroes because they were already
serving in similarly organized units. But it did increase the number
of skilled occupation slots available to them. To force a further
increase in the number of school-trained Negroes, Paul asked The
Adjutant General to determine how many spaces for school-trained
specialists existed in the units converted from white to black and how
many spaces for school-trained specialists were unfilled in black
units worldwide. He wanted to increase the quotas for each
school-trained specialty to insure filling all these positions.[7-98] He
also arranged to increase black quotas in certain Military Police,
Signal, and Medical Corps courses, and he insisted that a directive be
sent to all major continental commands making mandatory the use of
Negroes trained under the increased school quotas.[7-99] Moving further
along these lines, Paul suggested The Adjutant General assign a black
officer to study measures that might broaden the use of Negroes in the
Army, increase school quotas for them, select black students properly,
and assign trained black soldiers to suitable specialties.[7-100]

                   [Footnote 7-98: DF, D/P&A to TAG, 27 Jan 48, sub:
                   Training Div Assignment Procedures for Negro
                   Personnel Enlisting Under Provisions of DA Memo
                   600-750-26, 17 Dec 47; ibid., 29 Jan 48, sub:
                   Notification to Z1 Armies of Certain Negro School
                   Training; both in CSGPA 291.2 (7 Jan 48).]

                   [Footnote 7-99: Ibid., 1 Mar 48, sub: Utilization of
                   Negro School Trained Personnel, CSGPA 291.2 (7 Jan

                   [Footnote 7-100: DF D/P&A for Brig Gen Joseph J.
                   O'Hare, Chief Mil Pers Mgt Gp, 3 Nov 47, CSGPA
                   291.2 (3 Nov 47).]

The Adjutant General assigned Maj. James D. Fowler, a black graduate
of West Point, class of 1941, to perform all these tasks. Fowler
surveyed the nineteen newly converted units and recommended that 1,134
men, approximately 20 percent of those enlisted for the special
expansion of the general reserve, be trained in thirty-seven courses
of instruction--an increase of 103 black spaces in these courses.
Examining worldwide Army strength to determine deficiencies in
school-trained specialties in black units, he recommended a total
increase of 172 spaces in another thirty-seven courses. Studying the
organizational tables of more than two hundred military bases, Fowler
recommended that black school quotas for another eleven military
occupational specialties, for which there were currently no black
quotas, be set at thirty-nine spaces.

On the basis of these recommendations, the Army increased the number
of courses with quotas for Negroes from 30 to 62; black quotas were
increased in 14 courses; 16 others remained unchanged or their black
quotas were slightly decreased. New courses were opened to Negroes in
the Adjutant General's School, the airborne section of the         (p. 202)
Infantry School, and the Artillery, Armored, Engineer, Medical,
Military Police, Ordnance, Quartermaster, Signal, and Transportation
schools. Courses with increased quotas were in Transportation,
Quartermaster, Ordnance, and Engineer schools.[7-101] The number of
black soldiers in courses open to recruits quickly grew from 5 to 13.7
percent of total enrollment, and the number of courses open to Negroes
rose from 30 to 48 percent of all the entry courses in the Army school

                   [Footnote 7-101: Memo, Chief, Morale, and Welfare Br,
                   P&A, for Chief, Mil Pers Mgt Gp, P&A, 27 Feb 48,
                   sub: School Input Quotas for Enlisted Personnel
                   From the Replacement Stream (other than Air), CSGPA

_The Quota System: An Assessment_

The conversion of nineteen units from white to black in December 1947,
the procurement of 6,000 Negroes to man these units, and the increases
in black quotas for the Army schools to train specialists for these
and other black units worldwide marked the high point of the Army's
attempt to broaden the employment of Negroes under the terms of the
Gillem Board policy. As Paul well knew, the training of black troops
was linked to their placement and until the great expansion of the
Army in 1950 for the Korean War no other units were converted from
white to black. The increase in black combat units and the spread in
the range of military occupations for black troops, therefore, were
never achieved as planned. The interval between wars ended just as it
began with the majority of white soldiers serving in combat or
administrative units and the majority of black soldiers continuing to
work in service or combat support units.[7-102]

                   [Footnote 7-102: Memo, Brig Gen J. J. O'Hare, Dep
                   Dir, P&A, for SA, 9 Mar 48, sub: Implementation of
                   WD Circular 124, CSGPA 291.2.]

The Personnel and Organization Division made no further requests for
increased school quotas for Negroes, and even those increases already
approved were short-lived. As soon as the needs of the converted units
were met, the school quotas for Negroes were reduced to a level
sufficient to fill the replacement needs of the black units. By March
1949, spaces for black students in the replacement stream courses had
declined from the 237 recommended by Major Fowler to eighty-two; the
number of replacement stream courses open to Negroes fell from 48
percent of all courses offered to 19.8 percent. Fowler had expected to
follow up his study of school quotas in the Military Police, Signal
Corps, and Medical Corps with surveys of other schools figuring in the
Career Guidance Program, but since no additional overhead positions
were ever converted from white to black, no further need existed for
school quota studies. The three-point study suggested by Paul to find
ways to increase school quotas for Negroes was never made.

The War Department's problems with its segregation policy were only
intensified by its insistence on maintaining a racial quota. Whatever
the authors' intention, the quota was publicized as a guarantee of
black participation. In practice it not only restricted the number of
Negroes in the Army but also limited the number and variety of     (p. 203)
black units that could be formed and consequently the number and
variety of jobs available to Negroes. Further, it restricted the
openings for Negroes in the Army's training schools.


At the same time, enlistment policies combined with Selective Service
regulations to make it difficult for the Army to produce from its
black quota enough men with the potential to be trained in those
skills required by a variety of units. Attracted by the superior
economic status promised by the Army, the average black soldier
continued to reenlist, thus blocking the enlistment of potential
military leaders from the increasing number of educated black youths.
This left the Army with a mass of black soldiers long in service but
too old to fight, learn new techniques, or provide leadership for the
future. Subject to charges of discrimination, the Army only fitfully
and for limited periods tried to eliminate low scorers to make room
for more qualified men. Yet to the extent to which it failed to
attract educated Negroes and provide them with modern military skills,
it failed to perform a principal function of the peacetime Army, that
of preparing a cadre of leaders for future wars.

In discussing the problem of low-scoring Negroes it should be
remembered that the Army General Classification Test, universally
accepted in the armed services as an objective device to measure
ability, has been seriously questioned by some manpower experts.   (p. 204)
Since World War II, for example, educational psychologists have
learned that ethnic, cultural, and linguistic backgrounds have an
important influence on performance in general testing. Davenport, who
eventually became a senior manpower official in the Department of
Defense has, for one, concluded that the test scores created a
distorted picture of the mental ability of the black soldier. He has
also questioned the fairness of the Army testing system, charging that
uniform time periods were not always provided for black and white
recruits taking the tests and that this injustice was only one of
several inequalities of test administration that might have
contributed to the substantial differences in the scores of

                   [Footnote 7-103: Ltr, Roy K. Davenport to author, 11
                   Dec 71, CMH files. Davenport became Deputy Under
                   Secretary of the Army and later Deputy Assistant
                   Secretary of Defense (Manpower Planning and
                   Research) in the Johnson administration.]

The accuracy of test scores can be ignored when the subject is viewed
from the perspective of manpower utilization. In the five years after
World War II, the actual number of white soldiers who scored in the
lowest test categories equaled or exceeded the number of black
soldiers. The Army had no particular difficulty using these white
soldiers to advantage, and in fact refused to discharge all Class V
men in 1946. Segregation was the heart of the matter; the less gifted
whites could be scattered throughout the Army but the less gifted
blacks were concentrated in the segregated black units.

Reversing the coin, what could the Army do with the highly qualified
black soldier? His technical skills were unneeded in the limited
number and variety of black units; he was barred from white units. In
an attempt to deal with this problem, the Gillem policy directed that
Negroes with special skills or qualifications be employed in overhead
detachments. Such employment, however, depended in great part on the
willingness of commanders to use school-trained Negroes. Many of these
officers complained that taking the best qualified Negroes out of
black units for assignment to overhead detachments deprived black
units of their leaders. Furthermore, overhead units represented so
small a part of the whole that they had little effect on the Army's

The racial quota also complicated the postwar reduction in Army
strength. Since the strength and composition of the Army was fixed by
the defense budget and military planning, the majority of new black
soldiers produced by the quota could be organized into units only at
the expense of white units already in existence. In light of past
performance of black units and in the interests of efficiency and
economy, particularly at a time of reduced operating funds and a
growing cold war, how could the Army justify converting efficient
white units into less capable black units? The same question applied
to the formation of composite units. Grouping lower scoring black
units with white units, many of the Army staff believed, would lower
the efficiency of the whole and complicate the Army's relations with
the civilian community. As a result, the black units remained largely
separate, limited in number, and tremendously overstrength throughout
the postwar period.

Some of these problems, at least, might have been solved had the   (p. 205)
Army created a special staff group to oversee the new policy, a key
proposal of the Gillem Board. The Personnel and Administration
Division was primarily interested in individuals, in trying to place
qualified Negroes on an individual basis; the Organization and
Training Division was primarily concerned with units, in trying to
expand the black units to approximate the combat to service ratio of
white units. These interests conflicted at times, and with no single
agency possessing overriding authority, matters came to an impasse,
blocking reform of Army practices. Instead, the staff played a sterile
numbers game, seeking to impose a strict ratio everywhere. But it was
impossible to have a 10 percent proportion of Negroes in every post,
in every area, in every overseas theater; it was equally impossible to
have 10 percent in every activity, in every arm and service, in every
type of task. Yet wherever the Army failed to organize its black
strength by quota, it was open to charges of racial discrimination.

It would be a mistake to overlook the signs of racial progress
achieved under the Gillem Board policy. Because of its provisions
thousands of Negroes came to serve in the postwar Regular Army, many
of them in a host of new assignments and occupations. But if the
policy proved a qualified success in terms of numbers, it still failed
to gain equal treatment and opportunity for black soldiers, and in the
end the racial quotas and diverse racial units better served those who
wanted to keep a segregated Army.

CHAPTER 8                                                          (p. 206)

Segregation's Consequences

The Army staff had to overcome tremendous obstacles in order to carry
out even a modest number of the Gillem Board's recommendations. In
addition to prejudices the Army shared with much of American society
and the institutional inertia that often frustrates change in so large
an organization, the staff faced the problem of making efficient
soldiers out of a large group of men who were for the most part
seriously deficient in education, training, and motivation. To the
extent that it overcame these difficulties, the Army's postwar racial
policy must be judged successful and, considered in the context of the
times, progressive.

Nevertheless, the Gillem Board policy was doomed from the start.
Segregation was at the heart of the race problem. Justified as a means
of preventing racial trouble, segregation only intensified it by
concentrating the less able and poorly motivated. Segregation
increased the problems of all commanders concerned and undermined the
prestige of black officers. It exacerbated the feelings of the
nation's largest minority toward the Army and multiplied demands for
change. In the end Circular 124 was abandoned because the Army found
it impossible to fight another war under a policy of racial quotas and
units. But if the quota had not defeated the policy, other problems
attendant on segregation would probably have been sufficient to the

_Discipline and Morale Among Black Troops_

By any measure of discipline and morale, black soldiers as a group
posed a serious problem to the Army in the postwar period. The
standard military indexes--serious incidents statistics, venereal
disease rates, and number of courts-martial--revealed black soldiers
in trouble out of all proportion to their percentage of the Army's
population. When these personal infractions and crimes were added to
the riots and serious racial incidents that continued to occur in the
Army all over the world after the war, the dimensions of the problem
became clear.

In 1945, when Negroes accounted for 8.5 percent of the Army's average
strength, black prisoners entering rehabilitation centers,
disciplinary barracks, and federal institutions were 17.3 percent of
the Army total. In 1946, when the average black strength had risen (p. 207)
to 9.35 percent of the Army's total, 25.9 percent of the soldiers sent
to the stockade were Negroes. The following tabulation gives their
percentage of all military prisoners by offense:

  Military Offenses                                  Percentage

  Absent without leave                                  13.4
  Desertion                                             17.4
  Misbehavior before the enemy                           1.9
  Violation of arrest or confinement                    12.6
  Discreditable conduct toward superior                 49.6

  Civil Offenses

  Murder                                                62.2
  Rape                                                  53.1
  Robbery                                               33.1
  Manslaughter                                          46.3
  Burglary and housebreaking                            29.0
  Larceny                                               17.2
  Forgery                                                8.9
  Assault                                               59.0

  _Source_: Correction Branch, TAGO, copy in CMH.

The most common explanation offered for such statistics is that
fundamental injustices drove these black servicemen to crime. Probably
more to the point, most black soldiers, especially during the early
postwar period, served in units burdened with many disadvantaged
individuals, soldiers more likely to get into trouble given the
characteristically weak leadership in these units. But another
explanation for at least some of these crime statistics hinged on
commanders' power to define serious offenses. In general, unit
commanders had a great deal of discretion in framing the charges
brought against an alleged offender; indeed, where some minor offenses
were concerned officers could even conclude that a given infraction
was not a serious matter at all and simply dismiss the soldier with a
verbal reprimand and a warning not to repeat his offense. Whereas one
commander might decide that a case called for a charge of aggravated
assault, another, faced with the same set of facts, might settle for a
charge of simple assault. If it is reasonable to assume that, as a
part of the pattern of discrimination, Negroes accused of offenses
like misconduct toward superiors, AWOL, and assault often received
less generous treatment from their officers than white servicemen,
then it is reasonable to suspect that statistics on Negroes involved
in crime may reflect such discriminatory treatment.

The crime figures were particularly distressing to the individual
black soldier, as indeed they were to his civilian counterpart,
because as a member of a highly visible minority he became identified
with the wrongdoing of some of his fellows, spectacularly reported in
the press, while his own more typical attendance to orders and
competent performance of duty were more often buried in the Army's
administrative reports. In particular, Negroes among the large
overseas commands suffered embarrassment. The Gillem Board policy  (p. 208)
was announced just as the Army began the occupation of Germany and
Japan. As millions of veterans returned home, to be replaced in lesser
numbers by volunteers, black troops began to figure prominently in the
occupation forces. On 1 January 1947 the Army had 59,795 Negroes
stationed overseas, 10.77 percent of the total number of overseas
troops, divided principally between the two major overseas commands.
By 1 March 1948, in keeping with the general reduction of forces,
black strength overseas was reduced to 23,387 men, but black
percentages in Europe and the Far East remained practically
unchanged.[8-1] It was among these Negroes, scattered throughout
Germany and Japan, that most of the disciplinary problems occurred.

                   [Footnote 8-1: STM-30, Strength of the Army, 1 Jan 47
                   and 1 Mar 48.]

During the first two years of peace, black soldiers consistently
dominated the Army's serious-incident rate, a measure of indictments
and accusations involving troops in crimes against persons and
property. In June 1946, for example, black soldiers in the European
theater were involved in serious incidents (actual and alleged) at the
rate of 2.57 cases per 1,000 men. The rate among white soldiers for
the same period was .79 cases per 1,000. The rate for both groups rose
considerably in 1947. The figure for Negroes climbed to a yearly
average of 3.94 incidents per 1,000; the figure for whites, reflecting
an even greater gain, reached 1.88. These crime rates were not out of
line with America's national crime rate statistics, which, based on a
sample of 173 cities, averaged about 3.25 during the same period.[8-2]
Nevertheless, the rate was of particular concern to the government
because the majority of the civil offenses were perpetuated against
German and Japanese nationals and therefore lowered the prestige and
effectiveness of the occupation forces.

                   [Footnote 8-2: Geis Monograph, pp. 138-39 and Chart

Less important but still a serious internal problem for the Army was a
parallel rise in the incidence of venereal disease. Various reasons
have been advanced for the great postwar rise in the Army's venereal
disease rate. It is obvious, for example, that the rapid conversion
from war to peacetime duties gave many American soldiers new leisure
and freedom to engage in widespread fraternization with the civilian
population. Serious economic dislocation in the conquered countries
drove many citizens into a life of prostitution and crime. By the same
token, the breakdown of public health services had removed a major
obstacle to the spread of social disease. But whatever the reasons, a
high rate of venereal disease--the overseas rate was three times
greater than the rate reported for soldiers in the United
States--reflected a serious breakdown in military discipline, posed a
threat to the combat effectiveness of the commands, and produced lurid
rumors and reports on Army morality.

As in the case of crime statistics, the rate of venereal disease for
black soldiers in the overseas commands far exceeded the figure for
whites. The Eighth Army, the major unit in the Far East, reported for
the month of June 1946 1,263 cases of venereal disease for whites, or
139 cases per 1,000 men per year; 769 cases were reported for Negroes,
or 1,186 cases per 1,000 men per year. The rates for the European  (p. 209)
Command for July 1946 stood at 806 cases per 1,000 Negroes per year as
compared with 203 for white soldiers. The disease rate improved
considerably during 1947 in both commands, but still the rates for
black troops averaged 354 per 1,000 men per year in Eighth Army
compared to 89 for whites. In Europe the rate was 663 per 1,000 men
per year for Negroes compared to 172 for whites. At the same time the
rate for all soldiers in the United States was 58 per 1,000 per
year.[8-3] Some critics question the accuracy of these statistics,
charging that more white soldiers, with informal access to medical
treatment, were able to escape detection by the Medical Department's
statisticians, at least in cases of more easily treated strains of
venereal disease.

                   [Footnote 8-3: Ibid., pp. 138-39; Eighth Army (AFPAC)
                   Hist Div, _Occupational Monograph of the Eighth
                   Army in Japan_ (hereafter AFPAC Monograph), 3:171.]

The court-martial rate for black soldiers serving overseas was also
higher than for white soldiers. Black soldiers in Europe, for example,
were court-martialed at the rate of 3.48 men per 1,000 during the
third quarter of 1946 compared with a 1.14 rate for whites. A similar
situation existed in the Far East where the black service units had a
monthly court-martial rate nearly double the average rate of the
Eighth Army as a whole.[8-4]

                   [Footnote 8-4: Geis Monograph; AFPAC Monograph,
                   3:87-88 and charts, 4:91-97 and JAG Illus. No. 3.
                   It should be noted that on occasion individual
                   white units registered disciplinary rates
                   spectacularly higher than these averages. In a
                   nine-month period in 1946-47, for example, a
                   120-man white unit stationed in Vienna, Austria,
                   had 10 general courts-martial, between 30 and 40
                   special and summary courts-martial, and 40 of its
                   members separated under the provisions of AR

The disproportionate black crime and disease rates were symptomatic of
a condition that also revealed itself in the racially oriented riots
and disturbances that continued to plague the postwar Army. Sometimes
black soldiers were merely reacting to blatant discrimination
countenanced by their officers, to racial insults, and at times even
to physical assaults, but nevertheless they reacted violently and in
numbers. The resulting incidents prompted investigations,
recriminations, and publicity.

Two such disturbances, more spectacular than the typical flare-up, and
important because they influenced Army attitudes toward blacks,
occurred at Army bases in the United States. The first was a mutiny at
MacDill Airfield, Florida, which began on 27 October 1946 at a dance
for black noncommissioned officers to which privates were denied
admittance. Military police were called when a fight broke out among
the black enlisted men and rapidly developed into a belligerent
demonstration by a crowd that soon reached mob proportions. Police
fire was answered by members of the mob and one policeman and one
rioter were wounded. Urged on by its ringleaders, the mob then
overwhelmed the main gate area and disarmed the sentries. The rioters
retained control of the area until early the next day, when the
commanding general persuaded them to disband. Eleven Negroes were
charged with mutiny.[8-5] A second incident, a riot with strong racial
overtones, occurred at Fort Leavenworth in May 1947 following an
altercation between white and black prisoners in the Army Disciplinary
Barracks. The rioting, caused by allegations of favoritism         (p. 210)
accorded to prisoners, lasted for two days; one man was killed and six
were injured.[8-6]

                   [Footnote 8-5: "History of MacDill Army Airfield,
                   326th AAB Unit, October 1946," pp. 10-11, AFCHO

                   [Footnote 8-6: Florence Murray, ed., _The Negro
                   Handbook, 1949_ (New York: Macmillan, 1949), pp.

Disturbances in overseas commands, although less serious, were of deep
concern to the Army because of the international complications. In
April 1946, for example, soldiers of the 449th Signal Construction
Detachment threw stones at two French officers who were driving
through the village of Weyersbusch in the Rhine Palatinate. The
officers, one of them injured, returned to the village with French
MP's and requested an explanation of the incident. They were quickly
surrounded by about thirty armed Negroes of the detachment who,
according to the French, acted in an aggressive and menacing manner.
As a result, the Supreme French Commander in Germany requested his
American counterpart to remove all black troops from the French zone.
The U.S. commander in Europe, General Joseph T. McNarney, investigated
the incident, court-martialed its instigators, and transferred the
entire detachment out of the French zone. At the same time his staff
explained to the French that to prohibit the stationing of Negroes in
the area would be discriminatory and contrary to Army policy. Black
specialists continued to operate in the French zone, although none
were subsequently stationed there permanently.[8-7]

                   [Footnote 8-7: Geis Monograph, pp. 145-47.]

The Far East Command also suffered racial incidents. The Eighth Army
reported in 1946 that "racial agitation" was one of the primary causes
of assault, the most frequent violent crime among American troops in
Japan. This racial agitation was usually limited to the American
community, however, and seldom involved the civilian population.[8-8]

                   [Footnote 8-8: AFPAC Monograph, 2:176.]

The task of maintaining a biracial Army overseas in peacetime was
marked with embarrassing incidents and time-consuming investigations.
The Army was constantly hearing about its racial problems overseas and
getting no end of advice. For example, in May 1946 Louis Lautier,
chief of the Negro Newspaper Publishers Association news service,
informed the Assistant Secretary of War that fifty-five of the seventy
American soldiers executed for crimes in the European theater were
black. Most were category IV and V men. "In light of this fact,"
Lautier charged, "the blame for the comparatively high rate of crime
among black soldiers belongs to the American educational system."[8-9]

                   [Footnote 8-9: Ltr, Louis R. Lautier to Howard C.
                   Petersen, 28 May 46. ASW 291.2 (NT).]

But when a delegation of publishers from Lautier's organization toured
European installations during the same period, the members took a more
comprehensive look at the Seventh Army's race problems. They told
Secretary Patterson that they found all American soldiers reacting
similarly to poor leadership, substandard living conditions, and
menial occupations whenever such conditions existed. Although they
professed to see no difference in the conduct of white and black
troops, they went on to list factors that contributed to the bad
conduct of some of the black troops including the dearth of black
officers, hostility of military police, inadequate recreation, and
poor camp location. They also pointed out that many soldiers in the
occupation had been shipped overseas without basic training,       (p. 211)
scored low in the classification tests, and served under young and
inexperienced noncoms. Many black regulars, on the other hand, once
proud members of combat units, now found themselves performing menial
tasks in the backwaters of the occupation. Above all, the publishers
witnessed widespread racial discrimination, a condition that followed
inevitably, they believed, from the Army's segregation policy.
Conditions in the Army appeared to them to facilitate an immediate
shift to integration; conditions in Europe and elsewhere made such a
shift imperative. Yet they found most commanders in Europe still
unaware of the Gillem Board Report and its liberalizing provisions,
and little being done to encourage within the Army the sensitivity to
racial matters that makes life in a biracial society bearable. Until
the recommendations of the board were carried out and discrimination
stopped, they warned the secretary, the Army must expect racial
flare-ups to continue.[8-10]

                   [Footnote 8-10: Frank L. Stanley, Report of the Negro
                   Newspaper Publishers Association to the Honorable
                   Secretary of War on Troops and Conditions in
                   Europe, 18 Jul 46, copy in CMH.]

Characteristically, the Secretary of War's civilian aide, Marcus Ray,
never denied evidence of misconduct among black troops, but
concentrated instead on finding the cause. Returning from a month's
tour of Pacific installations in September 1946, he bluntly pointed
out to Secretary Patterson that high venereal disease and
court-martial rates among black troops were "in direct proportion to
the high percentage of Class IV and Vs among the Negro personnel."
Given Ray's conclusion, the solution was relatively simple: the Army
should "vigorously implement" its recently promulgated policy, long
supported by Ray, and discharge persons with test scores of less than

                   [Footnote 8-11: Ray, Rpt of Tour of Pacific
                   Installations to SW Patterson, 7 Aug-6 Sep 46, ASW

The civilian aide was not insensitive to the effects of segregation on
black soldiers, but he stressed the practical results of the Army's
policy instead of making a sweeping indictment of segregation. For
example, he criticized the report of the noted criminologist, Leonard
Keeler, who had recently studied the criminal activities of American
troops in Europe for the Army's Criminal Investigation Division. Ray
was critical, not because Keeler had been particularly concerned with
the relatively high black crime rate and its effect on Europeans, but
because the report overlooked the concentration of segregated black
units which had increased the density of Negroes in some areas of
Europe to a point where records and reports of misconduct presented a
false picture. In effect, black crime statistics were meaningless, Ray
believed, as long as the Army's segregation policy remained intact.
Where Keeler implied that the solution was to exclude Negroes from
Europe, Ray believed that the answer lay in desegregating and
spreading them out.[8-12]

                   [Footnote 8-12: Memo, Ray for ASW Petersen, 1 Nov 46,
                   ASW 291.2.]

It was probably inevitable that all the publicity given racial
troubles would attract attention on Capitol Hill. When the Senate's
Special Investigations Committee took up the question of military
government in occupied Europe in the fall of 1946, it decided to look
into the conduct of black soldiers also. Witnesses asserted that black
troops in Europe were ill-behaved and poorly disciplined and their (p. 212)
officers were afraid to punish them properly for fear of displeasing
higher authorities. The committee received a report on the occupation
prepared by its chief counsel, George Meader. A curious amalgam of
sensational hearsay, obvious racism, and unimpeachable fact, the
document was leaked to the press and subsequently denounced publicly
by the committee's chairman, Senator Harley M. Kilgore of West
Virginia. Kilgore charged that parts of the report dealing with
Negroes were obviously based on hearsay. "Neither prejudice nor
malice," the senator concluded, "has any place in factual

                   [Footnote 8-13: U.S. Congress, Senate Special
                   Committee Investigating National Defense Programs,
                   Part 42, "Military Government in Germany," 80th
                   Cong., 22 November 1946, pp. 26150-89; see also New
                   York _Times_, November 27 and December 4, 1946. The
                   quotation is from the _Times_ of November 27th.]

Although the committee's staff certainly had displayed remarkable
insensitivity, Meader's recommendations appeared temperate enough. He
wanted the committee to explore with the War Department possible
solutions to the problem of black troops overseas, and he called on
the War Department to give careful consideration to the
recommendations of its field commanders. The European commander was
already on record with a recommendation to recall all black troops
from Europe, citing the absence of Negroes from the U.S. Occupation
Army in the Rhineland after World War I. Lt. Gen. Lucius D. Clay, then
U.S. Commander, Berlin, who later succeeded General McNarney as
theater commander and military governor, wanted Negroes in the
occupation army used primarily as parade troops. Meader contended that
the War Department was reluctant to act on these theater
recommendations because it feared political repercussions from the
black community. He had no such fear: "certainly, the conduct of the
negro troops, as provable from War Department records, is no credit to
the negro race and proper action to solve the problem should not
result in any unfavorable reaction from any intelligent negro

                   [Footnote 8-14: Senate Special Committee, "Military
                   Government in Germany," 80th Cong., 22 Nov 1946,
                   pp. 26163-64; see also Geis Monograph, pp. 142-43.]

The War Department was not insensitive to the opinions being aired on
Capitol Hill. The under secretary, Kenneth C. Royall, had already
dispatched a group from the Inspector General's office under Brig.
Gen. Elliot D. Cooke to find out among other things if black troops
were being properly disciplined and to investigate other charges Lt.
Col. Francis P. Miller had made before the Special Investigations
Committee. Examining in detail the records of one subordinate European
command, which had 12,000 Negroes in its force of 44,000, the Cooke
group decided that commanders were not afraid to punish black
soldiers. Although Negroes were responsible for vehicle accidents and
disciplinary infractions in numbers disproportionate to their
strength, they also had a proportionately higher court-martial

                   [Footnote 8-15: Geis Monograph, pp. 144-45; EUCOM
                   Hist Div, _Morale and Discipline in the European
                   Command, 1945-1949_, Occupation Forces in Europe
                   Series, pp. 45-46, in CMH.]

While the Cooke group was still studying the specific charges of the
Senate's Investigations Committee, Secretary Patterson decided on a
general review of the situation. He ordered Ray to tour European
installations and report on how the Gillem Board policy was being  (p. 213)
put into effect overseas. Ray visited numerous bases and housing
and recreation areas in Germany, Italy, France, Switzerland, and
Austria. He examined duties, living conditions, morale, and
discipline. He also looked into race relations and community
attitudes. His month's tour, ending on 17 December 1946, reinforced
his conviction that substandard troops--black and white--were at the
heart of the Army's crime and venereal disease problem. Ray supported
the efforts of local commanders to discharge these men, although he
wanted the secretary to reform and standardize the method of
discharge. In his analysis of the overseas situation, the civilian
aide avoided any specific allusion to the nexus between segregation
and racial unrest. In a rare burst of idealism, however, he did
condemn those who would exclude Negroes from combat units and certain
occupations because of presumed prejudices on the part of the German
population. To bow to such prejudices, he insisted, was to negate
America's aspirations for the postwar world. In essence, Ray's formula
for good race relations was quite simple: institute immediately the
reforms outlined in the Gillem Board Report.

In addition to broader use of black troops, Ray was concerned with
basic racial attitudes. The Army, he charged, generally failed to see
the connection between prejudice and national security; many of its
leaders even denied that prejudice existed in the Army. Yet to ignore
the problem of racial prejudice, he claimed, condemned the Army to
perpetual racial upsets. He wanted the secretary to restate the Army's
racial objectives and launch an information and education program to
inform commanders and troops on racial matters.[8-16]

                   [Footnote 8-16: Ray, "Rpt to SecWar, Mr. Robert P.
                   Patterson, of Tour of European Installations," 17
                   Dec 46, Incl to Memo, SW for DCofS, 7 Jan 47, SW

In all other respects a lucid progress report on the Gillem Board
policy, Ray's analysis was weakened by his failure to point out the
effect of segregation on the performance and attitude of black
soldiers. Ray believed that the Gillem Board policy, with its quota
system and its provisions for the integration of black specialists,
would eventually lead to an integrated Army. Preoccupied with
practical and imminently possible racial reforms, Ray, along with
Secretary Patterson and other reformers within the Army establishment,
tended to overlook the tenacious hold that racial segregation had on
Army thought.

This hold was clearly illustrated by the reaction of the Army staff to
Ray's recommendations. Speaking with the concurrence of the other
staff elements and the approval of the Deputy Chief of Staff, General
Paul warned that very little could be accomplished toward the
long-range objective of the Gillem Board--integration--until the Army
completed the long and complex task of raising the quality and
lowering the quantity of black soldiers. He also considered it
impractical to use Negroes in overhead positions, combat units, and
highly technical and professional positions in exact proportion to
their percentage of the population. Such use, Paul claimed, would
expend travel funds already drastically curtailed and further
complicate a serious housing situation. He admitted that the
deep-seated prejudice of some Army members in all grades would     (p. 214)
have a direct bearing on the progress of the Army's new racial

[Illustration: 24TH INFANTRY BAND, GIFU, JAPAN, 1947.]

The staff generally agreed with Ray's other recommendations with one
exception: it opposed his suggestion that black units be used in the
European theater's constabulary, the specially organized and trained
force that patrolled the East-West border and helped police the German
occupation. The theater commander had so few capable Negroes, Paul
reasoned, that to siphon off enough to form a constabulary unit would
threaten the efficiency of other black units. Besides, even if enough
qualified Negroes were available, he believed their use in supervisory
positions over German nationals would be unacceptable to many
Germans.[8-17] The staff offered no evidence for this latter argument,
and indeed there was none available. In marked contrast to their
reaction to the French government's quartering of Senegalese soldiers
in the Rhineland after World War I, the German attitude toward
American Negroes immediately after World War II was notably tolerant,
a factor in the popularity among Negroes of assignments to Europe. It
was only later that the Germans, especially tavern owners and the  (p. 215)
like, began to adopt the discriminatory practices of their

                   [Footnote 8-17: WDGPA Summary Sheet, 25 Jan 47, sub:
                   Utilization of Negroes in the European Theater,
                   with Incls, WDGPA 291.2 (7 Jan 47).]

                   [Footnote 8-18: Interv, author with Lt Gen Clarence
                   R. Huebner (former CG, U.S. Army, Europe), 31 Mar
                   71, CMH files.]

Ray's proposals and the reaction to them formed a kind of watershed in
the War Department's postwar racial policy. Just ten months after the
Gillem Board Report was published, the Army staff made a judgment on
the policy's effectiveness: the presence of Negroes in numbers
approximating 10 percent of the Army's strength and at the current
qualitative level made it necessary to retain segregation
indefinitely. Segregation kept possible troublemakers out of important
combat divisions, promoted efficiency, and placated regional
prejudices both in the Army and Congress. Integration must be
postponed until the number of Negroes in the Army was carefully
regulated and the quality of black troops improved. Both, the staff
thought, were goals of a future so distant that segregated units were
not threatened.

But the staff's views ran contrary to the Gillem Board policy and the
public utterances of the Secretary of War. Robert Patterson had
consistently supported the policy in public and before his advisers.
Besides, it was unthinkable that he would so quickly abandon a policy
developed at the cost of so much effort and negotiation and announced
with such fanfare. He had insisted that the quota be maintained, most
recently in the case of the European Command.[8-19] In sum, he believed
that the policy provided guidelines, practical and expedient, albeit
temporary, that would lead to the integration of the Army.

                   [Footnote 8-19: Geis Monograph, pp. 143-44.]

In face of this impasse between the secretary and the Army staff there
slowly evolved what proved to be a new racial policy. Never clearly
formulated--Circular 124 continued in effect with only minor changes
until 1950--the new policy was based on the substantially different
proposition that segregation would continue indefinitely while the
staff concentrated on weeding out poorly qualified Negroes, upgrading
the rest, and removing vestiges of discrimination, which it saw as
quite distinct from segregation. At the same time the Army would
continue to operate under a strict 10 percent quota of Negroes, though
not necessarily within every occupation or specialty. The staff
overlooked the increasingly evident connection between segregation and
racial unrest, thereby assuring the continuation of both. From 1947
on, integration, the stated goal of the Gillem Board policy, was
ignored, while segregation, which the board saw as an expedient to be
tolerated, became for the Army staff a way of life to be treasured. It
was from this period in 1947 that Circular 124 and the Gillem Board
Report began to gain their reputations as regressive documents.

_Improving the Status of the Segregated Soldier_

In 1947 the Army accelerated its long-range program to discharge
soldiers who scored less than seventy on the Army General
Classification Test. Often a subject of public controversy, the
program formed a major part of the Army's effort to close the      (p. 216)
educational and training gap between black and white troops.[8-20]
Of course, there were other ways to close the gap, and on occasion the
Army had taken the more positive and difficult approach of upgrading
its substandard black troops by giving them extra training. Although
rarely so recognized, the Army's long record of providing remedial
academic and technical training easily qualified it as one of the
nation's major social engineers.

                   [Footnote 8-20: For the use of AR 315-369 to
                   discharge low-scoring soldiers, see Chapter 7.]

[Illustration: GENERAL HUEBNER _inspects the 529th Military Police
Company, Giessen, Germany, 1948_.]

In World War II thousands of draftees were taught to read and write in
the Army's literacy program. In 1946 at Fort Benning an on-duty
educational program was organized in the 25th Regimental Combat Team
for soldiers, in this case all Negroes, with less than an eighth grade
education. Although the project had to be curtailed because of a lack
of specialized instructors, an even more ambitious program was
launched the next year throughout the Army after a survey revealed an
alarming illiteracy rate in replacement troops. In a move of primary
importance to black recruits, the Far East Command, for example,
ordered all soldiers lacking the equivalent of a fifth grade education
to attend courses. The order was later changed to include all soldiers
who failed to achieve Army test scores of seventy.[8-21]

                   [Footnote 8-21: AFPAC Monograph, 4:193.]

In 1947 the European theater launched the most ambitious project by
far for improving the status of black troops, and before it was over
thousands of black soldiers had been examined, counseled, and trained.
The project was conceived and executed by the deputy and later theater
commander, Lt. Gen. Clarence R. Huebner, and his adviser on Negro
affairs, Marcus Ray, now a lieutenant colonel.[8-22] These men were
convinced that a program could be devised to raise the status of the
black soldier. Huebner wanted to lay the foundation for a command-wide
educational program for all black units. "If you're going to make
soldiers out of people," he later explained, "they have the right to
be trained." Huebner had specialized in training in his Army career,
had written several of the Army's training manuals, and possessed an
abiding faith in the ability of the Army to change men. "If your   (p. 217)
soldiers don't know how, teach them."[8-23]

                   [Footnote 8-22: At the suggestion of Secretary
                   Patterson, General Huebner established the position
                   of Negro adviser. After several candidates were
                   considered, the post went to Marcus Ray, who left
                   the secretary's office and went on active duty.]

                   [Footnote 8-23: Interv, author with Huebner.]

General Huebner got his chance in March 1947 when the command decided
to use some 3,000 unassigned black troops in guard duties formerly
performed by the 1st Infantry Division. The men were organized into
two infantry battalions,[8-24] but because of their low test scores
Huebner decided to establish a twelve-to thirteen-week training
program at the Grafenwohr Training Center and directed the commanding
general of the 1st Division to train black soldiers in both basic
military and academic subjects. Huebner concluded his directive by

     This is our first opportunity to put into effect in a large way
     the War Department policy on Negro soldiers as announced in War
     Department Circular No. 124, 1946. Owing to the necessity for
     rapid training, and to the press of occupational duties, little
     time has been available in the past for developing the leadership
     of the Negro soldier. We can now do that.... I wish you to study
     the program, its progress, its deficiencies and its advantages,
     in order that a full report may be compiled and lessons in
     operation and training drawn.[8-25]

                   [Footnote 8-24: The 370th and 371st Infantry
                   Battalions (Separate) were organized on 20 June
                   1947. The men came from EUCOM's inactivated
                   engineer service battalions and construction
                   companies, ambulance companies, and ordnance
                   ammunition, quartermaster railhead, signal heavy
                   construction, and transportation corps car
                   companies; see Geis Monograph, p. 80.]

                   [Footnote 8-25: Ltr, CG, Ground and Service Forces,
                   Europe, to CG, 1st Inf Div, 1 May 47, sub: Training
                   of Negro Infantry Battalions, quoted in Geis
                   Monograph, pp. 113-14.]

As the improved military bearing and efficiency of black trainees and
the subsequent impressive performance of the two new infantry
battalions would suggest, the reports on the Grafenwohr training were
optimistic and the lessons drawn ambitious. They prompted Huebner on 1
December 1947 to establish a permanent training center at Kitzingen
Air Base.[8-26] Essentially, he was trying to combine both drill and
constant supervision with a broad-based educational program. Trainees
received basic military training for six hours daily and academic
instruction up to the twelfth grade level for two hours more. The
command ordered all black replacements and casuals arriving from the
United States to the training center for classifying and training as
required. Eventually all black units in Europe were to be rotated
through Kitzingen for unit refresher and individual instruction. As
each company completed the course at Kitzingen, the command assigned
academic instructors to continue an on-duty educational program in the
field. A soldier was required to participate in the educational
program until he passed the general education development test for
high school level or until he clearly demonstrated that he could not
profit from further instruction.

                   [Footnote 8-26: The training center had already moved
                   from Grafenwohr to larger quarters at Mannheim
                   Koafestal, Germany.]

Washington was quick to perceive the merit of the European program,
and Paul reported widespread approval "from all concerned."[8-27] The
program quickly produced some impressive statistics. Thousands of  (p. 218)
soldiers--at the peak in 1950 more than 62 percent of all Negroes in
the command--were enrolled in the military training course at
Kitzingen or in on-duty educational programs organized in over
two-thirds of the black companies throughout the command. By June 1950
the program had over 2,900 students and 200 instructors. A year later,
the European commander estimated that since the program began some
1,169 Negroes had completed fifth grade in his schools, 2,150 had
finished grade school, and 418 had passed the high school equivalency
test.[8-28] The experiment had a practical and long-lasting effect on
the Army. For example, in 1950 a sampling of three black units showed
that after undergoing training at Kitzingen and in their own units the
men scored an average of twenty points higher in Army classification
tests. According to a 1950 European Command estimate, the command's
education program was producing some of the finest trained black
troops in the Army.

                   [Footnote 8-27: Ltr, D/P&A to Huebner, 15 Oct 47,
                   CSGPA 291.2. This approval did not extend to all
                   civil rights advocates, some of whom objected to
                   the segregated training. Walter White, however,
                   supported the program. See Interv, author with

                   [Footnote 8-28: EUCOM Hist Div, _EUCOM Command
                   Report, 1951_, pp. 128, 251, copy in CMH.]

[Illustration: REPORTING TO KITZINGEN. _Men of Company B, 371st
Infantry Battalion, arrive for refresher course in basic military

The training program even provoked jealous reaction among some white
troops who claimed that the educational opportunities offered Negroes
discriminated against them. They were right, for in comparison to the
on-duty high school courses offered Negroes, the command restricted
courses for white soldiers to so-called literacy training or
completion of the fifth grade. Command spokesmen quite openly
justified the disparity on the grounds that Negroes on the whole   (p. 219)
had received fewer educational opportunities in the United States and
that the program would promote efficiency in the command.[8-29]

                   [Footnote 8-29: Ltr, Chief, EUCOM TI&E Div, to EUCOM
                   DCSOPS, 18 Jun 48, cited in Geis Monograph, p.

Whether a connection can be made between the Kitzingen training
program and improvement in the morale and discipline of black troops,
the fact was that by January 1950 a dramatic change had occurred in
the conduct of black soldiers in the European Command. The rate of
venereal disease among black soldiers had dropped to an average
approximating the rate for white troops (and not much greater than the
always lower average for troops in the United States). This phenomenon
was repeated in the serious incident rate. In the first half of 1950
courts-martial that resulted in bad conduct discharges totaled
fifty-nine for Negroes, a figure that compared well with the 324
similar verdicts for the larger contingent of white soldiers.[8-30] For
once the Army could document what it had always preached, that
education and training were the keys to the better performance of
black troops. The tragedy was that the education program was never
applied throughout the Army, not even in the Far East and in the
United States, where far more black soldiers were stationed than in
Europe.[8-31] The Army lost yet another chance to fulfill the promise of
its postwar policy.

                   [Footnote 8-30: Geis Monograph, Charts 3 and 4 and p.

                   [Footnote 8-31: Not comparable was the brief literacy
                   program reinstituted in the 25th Regimental Combat
                   Team at Fort Benning, Georgia, in 1947.]

In later years Kitzingen assumed the task of training black officers,
a natural progression considering the attitude of General Huebner and
Marcus Ray. The general and the command adviser were convinced that
the status of black soldiers depended at least in part on the caliber
of black officers commanding them. Huebner deftly made this point in
October 1947 soon after Kitzingen opened when he explained to General
Paul that he wanted more "stable, efficient, and interested Negro
officers and senior non-commissioned officers" who, he believed, would
set an example for the trainees.[8-32] Others shared Huebner's views.
The black publishers touring Europe some months later observed that
wherever black officers were assigned there was "a noticeable
improvement in the morale, discipline and general efficiency of the
units involved."[8-33]

                   [Footnote 8-32: Ltr, Huebner to D/P&A, 1 Oct 47,
                   CSGPA 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 8-33: Memo, DCofS for D/P&A, 14 May 48,
                   sub: Report of Visit by Negro Publishers and
                   Editors to the European Theater, CSUSA 291.2
                   Negroes (14 May 48).]

The European Command had requisitioned only five black officers during
the last eight months, General Paul noted; this might have caused its
shortage of black officers. Still, Paul knew the problem went deeper,
and he admitted that many black officers now on duty were relatively
undesirable and many desirable ones were being declared surplus. He
was searching for a solution.[8-34] The Personnel and Administration
Division could do very little about the major cause of the shortage,
for the lack of black officers was fundamentally connected with the
postwar demobilization affecting all the services. Most black officers
were unable to compete in terms of length of service, combat experience,
and other factors that counted heavily toward retention.           (p. 220)
Consequently their numbers dropped sharply from an August 1945 high of
7,748 to a December 1947 low of 1,184. The drop more than offset the
slight rise in the black percentage of the whole officer corps, .8
percent in 1945 to 1.0 percent in 1947.

                   [Footnote 8-34: Ltr, D/P&A to Huebner, 15 Oct 47,
                   CSGPA 291.2.]

At first General Paul was rather passive in his attitude toward the
shortage of black officers. Commenting on Assistant Secretary of War
Petersen's suggestion in May 1946 that the Army institute a special
recruitment program to supplement the small number of black officers
who survived the competition for Regular Army appointments, Paul noted
that all appointments were based on merit and competition and
that special consideration for Negroes was itself a form of
discrimination.[8-35] Whether through fear of being accused of
discrimination against whites or because of the general curtailment of
officer billets, it was not until April 1948 that the Personnel and
Administration Division launched a major effort to get more black

                   [Footnote 8-35: Memo, ASW for D/P&A, 23 May 46, sub:
                   Negro Officers in the Regular Establishment; Memo,
                   D/P&A for ASW, 29 May 46, same sub; Memo, "D. R."
                   (Exec Asst to ASW, Lt Col D. J. Rogers) for
                   Petersen, 12 Jun 46. Copies of all in ASW 291.2 (23
                   May 46).]

In April 1948 General Paul had his Manpower Control Group review the
officer strength of seventy-eight black units stationed in the United
States. The group uncovered a shortage of seventy-two officers in the
seventy-eight units, but it went considerably beyond identifying
simple shortages. In estimating the number of black officers needed,
the group demonstrated not only how far the Gillem Board policy had
committed the Army, but in view of contemporary manpower shortages
just how impossible this commitment was of being fulfilled. The
manpower group discovered that according to Circular 124, which
prescribed more officers for units containing a preponderance of men
with low test scores, the seventy-eight units should have 187
additional officers beyond their regular allotment. Also taking into
account Circular 124's provision that black officers should command
black troops, the group discovered that these units would need another
477 black officer replacements. The group temporized. It recommended
that the additional officers be assigned to units in which 70 percent
or more of the men were in grades IV and V and without mentioning
specific numbers noted that high priority be given to the replacement
of white officers with Negroes. Assuming the shortages discovered in
the seventy-eight units would be mirrored in the 315 black units
overseas as well as other temporary units at home, the group also
wanted General Paul to order a comprehensive survey of all black

                   [Footnote 8-36: Memo, Chief, Manpower Survey Gp, for
                   Paul, 29 Apr 48, sub: Assignment of Officers of
                   Negro T/O&E Units in Compliance with WD Cir 124,
                   1946, CSGPA 210.31 (29 Apr 48); "Report on Negro
                   Officer Strength in Army," incl w/Memo, D/P&A for
                   DCofS, 21 Jun 48, sub: Report of Negro Publishers
                   and Editors on Tour of European Installations,
                   CSUSA 291.2 Negroes (14 May 48).]

Paul complied with the group's request by ordering the major
commanders in May to list the number of officers by branch, grade, and
specialty needed to fill the vacant spaces in their black units.[8-37]
But there was really little need for further surveys because the   (p. 221)
key to all the group's recommendations--the availability of suitable
black officers--was beyond the immediate reach of the Army. General
Paul was able to fill the existing vacancies in the seventy-eight
continental units by recalling black officers from inactive duty, but
the number eligible for recall or available from other sources was
limited. As of 31 May 1948, personnel officials could count on only
2,794 black reserve and National Guard officers who could be assigned
to extended active duty. This number was far short of current needs;
Negroes would have to approximate 4.1 percent (3,000 officers) of the
Army's officer corps if all the whites in black units were replaced.
As for the other provisions of the Gillem Board, the Organization and
Training Division urged restraint, arguing that Circular 124 was not
an authorization for officers in excess of organization table
ceilings, but rather that the presence of many low-scoring men
constituted a basis for requesting more officers.[8-38]

                   [Footnote 8-37: Memo, D/P&A for TAG, 24 May 48, sub:
                   Negro Officers in TO&E Units, CSGPA 291.2 (24 May

                   [Footnote 8-38: Ibid.; "Report on Negro Officer
                   Strength in Army," incl w/Memo, D/P&A for DCofS, 21
                   Jun 48, sub: Report of Negro Publishers and
                   Editors..., CSUSA 291.2 Negroes (14 May 48).]

General Paul did not argue the point. Admitting that the 4.1 percent
figure was "an objective to be achieved over a period of time," he
could do little but instruct the commanders concerned to indicate in
future requisitions that they wanted black officers as fillers or
replacements in black units. Clearly, as long as the number of black
officers remained so low, the provisions of Circular 124 calling for
black officers to replace whites or supplement the officer strength of
units containing men with low test scores would have to be ignored.

There were other long-range possibilities for procuring more black
officers, the most obvious the expansion of the Reserve Officers'
Training Corps. As of January 1948 the Army had ROTC units at nine
predominantly black colleges and universities with a total enrollment
of 3,035 cadets. The Organization and Training Division contemplated
adding one more unit during 1948, but after negotiations with
officials from Secretary Royall's office, themselves under
considerable congressional and public pressure, the division added
three more advanced ROTC units, one service and two combat, at
predominantly black institutions.[8-39] At the same time some hope
existed for increasing the number of black cadets at West Point. The
academy had nine black cadets in 1948, including five plebes. General
Paul hoped that the graduation of these cadets would stimulate further
interest and a corresponding increase in applications from

                   [Footnote 8-39: Memo, Asst Secy, GS, for DCofS, 2 Jun
                   48, sub: Negro ROTC Units, CSUSA 291.2 Negroes (2
                   Jun 48); see also Department of National Defense,
                   "National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs," 26
                   Apr 48, morning session, pp. 31-34, copy in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 8-40: "Report on Negro Officer Strength in
                   Army," incl w/Memo, D/P&A for DCofS, 21 Jun 48,
                   sub: Report of Negro Publishers and Editors...,
                   CSUSA 291.2 Negroes (14 May 48).]

It was probably naive to assume that an increase of black cadets from
four to nine would stir much interest when other statistics suggested
that black officers had a limited future in the service. As Secretary
Royall pointed out, even if the total number of black officers could
not be quickly increased, the percentage of black officers in the  (p. 222)
Regular Army could.[8-41] Yet by April 1948 the Army had almost
completed the conversion of reservists into regulars, and few black
officers had been selected. In June 1945, for example, there were 8
black officers in the Regular Army; by April 1948 they numbered only
41, including 4 West Point graduates and 32 converted reservists.[8-42]
The Army had also recently nominated 13 young Negroes, designated
Distinguished Military Graduates of the advanced ROTC program, for
Regular Army commissions.

                   [Footnote 8-41: Department of National Defense,
                   "National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs," 26
                   Apr 48, morning session, pp. 20-21. Prior to World
                   War II, an officer held a commission in the Regular
                   Army, in the Army Reserve, or in the National
                   Guard. Another type of commission, one in the Army
                   of the United States (AUS), was added during World
                   War II, and all temporary promotions granted during
                   the war were to AUS rank. For example, a Regular
                   Army captain could become an AUS major but would
                   retain his Regular Army captaincy. Many reservists
                   and some National Guard officers remaining on
                   active duty sought conversion to, or "integration"
                   into, the Regular Army for career security.]

                   [Footnote 8-42: These black officers were converted
                   to Regular Army officers in the following arms and
                   services: Infantry, 13; Chaplain Corps, 9; Medical
                   Service Corps, 1; Army Nurse Corps, 1; Field
                   Artillery, 1; Quartermaster, 7 (4 of whom were
                   transferred later to the Transportation Corps).
                   These figures include the first black doctor and
                   nurse converted to Regular Army officers.]

During the Regular Army integration program, 927 Negroes and 122,520
whites applied for the Regular Army; the Army and the Air Force
awarded commissions to 27,798 white officers (22.7 percent of those
applying) and 96 black officers (10.3 percent of the applicants).
Preliminary rejections based on efficiency and education ran close to
40 percent of the applicants of both races. The disparity in
rejections by race appeared when applicants went before the Selection
Board itself; only 18.55 percent of the remaining black applicants
were accepted while 39.35 percent of the white applicants were
selected for Regular Army commissions.[8-43]

                   [Footnote 8-43: "Analysis of Negro Officers in the
                   Army," incl w/Memo, D/P&A for DCAS, 21 Jun 48, sub:
                   Report of Negro Publishers and Editors..., CSUSA
                   291.2 Negroes (14 May 48).]

Given statistics like these, it was difficult to stimulate black
interest in a career as an Army officer, as General Paul was well
aware. He had the distribution of black officers appointed to the
Regular Army studied in 1947 to see if it was in consonance with the
new racial policy. While most of the arms and services passed muster
with the Personnel and Administration Division, Paul felt compelled to
remind the Chief of Engineers, whose corps had so far awarded no
Regular Army commission to the admittedly limited number of black
applicants, that officers were to be accepted in the Regular Army
without regard to race. He repeated this warning to the Quartermaster
General and the Chief of Transportation; both had accepted black
officers for the Regular Army but had selected only the smallest
fraction of those applying. Although the black applicants did score
slightly below the whites, Paul doubted that integration would lower
the standards of quality in these branches, and he wanted every effort
made to increase the number of black officers.[8-44]

                   [Footnote 8-44: DF, D/P&A to Chief of Engrs, 25 Jul
                   47, sub: Appointment of Negro Officers to the
                   Regular Army, w/attached Memo for Rcd, WDGPA 291.2
                   (23 Jul 47).]

The Chief of Engineers, quick to defend his record, explained that the
race of candidates was difficult to ascertain and had not been
considered in the selection process. Nevertheless, he had reexamined
all rejected applications and found two from Negroes whose         (p. 223)
composite scores were acceptable. Both men, however, fell so short of
meeting the minimum professional requirements that to appoint either
would be to accord preferential treatment denied to hundreds of other
underqualified applicants.[8-45] It would appear that bias and prejudice
were not the only governing factors in the shortage of black officers,
but rather that in some ways at least Circular 124 was making
impossible demands on the Army's personnel system.

                   [Footnote 8-45: DF, Chief of Engrs to D/P&A, 1 Aug
                   47, sub: Appointment of Negro Officers to the
                   Regular Army, copy in WPGPA 291.2 (23 Jul 47).]

_Discrimination and the Postwar Army_

Training black soldiers and trying to provide them with black officers
was a practical move demanded by the Army's new race policy. At the
same time, often with reluctance and only after considerable pressure
had been brought to bear, the Army also began to attack certain
practices that discriminated against the black soldier. One was the
arbitrary location of training camps after the war. In November 1946,
for example, the Army Ground Forces reorganized its training centers
for the Army, placing them at six installations: Fort Dix, New Jersey;
Fort Bragg, North Carolina; Fort Knox, Kentucky; Fort Jackson, South
Carolina; Fort Lewis, Washington, and Fort Ord, California. White
enlisted and reenlisted men were sent to the training centers within
the geographical limits of the Army area of their enlistment. Because
it was impossible for the Army Ground Forces to maintain separate
black training cadres of battalion size at each of the six centers,
all Negroes, except those slated for service in the Army Air Forces,
were sent to Fort Jackson.[8-46]

                   [Footnote 8-46: WD Memo 615-500-4, 21 Nov 46, sub:
                   Flow of Enlisted Personnel From Induction Centers
                   and Central Examining Stations.]

The Gillem Board had called for the assignment of Negroes to
localities where community attitudes were favorable, and Marcus Ray
protested the Ground Forces action. "It is in effect a restatement of
policy and ... has implications which will affect adversely the
relationship of the Army and our Negro manpower potential.... I am
certain that this ruling will have the immediate effect of
crystallizing Negro objections to the enlistment of qualified men and
also Universal Military Training."[8-47]

                   [Footnote 8-47: Memo, Marcus Ray for ASW, 23 Jan 47,
                   ASW 291.2.]

Ray reminded Assistant Secretary of War Petersen that the Fort Jackson
area had been the scene of many racial disturbances since 1941 and
that an increase in the black troop population would only intensify
the hostile community attitude. He wanted to substitute Fort Dix and
Fort Ord for Fort Jackson. He also had another suggestion: Why not
assign black training companies to white battalions, especially in
those training centers that drew their populations from northern,
eastern, and western communities?

Petersen ignored for the time being Ray's suggestion for composite
training groups, but he readily agreed on training black soldiers at
more congenial posts, particularly after Ray's views were aired in the
black press. Petersen also urged the Deputy Chief of Staff to      (p. 224)
coordinate staff actions with Ray whenever instructions dealing
with race relations in the Army were being prepared.[8-48] At the same
time, Secretary of War Patterson assured Walter White of the NAACP,
who had also protested sending Negroes to Fort Jackson, that the
matter was under study.[8-49] Within a matter of months Negroes entering
the Army from civilian life were receiving their training at Fort Dix
and Fort Ord.

                   [Footnote 8-48: Memo, ASW for DCofS, 7 Feb 47, ASW

                   [Footnote 8-49: Ltr, SW Robert P. Patterson to Walter
                   White, 7 Feb 47, SW 291.2.]

Turning its back on the overt racism of some southern communities, the
Army unwittingly exposed an example of racism in the west. The plan to
train Negroes at Fort Ord aroused the combined opposition of the
citizens around Monterey Bay, who complained to Senator William F.
Knowland that theirs was a tourist area unable to absorb thousands of
black trainees "without serious threat of racial conflict." The Army
reacted with forthright resistance. Negroes would be trained at Fort
Ord, and the Secretary of the Army would be glad to explain the
situation and cooperate with the local citizenry.[8-50]

                   [Footnote 8-50: Telg, Hugh F. Dormody, Mayor of
                   Monterey, Calif., et al., to Sen. William F.
                   Knowland, 31 Jul 48; Ltr, SA to Sen. Knowland, 16
                   May 48; both in CSUSA 291.2 Negroes (10 Aug 48).]

On the recommendation of the civilian aide, the Assistant Secretary of
War introduced another racial reform in January 1947 that removed
racial designations from overseas travel orders and authorizations
issued to dependents and War Department civilian employees.[8-51] The
order was strongly opposed by some members of the Army staff and had
to be repeated by the Secretary of the Army in 1951.[8-52] Branding
racial designations on travel orders a "continuous source of
embarrassment" to the Army, Secretary Frank Pace, Jr., sought to
include all travel orders in the prohibition, but the Army staff
persuaded him it was unwise. While the staff agreed that orders
involving travel between reception centers and training organizations
need not designate race, it convinced the secretary that to abolish
such designations on other orders, including overseas assignment
documents, would adversely affect strength and accounting procedures
as well as overseas replacement systems.[8-53] The modest reform
continued in effect until the question of racial designation became a
major issue in the 1960's.

                   [Footnote 8-51: AG Memo for Office of SW et al., 10
                   Jan 47, sub: Designation of Race on Overseas Travel
                   Orders, AGAO-C 291.2 (6 Jan 47), WDGSP; Memo for
                   Rcd attached to Memo, D/SSP for TAG, 6 Jan 47, same
                   sub, AG 291.2 (6 Jan 47).]

                   [Footnote 8-52: Memo, SA for CofSA, 2 Apr 52, sub:
                   Racial Designations on Travel Orders, CS 291.2 (2
                   Apr 51).]

                   [Footnote 8-53: G-1 Summary Sheet, 26 Apr 52, sub:
                   Racial Designations on Travel Orders; Memo, CofS
                   for SA, 5 May 51, same sub; both in CS 291.2 (2 Apr

Not all the reforms that followed the Gillem Board's deliberations
were so quickly adopted. For in truth the Army was not the monolithic
institution so often depicted by its critics, and its racial
directives usually came out of compromises between the progressive and
traditional factions of the staff. The integration of the national
cemeteries, an emotion-laden issue in 1947, amply demonstrated that
sharp differences of opinion existed within the department. Although
long-standing regulations provided for segregation by rank only, local
custom, and in one case--the Long Island National Cemetery--a 1935
order by Secretary of War George H. Dern, dictated racial          (p. 225)
segregation in most of the cemeteries. The Quartermaster General
reviewed the practice in 1946 and recommended a new policy
specifically opening new sections of all national cemeteries to
eligible citizens of all races. He would leave undisturbed segregated
grave sites in the older sections of the cemeteries because
integration would "constitute a breach of faith with the next of kin
of those now interred."[8-54] As might be expected, General Paul
supported the quartermaster suggestion, as did the commander of the
Army Ground Forces. The Army Air Forces commander, on the other hand,
opposed integrating the cemeteries, as did the Chief of Staff, who on
22 February 1947 rejected the proposal. The existing policy was
reconfirmed by the Under Secretary of War three days later, and there
the matter rested.[8-55]

                   [Footnote 8-54: Memo, QMG for DCofS, 15 Apr 47,
                   CSUSA, copy in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 8-55: WDSP Summary Sheet, 22 Jan 47, sub:
                   Staff Study--Segregation of Grave Sites, WDGSP/C3

Not for long, for civil rights spokesmen and the black press soon
protested. The NAACP confessed itself "astonished" at the Army's
decision and demanded that Secretary Patterson change a practice that
was both "un-American and un-democratic."[8-56] Marcus Ray predicted
that continuing agitation would require further Army action, and he
reminded Under Secretary Royall that cemeteries under the jurisdiction
of the Navy, Veterans Administration, and Department of the Interior
had been integrated with considerable publicity. He urged adoption of
the Quartermaster General's recommendation.[8-57] That was enough for
Secretary Patterson. On 15 April he directed that the new sections of
national cemeteries be integrated.[8-58]

                   [Footnote 8-56: Telg, Secy Veterans Affairs, NAACP,
                   to SW, attached to Memo, SW for DCofS, 11 Apr 47,
                   copy in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 8-57: Memo, Civilian Aide for USW, 15 Mar
                   47, sub: Segregation in Grave Site Assignment, copy
                   in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 8-58: Memo, SW for DCofS, 15 Apr 47, copy
                   in CMH. The secretary's directive was incorporated
                   in the _National Cemetery Regulations_, August
                   1947, and Army Regulation 290-5, 2 October 1951.]

It was a hollow victory for the reformers because the traditionalists
were able to cling to the secretary's proviso that old sections of the
cemeteries be left alone, and the Army continued to gather its dead in
segregation and in bitter criticism. Five months after the secretary's
directive, the American Legion protested to the Secretary of War over
segregation at the Fort Snelling National Cemetery, Minnesota, and in
August 1950 the Governor's Interracial Commission of the State of
Minnesota carried the matter to the President, calling the policy "a
flagrant disregard of human dignity."[8-59] The Army continued to
justify segregation as a temporary and limited measure involving the
old sections, but a decade after the directive the commander of the
Atlanta Depot was still referring to segregation in some
cemeteries.[8-60] The controversial practice would drag on into the next
decade before the Department of Defense finally ruled that there would
be no lines drawn by rank or race in national cemeteries.

                   [Footnote 8-59: Ltr, Royall to Rep. Edward J. Devitt
                   of Minnesota, 4 Sep 47; Ltr, Clifford Rucker to the
                   President, 9 Aug 50; both in SW 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 8-60: Ltr, CG, Atlanta Depot, to DQMG, 19
                   Mar 56, MGME-P. See also Memo, ASA (M&RF) for CofS,
                   27 Sep 52, sub: Segregation of National Cemeteries;
                   DF, QMF to G-4, 6 Oct 52, same sub; both in CS 687
                   (27 Sep 52).]

An attempt to educate the rank and file in the Army's racial       (p. 226)
policy met some opposition in the Army staff. At General Paul's
request, the Information and Education Division prepared a pamphlet
intended to improve race relations through troop indoctrination.[8-61]
_Army Talk 170_, published on 1 April 1947, was, like its World War II
predecessors, _Command of Negro Troops_ and _The Negro Soldier_,
progressive for the times. While it stressed the reforms projected in
the Army's policy, including eventual integration, it also clearly
defended the Army's continued insistence on segregation on the grounds
that segregation promoted interracial harmony. The official position
of the service was baldly stated. "The Army is not an instrument of
social reform. Its interest in matters of race is confined to
considerations of its own effectiveness."

                   [Footnote 8-61: Memo, D/P&A for CofS, 26 Feb 47, sub:
                   Army Talks on "Utilization of Negro Manpower,"
                   WDGPA 291.2 (7 Jan 47).]

Even before publication the pamphlet provoked considerable discussion
and soul-searching in the Army staff. The Deputy Chief of Staff, Lt.
Gen. Thomas T. Handy, questioned some of the Information and Education
Division's claims for black combatants. In the end the matter had to
be taken to General Eisenhower for resolution. He ordered publication,
reminding local commanders that if necessary they should add further
instructions of their own, "in keeping with the local situation" to
insure acceptance of the Army's policy. The pamphlet was not to be
considered an end in itself, he added, but only one element in a
"progressive process toward maximum utilization of manpower in the

                   [Footnote 8-62: WD Cir 76, 22 Mar 47; see also Ltrs,
                   Col David Lane (author of _Army Talk 170_) to
                   Martin Blumenson, 29 Dec 66, and to author, 15 Mar
                   71, CMH files.]

_Segregation in Theory and Practice_

Efforts to carry out the policy set forth in Circular 124 reached a
high-water mark in mid-1948. By then black troops, for so long limited
to a few job categories, could be found in a majority of military
occupational fields. The officer corps was open to all without the
restrictions of a racial quota, and while a quota for enlisted men
still existed all racial distinctions in standards of enlistment were
gone. The Army was replacing white officers in black units with
Negroes as fast as qualified black replacements became available. And
more were qualifying every day. By 30 June 1948 the Army had almost
1,000 black commissioned officers, 5 warrant officers, and 67 nurses
serving with over 65,000 enlisted men and women.[8-63]

                   [Footnote 8-63: STM-30, Strength of the Army, 1 Jul
                   48. For an optimistic report on the execution of
                   Circular 124, see _Annual Report of the Secretary
                   of the Army, 1948_ (Washington: Government Printing
                   Office, 1949), pp. 7-8, 83, 94.]

But here, in the eyes of the Army's critics, was the rub: after three
years of racial reform segregation not only remained but had been
perfected. No longer would the Army be plagued with the vast all-black
divisions that had segregated thousands of Negroes in an admittedly
inefficient and often embarrassing manner. Instead, Negroes would
be segregated in more easily managed hundreds. By limiting         (p. 227)
integration to the battalion level (the lowest self-sustaining unit in
the Army system), the Army could guarantee the separation of the races
in eating, sleeping, and general social matters and still hope to
escape some of the obvious discrimination of separate units by making
the black battalions organic elements of larger white units. The
Army's scheme did not work. Schooling and specialty occupations aside,
segregation quite obviously remained the essential fact of military
life and social intercourse for the majority of black soldiers, and
all the evidence of reasonable and genuine reform that came about
under the Gillem Board policy went aglimmering. The Army was in for
some rough years with its critics.

But why were the Army's senior officers, experienced leaders at the
pinnacle of their careers and dedicated to the well-being of the
institution they served, so reluctant to part with segregation? Why
did they cling to an institution abandoned by the Navy and the Air
Force,[8-64] the target of the civil rights movement and its allies in
Congress, and by any reasonable judgment so costly in terms of
efficient organization? The answers lie in the reasoned defense of
their position developed by these men during the long controversy over
the use of black troops and so often presented in public statements
and documents.[8-65] Arguments for continued segregation fell into four
general categories.

                   [Footnote 8-64: The Air Force became a separate
                   service on 18 September 1947.]

                   [Footnote 8-65: Unless otherwise noted, the following
                   paragraphs are based on Nichols' interviews in 1953
                   with Generals Eisenhower, Bradley, and Lee and with
                   Lt. Col. Steve Davis (a black officer assigned to
                   the P&A Division during the Gillem Board period);
                   author's interview with General Wade H. Haislip, 18
                   Mar 71, and with General J. Lawton Collins, 27 Apr
                   71; all in CMH files; and U.S. Congress, Senate,
                   Hearings Before the U.S. Senate Committee on _Armed
                   Services, Universal Military Training_, 80th Cong.,
                   2d sess., 1948, pp. 995-96. See also Morris
                   Janowitz, _The Professional Soldier: A Social and
                   Political Portrait_ (New York: Free Press, 1960),
                   pp. 87ff.]

First, segregation was necessary to preserve the internal stability of
the Army. Prejudice was a condition of American society, General of
the Army Dwight D. Eisenhower told a Senate committee in 1948, and the
Army "is merely one of the mirrors that holds up to our faces the
United States of America." Since society separated the races, it
followed that if the Army allowed black and white soldiers to live and
socialize together it ran the very real risk of riots and racial
disturbances which could disrupt its vital functions. Remembering the
contribution of black platoons to the war in Europe, General
Eisenhower, for his part, was willing to accept the risk and integrate
the races by platoons, believing that the social problems "can be
handled," particularly on the large posts. Nevertheless he made no
move toward integrating by platoons while he was Chief of Staff. Later
he explained that

     the possibility of applying this lesson [World War II integration
     of Negro platoons] to the peacetime Army came up again and again.
     Objection involved primarily the social side of the soldier's
     life. It was argued that through integration we would get into
     all kinds of difficulty in staging soldiers' dances and other
     social events. At that time we were primarily occupied in
     responding to America's determination "to get the soldiers
     home"--so, as I recall, little progress toward integration was
     made during that period.[8-66]

                   [Footnote 8-66: Ltr, DDE to Gen Bruce Clarke
                   (commander of the 2d Constabulary Brigade when it
                   was integrated in 1950), 29 May 67, copy in CMH.]

[Illustration: INSPECTION BY THE CHIEF OF STAFF. _General Dwight D.
Eisenhower talks with a soldier of the 25th Combat Team Motor Pool
during a tour of Fort Benning, Georgia, 1947._]

"Liquor and women," Lt. Gen. John C. H. Lee pronounced, were the   (p. 228)
major ingredients of racial turmoil in the Army. Although General
Lee had been a prime mover in the wartime integration of combat
platoons, he wanted the Army to avoid social integration because of
the disturbances he believed would attend it. As General Omar N.
Bradley saw it, the Army could integrate its training programs but not
the soldier's social life. Hope of progress would be destroyed if
integration was pushed too fast. Bradley summed up his postwar
attitude very simply: "I said let's go easy--as fast as we can."

Second, segregation was an efficient way to isolate the poorly
educated and undertrained black soldier, especially one with a combat
occupational specialty. To integrate Negroes into white combat units,
already dangerously understrength, would threaten the Army's fighting
ability. When he was Chief of Staff, Eisenhower thought many of the
problems associated with black soldiers, problems of morale, health,
and discipline, were problems of education, and that the Negro was
capable of change. "I believe," he said, "that a Negro can improve his
standing and his social standing and his respect for certain of the
standards that we observe, just as well as we can." Lt. Gen. Wade H.
Haislip, the Deputy Chief of Staff for Administration, concluded that
the Army's racial mission was education. All that Circular 124 meant,
he explained, "was that we had to begin educating the Negro soldiers
so they could be mixed sometime in the future." Bradley observed in
agreement that "as you begin to get better educated Negroes in the
service," there is "more reason to integrate." The Army was pledged to
accept Negroes and to give them a wide choice of assignment, but until
their education and training improved they had to be isolated.

Third, segregation was the only way to provide equal treatment and
opportunity for black troops. Defending this paternalistic argument,
Eisenhower told the Senate:

     In general, the Negro is less well educated ... and if you make a
     complete amalgamation, what you are going to have is in every
     company the Negro is going to be relegated to the minor jobs, and
     he is never going to get his promotion to such grades as
     technical sergeant, master sergeant, and so on, because the
     competition is too tough. If, on the other hand, he is in     (p. 229)
     smaller units of his own, he can go up to that rate, and I
     believe he is entitled to the chance to show his own wares.

Fourth, segregation was necessary because segments of American society
with powerful representatives in Congress were violently opposed to
mixing the races. Bradley explained that integration was part of
social evolution, and he was afraid that the Army might move too fast
for certain sections of the country. "I thought in 1948 that they were
ready in the North," he added, "but not in the South." The south
"learned over the years that mixing the races was a vast problem."
Bradley continued, "so any change in the Army would be a big step in
the South." General Haislip reasoned, you "just can't do it all of a
sudden." As for the influence of those opposed to maintaining the
Army's social _status quo_, Haislip, who was the Vice Chief of Staff
during part of the Gillem Board period, recalled that "everybody was
floundering around, trying to find the right thing to do. I didn't
lose any sleep over it [charges of discrimination]." General
Eisenhower, as he did so often during his career, accurately distilled
the thinking of his associates:

     I believe that the human race may finally grow up to the point
     where it [race relations] will not be a problem. It [the race
     problem] will disappear through education, through mutual
     respect, and so on. But I do believe that if we attempt merely by
     passing a lot of laws to force someone to like someone else, we
     are just going to get into trouble. On the other hand, I do not
     by any means hold out for this extreme segregation as I said when
     I first joined the Army 38 years ago.

These arguments might be specious, as a White House committee would
later demonstrate, but they were not necessarily guileful, for they
were the heartfelt opinions of many of the Army's leaders, opinions
shared by officials of the other services. These men were probably
blind to the racism implicit in their policies, a racism nurtured by
military tradition. Education and environment had fostered in these
career officers a reverence for tradition. Why should the Army, these
traditionalists might ask, abandon its black units, some with
histories stretching back almost a century? Why should the ordered
social life of the Army post, for so long a mirror of the segregated
society of most civilian communities, be so uncomfortably changed? The
fact that integration had never really been tried before made it
fraught with peril, and all the forces of military tradition conspired
to support the old ways.

What had gone unnoticed by Army planners was the subtle change in the
attitude of the white enlisted man toward integration. Opinion surveys
were rare in an institution dedicated to the concept of military
discipline, but nevertheless in the five years following the war
several surveys were made of the racial views of white troops (the
views of black soldiers were ignored, probably on the assumption that
all Negroes favored integration). In 1946, just as the Gillem Board
policy was being enunciated, the Army staff found enlisted men in
substantial agreement on segregation. Although most of those surveyed
supported the expanded use of Negroes in the Army, an overwhelming
majority voted for the principle of having racially separate working
and living arrangements. Yet the pollsters found much less opposition
to integration when they put their questions on a personal basis--"How
do _you_ feel about...?" Only southerners as a group registered a
clear majority for segregated working conditions. The survey also  (p. 230)
revealed another encouraging portent: most of the opposition to
integration existed among older and less educated men.[8-67]

                   [Footnote 8-67: The 1946 survey is contained in
                   CINFO, "Supplementary Rpt on Attitudes of Whites
                   Toward Serving With Negro EM," Incl to Memo, Col
                   Charles S. Johnson, Exec Off, CofS, for DCofS, 24
                   May 49, sub: Segregation in the Army, CSUSA 291.2
                   Negroes (24 May 48).]

[Illustration: GENERAL DAVIS.]

Three years later the Secretary of Defense sponsored another survey of
enlisted opinion on segregation. This time less than a third of those
questioned were opposed to integrated working conditions and some 40
percent were not "definitely opposed" to complete integration of both
working and living arrangements. Again men from all areas tended to
endorse integration as their educational level rose; opposition, on
the other hand, centered in 1949 among the chronic complainers and
those who had never worked with Negroes.[8-68]

                   [Footnote 8-68: Armed Forces I&E Div, OSD, Rpt No.
                   101, "Morale Attitudes of Enlisted Men, May-June
                   1949," pt. II, Attitude Toward Integration of Negro
                   Soldiers in the Army, copy in CMH.]

In discussing prejudice and discrimination it is necessary to compare
the Army with the rest of American society. Examining the question of
race relations in the Army runs the risk of distorting the importance
given the subject by the nation as a whole in the postwar period.
While resistance to segregation was undoubtedly growing in the black
community and among an increasing number of progressives in the white
community, there was as yet no widespread awareness of the problem and
certainly no concerted public effort to end it. This lack of
perception might be particularly justified in the case of Army
officers, for few of them had any experience with black soldiers and
most undoubtedly were not given to wide reading and reflecting on the
subject of race relations. Moreover, the realities of military life
tended to insulate Army officers from the main currents of American
society. Frequently transferred and therefore without roots in the
civilian community, isolated for years at a time in overseas
assignments, their social life often centered in the military
garrison, officers might well have been less aware of racial

Perhaps because of the insulation imposed on officers by their duties,
the Army's leaders were achieving reforms far beyond those accepted
elsewhere in American society. Few national organizations and
industries could match the Army in 1948 for the number of Negroes
employed, the breadth of responsibility given them, and the variety
of their training and occupations. Looked at in this light, the    (p. 231)
Army of 1948 and the men who led it could with considerable
justification be classed as a progressive force in the fight for
racial justice.

_Segregation: An Assessment_

The gap between the Army's stated goal of integration and its
continuing practices had grown so noticeable in 1948, a presidential
election year, that most civil rights spokesmen and their allies in
the press had become disillusioned with Army reforms. Benjamin O.
Davis, still the Army's senior black officer and still after eight
years a brigadier general, called the Army staff's attention to the
shift in attitude. Most had greeted publication of Circular 124 as
"the dawn of a new day for the colored soldier"--General Davis's
words--and looked forward to the gradual eradication of segregation.
But Army practices in subsequent months had brought disappointment, he
warned the under secretary, and the black press had become "restless
and impatient." He wanted the Army staff to give "definite expression
of the desire of the Department of National Defense for the
elimination of all forms of discrimination-segregation from the Armed
Services."[8-69] The suggestion was disapproved. General Paul explained
that the Army could not make such a policy statement since Circular
124 permitted segregated units and a quota that by its nature
discriminated at least in terms of numbers of Negroes assigned.[8-70]

                   [Footnote 8-69: Memo, Brig Gen B. O. Davis, Sp Asst
                   to SA, for Under SA, 7 Jan 48, sub: Negro
                   Utilization in the Postwar Army, WDGPA 291-2;
                   ibid., 24 Nov 47; both in SA files. The quotations
                   are from the latter document.]

                   [Footnote 8-70: Memo, D/P&A for Under SA, 29 Apr 48,
                   sub: Negro Utilization in the Postwar Army, WDGPA

In February 1948 the Chief of Information tried to counter criticism
by asking personnel and administrative officials to collect favorable
opinions from prominent civilians, "particularly Negroes and
sociologists." But this antidote to public criticism failed because,
as the deputy personnel director had to admit, "the Division does not
have knowledge of any expressed favorable opinion either of
individuals or organizations, reference our Negro policy."[8-71]

                   [Footnote 8-71: DF's, CINFO to D/P&A, 9 Feb 48, and
                   Dep D/P&A to CINFO, 12 Feb 48; both in WDGPA 291.2
                   (9 Feb 48).]

A constant concern because it marred the Army's public image,
segregation also had a profound effect on the performance and
well-being of the black soldier. This effect was difficult to measure
but nevertheless real and has been the subject of considerable study
by social scientists.[8-72] Their opinions are obviously open to debate,
and in fact most of them were not fully formulated during the period
under discussion. Yet their conclusions, based on modern sociological
techniques, clearly reveal the pain and turmoil suffered by black
soldiers because of racial separation. Rarely did the Army staff
bother to delve into these matters in the years before Korea,      (p. 232)
although the facts on which the scientists based their conclusions
were collected by the War Department itself. This indifference is the
more curious because the Army had always been aware of what the War
Department Policies and Programs Review Board called in 1947 "that
intangible aspect of military life called prestige and spirit."[8-73]

                   [Footnote 8-72: For a detailed discussion of this
                   point, see Mandelbaum, _Soldier Groups and Negro
                   Soldiers_; Stouffer et al., _The American Soldier:
                   Adjustment During Army Life_, ch. XII; Eli
                   Ginzberg, _The Negro Potential_ (New York: Columbia
                   University Press, 1956); Ginzberg et al., _The
                   Ineffective Soldier_, vol. III, _Patterns of
                   Performance_ (New York: Columbia University Press,
                   1959); _To Secure These Rights: The Report of the
                   President's Committee on Civil Rights_ (Washington:
                   Government Printing Office, 1947); Dollard and
                   Young, "In the Armed Forces."]

                   [Footnote 8-73: Final Rpt, WD Policies and Programs
                   Review Board, 11 Aug 47, CSUSA files.]

Burdened with the task of shoring up its racial policy, the Army staff
failed to concern itself with the effect of segregation. Yet by
ignoring segregation the staff overlooked the primary cause of its
racial problems and condemned the Army to their continuation. It need
not have been, because as originally conceived, the Gillem Board
policy provided, in the words of the Assistant Secretary of War, for
"progressive experimentation" leading to "effective manpower
utilization without regard to race or color."[8-74] This reasonable
approach to a complex social issue was recognized as such by the War
Department and by many black spokesmen. But the Gillem Board's
original goal was soon abandoned, and in the "interest of National
Defense," according to Secretary Royall, integration was postponed for
the indefinite future.[8-75] Extension of individual integration below
the company level was forbidden, and the lessons learned at the
Kitzingen Training Center were never applied elsewhere; in short,
progressive experimentation was abandoned.

                   [Footnote 8-74: Ltr, Howard C. Petersen, ASW, to
                   William M. Taylor, 12 May 47, ASW 291.2.]

                   [Footnote 8-75: Department of National Defense,
                   "National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs," 26
                   Apr 48, morning session, p. 24.]

The Gillem Board era began with Secretary Patterson accepting the
theory of racially separate but equal service as an anodyne for
temporary segregation; it ended with Secretary Royall embracing a
permanent separate but equal system as a shield to protect the racial
_status quo_. While Patterson and his assistants accepted restriction
on the number of Negroes and their assignment to segregated jobs and
facilities as a temporary expedient, military subordinates used the
Gillem Board's reforms as a way to make more efficient a segregation
policy that neither they nor, they believed, society in general was
willing to change. Thus, despite some real progress on the periphery
of its racial problem, the Army would have to face the enemy in Korea
with an inefficient organization of its men.

The Army's postwar policy was based on a false premise. The Gillem
Board decided that since Negroes had fought poorly in segregated
divisions in two world wars, they might fight better in smaller
segregated organizations within larger white units. Few officers
really believed this, for it was commonly accepted throughout the Army
that Negroes generally made poor combat soldiers. It followed then
that the size of a unit was immaterial, and indeed, given the manpower
that the Army received from reenlistments and Selective Service, any
black unit, no matter its size, would almost assuredly be an
inefficient, spiritless group of predominately Class IV and V men. For
in addition to its educational limitations, the typical black unit
suffered a further handicap in the vital matter of motivation. The
Gillem Board disregarded this fact, but it was rarely overlooked by
the black soldier: he was called upon to serve as a second-class   (p. 233)
soldier to defend what he often regarded as his second-class
citizenship. In place of unsatisfactory black divisions, Circular 124
made the Army substitute three unsatisfactorily mixed divisions whose
black elements were of questionable efficiency and a focus of
complaint among civil rights advocates. Commanders at all levels faced
a dilemma implicit in the existence of white and black armies side by
side. Overwhelmed by regulations and policies that tried to preserve
the fiction of separate but equal opportunity, these officers wasted
their time and energy and, most often in the case of black officers,
lost their self-confidence.

In calling for the integration of small black units rather than
individuals, the Gillem Board obviously had in mind the remarkably
effective black platoons in Europe in the last months of World War II.
But even this type of organization was impossible in the postwar Army
because it demanded a degree of integration that key commanders,
especially the major Army component commanders, were unwilling to

These real problems were intensified by the normal human failings of
prejudice, vested interest, well-meaning ignorance, conditioned
upbringing, shortsightedness, preoccupation with other matters, and
simple reluctance to change. The old ways were comfortable, and the
new untried, frightening in their implications and demanding special
effort. Nowhere was there enthusiasm for the positive measures needed
to implement the Gillem Board's recommendations leading to
integration. This unwillingness to act positively was particularly
noticeable in the Organization and Training Division, in the Army
Ground Forces, and even to some extent in the Personnel and
Administration Division itself.

The situation might have improved had the Gillem Board been able or
willing to spell out intermediate goals. For the ultimate objective of
using black soldiers like white soldiers as individuals was
inconceivable and meaningless or radical and frightening to many in
the Army. Interim goals might have provided impetus for gradual change
and precluded the virtual inertia that gripped the Army staff. But at
best Circular 124 served as a stopgap measure, allowing the Army to
postpone for a few more years any substantial change in race policy.
This postponement cost the service untold time and effort devising and
defending a system increasingly under attack from the black community
and, significantly, from that community's growing allies in the

CHAPTER 9                                                          (p. 234)

The Postwar Navy

That Army concerns and problems dominated the discussions of race
relations in the armed forces in the postwar years is understandable
since the Army had the largest number of Negroes and the most widely
publicized segregation policy of all the services. At the same time
the Army bore, unfairly, the brunt of public criticism for all the
services' race problems. The Navy, committed to a policy of
integration, but with relatively few Negroes in its integrated general
service or in the ranks of the segregated Marine Corps and the new Air
Force, its racial policy still fluid, merely attracted less attention
and so escaped many of the charges hurled at the Army by civil rights
advocates both in and out of the federal government. But however
different or unformed their racial policies, all the services for the
most part segregated Negroes in practice and all were open to charges
of discrimination.

Although the services developed different racial policies out of their
separate circumstances, all three were reacting to the same set of
social forces and all three suffered from race prejudice. They also
faced in common a growing indifference to military careers on the part
of talented young Negroes who in any case would have to compete with
an aging but persistent group of less talented black professionals for
a limited number of jobs. Of great importance was the fact that the
racial practices of the armed forces were a product of the individual
service's military traditions. Countless incidents support the
contention that service traditions were a transcendent factor in
military decisions. Marx Leva, Forrestal's assistant, told the story
of a Forrestal subordinate who complained that some admirals were
still opposed to naval aviation, to which Forrestal replied that he
knew some admirals who still opposed steam engines.[9-1] Forrestal's
humorous exaggeration underscored the tenacity of traditional
attitudes in the Navy. Although self-interest could never be
discounted as a motive, tradition also figured prominently, for
example, in the controversy between proponents of the battleship and
proponents of the aircraft carrier. Certainly the influence of
tradition could be discerned in the antipathy of Navy officials toward
racial change.[9-2]

                   [Footnote 9-1: Interv, Lee Nichols with Marx Leva,
                   1953, in Nichols Collection, CMH.]

                   [Footnote 9-2: On the survival of traditional
                   attitudes in the Navy, see Karsten, _Naval
                   Aristocracy_, ch. v; Waldo H. Heinricks, Jr., "The
                   Role of the U.S. Navy," in Dorothy Borg and Shumpei
                   Okamoto, eds., _Pearl Harbor as History_ (New York:
                   Columbia University Press, 1973); David Rosenberg,
                   "Arleigh Burke and Officer Development in the
                   Inter-war Navy," _Pacific Historical Review_ 44
                   (November 1975).]

The Army also had its problems with tradition. It endured tremendous
inner conflict before it decided to drop the cavalry in favor of
mechanized and armored units. Nor did the resistance to armor die
quickly. Former Chief of Staff Peyton C. March reported that a     (p. 235)
previous Chief of Cavalry told him in 1950 that the Army had
betrayed the horse.[9-3] President Roosevelt was also a witness to how
military tradition frustrated attempts to change policy. He picked his
beloved Navy to make the point: "To change anything in the Na-a-vy is
like punching a feather bed. You punch it with your right and you
punch it with your left until you are finally exhausted, and then you
find the damn bed just as it was before you started punching."[9-4] Many
senior officers resisted equal treatment and opportunity simply
because of their traditional belief that Negroes needed special
treatment and any basic change in their status was fraught with

                   [Footnote 9-3: Edward M. Coffman, _The Hilt of the
                   Sword_ (Madison: University of Wisconsin Press,
                   1966), p. 245.]

                   [Footnote 9-4: Quoted in Marriner S. Eccles,
                   _Beckoning Frontiers: Public and Personal
                   Recollections_, ed. Sidney Hyman (New York: Knopf,
                   1951), p. 336.]

                   [Footnote 9-5: The influence of tradition on naval
                   racial practices was raised during the hearings of
                   the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment
                   and Opportunity in the Armed Services, 13 January
                   1949, pages 105-08, 111-12.]

Still, tradition could work two ways, and in the case of the Navy, at
least, the postwar decision to liberalize racial practices can be
traced in part to its sense of tradition. When James Forrestal started
to integrate the general service in 1944, his appeals to his senior
military colleagues, the President, and the public were always couched
in terms of military efficiency. But if military efficiency made the
new policy announced in February 1946 inevitable, military tradition
made partial integration acceptable. Black sailors had served in
significant numbers in an integrated general service during the
nation's first century and a half, and those in the World War II
period who spoke of a traditional Navy ban against Negroes were just
as wrong as those who spoke of a traditional ban on liquor. The same
abstemious secretary who completely outlawed alcohol on warships in
1914 initiated the short-lived restrictions on the service of Negroes
in the Navy.[9-6] Both limited integration and liquor were old
traditions in the American Navy, and the influence of military
tradition made integration of the general service relatively simple.

                   [Footnote 9-6: SecNav (Josephus Daniels) General
                   Order 90, 1 Jul 14. Alcohol had been outlawed for
                   enlisted men at sea by Secretary John D. Long more
                   than a decade earlier. The 1914 prohibition rule
                   infuriated the officers. One predicted that the
                   ruling would push officers into "the use of cocaine
                   and other dangerous drugs." Quoted in Ronald
                   Spector, _Admiral of the New Empire_ (Baton Rouge:
                   University of Louisiana Press, 1974), pp. 191-92.]

Forrestal was convinced that in order to succeed racial reform must
first be accepted by the men already in uniform; integration, if
quietly and gradually put into effect, would soon demonstrate its
efficiency and make the change acceptable to all members of the
service. Quiet gradualism became the hallmark of his effort. In August
1945 the Navy had some 165,000 Negroes, almost 5.5 percent of its
total strength. Sixty-four of them, including six women, were
commissioned officers.[9-7] Presumably, these men and women would be the
first to enjoy the fruits of the new integration order. Their number
could also be expected to increase because, as Secretary Forrestal
reported in August 1946, the only quotas on enlistment were those
determined by the needs of the Navy and the limitation of          (p. 236)
funds.[9-8] Even as he spoke, at least some black sailors were being
trained in almost all naval ratings and were serving throughout the
fleet, on planes and in submarines, working and living with whites.
The signs pointed to a new day for Negroes in the Navy.

                   [Footnote 9-7: Unless otherwise noted the statistical
                   information used in this section was supplied by
                   the Office, Assistant Chief for Management
                   Information, BuPers. See also BuPers, "Enlisted
                   Strength--U.S. Navy," 26 Jul 46, Pers 215-BL, copy
                   in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 9-8: Ltr, SecNav to Harvard Chapter, AVC,
                   26 Aug 46, P16-3 MM GenRecsNav.]

[Illustration: SHORE LEAVE IN KOREA. _Men of the USS Topeka land in
Inch'on, 1948._]

But during the chaotic months of demobilization a different picture
began to emerge. Although Negroes continued to number about 5 percent
of the Navy's enlisted strength, their position altered radically. The
average strength figures for 1946 showed 3,300 Negroes, 16 percent of
the total black strength, serving in the integrated general service
while 17,300, or 84 percent, were classified as stewards. By mid-1948
the outlook was somewhat brighter, but still on the average only 38
percent of the Negroes in the Navy held jobs in the general service
while 62 percent remained in the nonwhite Steward's Branch. At this
time only three black officers remained on active duty. Again, what
Navy officials saw as military efficiency helps explain this postwar
retreat. Because of its rapidly sinking manpower needs, the Navy could
afford to set higher enlistment standards than the Army, and the fewer
available spaces in the general service went overwhelmingly to the
many more eligible whites who applied. Only in the Steward's Branch,
with its separate quotas and lower enlistment standards, did the   (p. 237)
Navy find a place for the many black enlistees as well as the
thousands of stewards ready and willing to reenlist for peacetime

If efficiency explains why the Navy's general service remained
disproportionately white, tradition explains how segregation and
racial exclusion could coexist with integration in an organization
that had so recently announced a progressive racial policy. Along with
its tradition of an integrated general service, the Navy had a
tradition of a white officer corps. It was natural for the Navy to
exclude black officers from the Regular Navy, Secretary John L.
Sullivan said later, just as it was common to place Negroes in mess
jobs.[9-9] A _modus vivendi_ could be seen emerging from the twin
dictates of efficiency and tradition: integrate a few thousand black
sailors throughout the general service in fulfillment of the letter of
the Bureau of Naval Personnel circular; as for the nonwhite Steward's
Branch and the lack of black officers, these conditions were ordinary
and socially comfortable. Since most Navy leaders agreed that the new
policy was fair and practical, no further changes seemed necessary in
the absence of a pressing military need or a demand from the White
House or Congress.

                   [Footnote 9-9: Interv, Nichols with Secretary John L.
                   Sullivan, Dec 52, in Nichols Collection, CMH.
                   Sullivan succeeded James Forrestal as secretary on
                   18 September 1947.]

To black publicists and other advocates of civil rights, the Navy's
postwar manpower statistics were self-explanatory: the Navy was
discriminating against the Negro. Time and again the Navy responded to
this charge, echoing Secretary Forrestal's contention that the Navy
had no racial quotas and that all restrictions on the employment of
black sailors had been lifted. As if suggesting that all racial
distinctions had been abandoned, personnel officials discontinued
publishing racial statistics and abolished the Special Programs
Unit.[9-10] Cynics might have ascribed other motives for these
decisions, but the civil rights forces apparently never bothered. For
the most part they left the Navy's apologists to struggle with the
increasingly difficult task of explaining why the placement of Negroes
deviated so markedly from assignment for whites.

                   [Footnote 9-10: The BuPers Progress Report (Pers
                   215), the major statistical publication of the
                   department, terminated its statistical breakdown by
                   race in March 1946. The Navy's racial affairs
                   office was closed in June 1946. See BuPers,
                   "Narrative of Bureau of Naval Personnel, 1
                   September 1945 to 1 October 1946" (hereafter
                   "BuPers Narrative"), 1:73.]

The Navy's difficulty in this regard stemmed from the fact that the
demobilization program under which it geared down from a 3.4
million-man service to a peacetime force of less than half a million
was quite straightforward and simple. Consequently, the latest state
of the Negro in the Navy was readily apparent to the black serviceman
and to the public. The key to service in the postwar Navy was
acceptance into the Regular Navy. The wartime Navy had been composed
overwhelmingly of reservists and inductees, and shortly after V-J day
the Navy announced plans for the orderly separation of all reservists
by September 1946. In April 1946 it discontinued volunteer enlistment
in the Naval Reserve for immediate active duty, and in May it      (p. 238)
issued its last call for draftees through Selective Service.[9-11]

                   [Footnote 9-11: Ibid., p. 143; Selective Service
                   System, _Special Groups_ (Monograph 10), 2:200.
                   Between September 1945 and May 1946 the Navy
                   drafted 20,062 men, including 3,394 Negroes.]

At the same time the Bureau of Naval Personnel launched a vigorous
program to induce reservists to switch to the Regular Navy. In October
1945 it opened all petty officer ratings in the Regular Navy to such
transfers and offered reservists special inducements for changeover in
the form of ratings, allowance extras, and, temporarily, short-term
enlistments. So successful was the program that by July 1947 the
strength of the Regular Navy had climbed to 488,712, only a few
thousand short of the postwar authorization. The Navy ended its
changeover program in early 1947.[9-12] While it lasted, black
reservists and inductees shared in the program, although the chief of
the personnel recruiting division found it necessary to amplify the
recruiting instructions to make this point clear.[9-13] The Regular Navy
included 7,066 enlisted Negroes on V-J day, 2.1 percent of the total
enlisted strength. This figure nearly tripled in the next year to
20,610, although the percentage of Negroes only doubled.[9-14]

                   [Footnote 9-12: "BuPers Narrative," 1:141, 192; see
                   also BuPers Cir Ltr 41-46, 15 Feb 46.]

                   [Footnote 9-13: See Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to CO, Naval
                   Barracks, NAD, Seal Beach, Calif., 8 Oct 45, sub:
                   Eligibility of Negroes for Enlistment in USN, P16
                   MM, BuPersRecs; Recruiting Dir, BuPers, Directive
                   to Recruiting Officers, 25 Jan 46, quoted in
                   Nelson, "Integration of the Negro," p. 58.]

                   [Footnote 9-14: BuPers, "Enlisted Strength--U.S.
                   Navy," 26 Jul 46, Pers 215-BL.]

_The Steward's Branch_

The major concern of the civil rights groups was not so much the
number of Negroes in the Regular Navy, although this remained far
below the proportion of Negroes in the civilian population, but that
the majority of Negroes were being accepted for duty in the nonwhite
Steward's Branch. More than 97 percent of all black sailors in the
Regular Navy in December 1945 were in this branch. The ratio improved
somewhat in the next six months when 3,000 black general service
personnel (out of a wartime high of 90,000) transferred into the
Regular Navy while more than 10,000 black reservists and draftees
joined the 7,000 regulars already in the Steward's Branch.[9-15] The
statistical low point in terms of the ratio of Negroes in the postwar
regular general service and the Steward's Branch occurred in fiscal
year 1947 when only 19.21 percent of the Navy's regular black
personnel were assigned outside the Steward's Branch.[9-16] In short,
more than eight out of every ten Negroes in the Navy trained and
worked separately from white sailors, performing menial tasks and led
by noncommissioned officers denied the perquisites of rank.

                   [Footnote 9-15: Memo, Dir of Planning and Control,
                   BuPers, for Chief, NavPers (ca. Jan 46), sub: Negro
                   Personnel, Pers 21B, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 9-16: BuPers, Memo on Discrimination of the
                   Negro, 24 Jan 59. filed in BuPers Technical

The Navy itself had reason to be concerned. The Steward's Branch
created efficiency problems and was a constant source of embarrassment
to the service's public image. Because of its low standards, the
branch attracted thousands of poorly educated and underprivileged
individuals who had a high rate of venereal disease but were       (p. 239)
engaged in preparing and serving food. Leaders within the branch
itself, although selected on the basis of recommendations from
superiors, examinations, and seniority, were often poor performers.
Relations between the individual steward and the outfit to which he
was assigned were often marked by personal conflicts and other
difficulties. Consequently, while stewards eagerly joined the branch
in the Regular Navy, the incidence of disciplinary problems among them
was high. The branch naturally earned the opprobrium of civil rights
groups, who were sensitive not only to the discrimination of a
separate branch for minorities but also to the unfavorable image these
men created of Negroes in the service.[9-17]

                   [Footnote 9-17: Memo, Lt Dennis D. Nelson for Dep
                   Dir. Pub Relations. 26 Mar 48, sub: Problems of the
                   Stewards' Branch, PR 221-5393, GenRecsNav. On
                   mental standards for stewards, sec BuPers Cir Ltr
                   41-46, 15 Feb 46.]

[Illustration: MESS ATTENDANTS, USS BUSHNELL, 1918.]


The Navy had a ready defense for its management of the branch. Its
spokesmen frequently explained that it performed an essential
function, especially at sea. Since this function was limited in scope,
they added, the Navy was able to reduce the standards for the branch,
thus opening opportunities for many men otherwise ineligible to join
the service. In order to offer a chance for advancement the Navy
had to create a separate recruiting and training system for        (p. 240)
stewards. This separation in turn explained the steward's usual
failure to transfer to branches in the regular command channels. Since
there were no minimum standards for the branch, it followed that most
of its noncommissioned officers remained unqualified to exercise
military command over personnel other than their branch subordinates.
Lack of command responsibility was also present in a number of other
branches not directly concerned with the operation of ships. It was
not the result of race prejudice, therefore, but of standards for
enlistment and types of duties performed. Nor was the steward's
frequent physical separation based on race; berthing was arranged by
department and function aboard large vessels. Separation did not exist
on smaller ships. Messmen were usually berthed with other men of the
supply department, including bakers and storekeepers. Chief stewards,
however, as Under Secretary Kimball later explained, had not been
required to meet the military qualifications for chief petty officer,
and therefore it was "considered improper that they should be accorded
the same messing, berthing, club facilities, and other privileges
reserved for the highest enlisted grade of the Navy."[9-18] Stewards of
the lower ranks received the same chance for advancement as members of
other enlisted branches, but to grant them command responsibility
would necessitate raising qualifications for the whole branch,     (p. 241)
thus eliminating many career stewards and extending steward training
to include purely military subjects.[9-19]

                   [Footnote 9-18: Ltr, Under SecNav for Congressman
                   Clyde Doyle of California. 24 Aug 49, MM(1),

                   [Footnote 9-19: For examples of the Navy's official
                   explanation of steward duties, see Ltr, Actg SecNav
                   to Lester Granger, 22 Apr 46, QN/MM(2), and Ltr,
                   Under SecNav to Congressman Clyde Doyle of
                   California, 24 Aug 49; both in GenRecsNav. See also
                   Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to Dr. Carl Yaeger, 16 Oct 47,
                   P16-1, BuPersRecs, and Testimony of Capt Fred R.
                   Stickney, BuPers, and Vice Adm William M.
                   Fechteler, Chief of Naval Personnel, before the
                   President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and
                   Opportunity in the Armed Services (Fahy Cmte), 13
                   Jan and 28 Mar 49.]

There was truth in these assertions. Stewards had taken advantage of
relaxed regulations, flocking into the Regular Navy during the first
months of the changeover program. Many did so because they had many
years invested in a naval career. Some may have wanted the training
and experience to be gained from messman's service. In fact, some
stewards enjoyed rewarding careers in restaurant, club, and hotel work
after retirement. More surprising, considering the numerous complaints
about the branch from civil rights groups, the Steward's Branch
consistently reported the highest reenlistment rate in the Navy.
Understandably, the Navy constantly reiterated these statistics.
Actually, the stewards themselves were a major stumbling block to
reform of the branch. Few of the senior men aspired to other ratings;
many were reluctant to relinquish what they saw as the advantages of
the messman's life. Whatever its drawbacks, messman's duty proved to
be a popular assignment.[9-20]

                   [Footnote 9-20: Ltr, Nelson to author, 10 Feb 70.]

The Navy's defense was logical, but not too convincing. Technically
the Steward's Branch was open to all, but in practice it remained
strictly nonwhite. Civil rights activists could point to the fact that
there were six times as many illiterate whites as Negroes in the
wartime Navy, yet none of these whites were ever assigned to the
Steward's Branch and none transferred to that branch of the Regular
Navy after the war.[9-21] Moreover, shortly after the war the Bureau of
Naval Personnel predicted a 7,577-man shortage in the Steward's
Branch, but the Navy made no attempt to fill the places with white
sailors. Instead, it opened the branch to Filipinos and Guamanians,
recruiting 3,500 of the islanders before the program was stopped on 4
July 1946, the date of Philippine independence. Some Navy recruiters
found other ways to fill steward quotas. The Urban League and others
reported cases in which black volunteers were rejected by recruiters
for any assignment but steward duty.[9-22] Nor did civil rights
spokesmen appreciate the distinction in petty officer rank the Navy
made between the steward and other sailors; they continued to
interpret it as part and parcel of the "injustices, lack of respect
and the disregard for the privileges accorded rated men in other
branches of the service."[9-23] They also resented the paternalism
implicit in the secretary's assurances that messman's duty was a haven
for men unable to compete.

                   [Footnote 9-21: Ltr, Dir, Plans and Oper Div, BuPers,
                   to Richard Lueking, Berea College, 6 Dec 46, P16.1,

                   [Footnote 9-22: Department of National Defense,
                   "National Defense Conference on Racial Affairs," 26
                   Apr 48, morning session, pp. 46-47.]

                   [Footnote 9-23: Memo, Lt D. D. Nelson, office of
                   Public Relations, for Capt E. B. Dexter, Office of
                   Public Relations, 24 Aug 48, sub: Negro Stewards,
                   Petty Officer Ratings, Status of, PR 221-14003,

Some individuals in the department were aware of this resentment in
the black community and pushed for reform in the Steward's Branch. The
Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Air, John Nicholas Brown,      (p. 242)
wanted more publicity given both in and outside the service to the
fact that the branch was not restricted to any one race and,
conversely, that Negroes were welcome in the general service.[9-24] In
view of the strong tradition of racial separateness in the stewards
rating, such publicity might be considered sheer sophistry, but no
more so than the suggestion made by a senior personnel official that
the Commissary Branch and Steward's Branch be combined to achieve a
racially balanced specialty.[9-25] Lester Granger, now outside the
official Navy family but still intimately concerned with the
department's racial affairs, also pleaded for a merger of the
commissary and steward functions. He reasoned that, since members of
the Commissary Branch could advance to true petty officer rating, such
a merger would provide a new avenue of advancement for stewards.

                   [Footnote 9-24: Ltr, Asst SecNav to Lester Granger,
                   22 Apr 48, QN-MM (2), GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 9-25: Interv, Nichols with Capt George A.
                   Holderness, Jr., USN, in Nichols Collection, CMH.]

But more to the point Granger also pushed for reform in the standards
of the Steward's Branch. He recognized that educational and other
requirements had been lowered for stewards, but, he told Forrestal's
successor, Secretary John L. Sullivan, there was little wisdom in
"compounding past error." He also pointed out that not all messmen
were in the lower intelligence classifications and recommended that
the higher scoring men be replaced with low-scoring whites.[9-26]

                   [Footnote 9-26: Ltr, Granger to SecNav, 15 Mar 48,
                   SO-3-18-56, SecNav files, GenRecsNav.]

From within the Navy itself Lt. Dennis D. Nelson, one of the first
twelve Negroes commissioned and still on active duty, added his voice
to the demand for reform of the Steward's Branch. An analogy may be
drawn between the Navy career of Nelson and that of the legendary
Christopher Sargent. Lacking Sargent's advantages of wealth and family
connection, Nelson nevertheless became a familiar of Secretary
Sullivan's and, though not primarily assigned to the task, made equal
opportunity his preeminent concern. A highly visible member of the
Navy's racial minority in Washington, he made himself its spokesman,
pressing senior officials to bring the department's manpower practices
closer to its stated policy. Once again the Navy experienced the
curious phenomenon of a lieutenant firing off memos and letters to
senior admirals and buttonholing the Secretary of the Navy.[9-27]

                   [Footnote 9-27: Interv, Nichols with Sullivan;
                   Intervs, author with Lt Cmdr D. D. Nelson, 17 Sep
                   69, and with James C. Evans, Counselor to the
                   SecDef, 10 Jan 73; Ltr, Nelson to author, 10 Feb
                   70. All in CMH files.]

Nelson had a host of suggestions for the Steward's Branch: eliminate
the branch as a racially separate division of labor in the Navy,
provide permanent officer supervision for all steward units, develop
capable noncommissioned officers in the branch with privileges and
responsibilities similar to those of other petty officers,
indoctrinate all personnel in the ramifications of the Navy's stated
integration policy, and create a committee to work out the details of
these changes. On several occasions Nelson tried to show his superiors
how nuances in their own behavior toward the stewards reinforced,
perhaps as much as separate service itself, the image of
discrimination. He recommended that the steward's uniform be changed,
eliminating the white jacket and giving the steward a regular      (p. 243)
seaman's look. He also suggested that petty officer uniforms for
stewards be regularized. At one poignant moment this lonely officer
took on the whole service, trying to change singlehandedly a
thoughtless habit that demeaned both blacks and whites. He admonished
the service: "refrain from the use of 'Boy' in addressing Stewards.
This has been a constant practice in the Service and is most
objectionable, is in bad taste, shows undue familiarity and pins a
badge of inferiority, adding little to the dignity and pride of

                   [Footnote 9-28: Memo, Lt Nelson for Capt Dexter, Pub
                   Rels Office, 24 Aug 48, sub: Negro Stewards, Petty
                   Officer Ratings, Status of, PR 221-14003; idem for
                   Dep Dir, Off of Pub Relations, 26 Mar 48, sub:
                   Problems of the Stewards' Branch, PR 221-5393; both
                   in GenRecsNav. The quotation is from the latter

In summing up these recommendations for the Secretary of the Navy in
January 1949, Nelson reminded Sullivan that only 37 percent of the
Navy's Negroes were in the general service, in contrast to 72 percent
of the Negroes in the Marine Corps. He warned that this imbalance
perturbed the members of the recently convened National Defense
Conference on Negro Affairs and predicted it would interest those
involved in the forthcoming presidential inquiry on equality in the
armed forces.[9-29]

                   [Footnote 9-29: Ltr, Nelson to SecNav, 7 Jan 49,
                   SecNav files, GenRecsNav. For discussion of the
                   presidential inquiry, see Chapter 14.]

Despite its continued defense of the _status quo_ in the Steward's
Branch, the Bureau of Naval Personnel was not insensitive to
criticism. To protect Negroes from overzealous recruiters for the
branch, the bureau had announced in October 1945 that any Negro in the
general service desiring transfer to the Steward's Branch had to make
his request in writing.[9-30] In mid-1946 it closed the branch to first
enlistment, thereby abolishing possible abuses in the recruiting
system.[9-31] Later in the year the bureau tried to upgrade the quality
of the branch by instituting a new and more rigorous training course
for second-and third-class stewards and cooks at Bainbridge, Maryland.
Finally, in June 1947 it removed from its personnel manual all
remaining mention of restrictions on the transfer of messmen to the
general service.[9-32] These changes were important, but they failed to
attack racial separation, the major problem of the branch. Thus the
controversy over messmen, in which tradition, prejudice, and necessity
contended, went on, and the Steward's Branch, a symbol of
discrimination in the Navy, remained to trouble both the service and
the civil rights groups for some time.

                   [Footnote 9-30: BuPers Cir Ltr, 17 Oct 45.]

                   [Footnote 9-31: Testimony of Capt Fred Stickney at
                   National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs, 26
                   Apr 48, morning session, p. 47.]

                   [Footnote 9-32: Change 12 to Ankle D-5114, BuPers
                   Manual, 1942.]

_Black Officers_

The Navy had a racial problem of more immediate concern to men like
Lieutenant Nelson, one of three black officers remaining on active
duty. These were the survivers of a most exclusive group that had
begun its existence with much hope. In the months following graduation
of the first twelve black officers and one warrant officer in March
1944, scores of Negroes had passed through the Navy's training school.
By the end of the war the V-12 program had thirty-six black candidates,
with three others attending the Supply Corps School at Harvard.    (p. 244)
The number of black officers had grown at an agonizingly slow rate,
although in June 1944 the Secretary of the Navy approved a personnel
bureau request that in effect removed any numerical quotas for black
officers. Unfortunately, black officers were still limited to filling
"needs as they appeared," and the need for black officers was
curtailed by the restricted range of activities open to them in the
segregated wartime service. Further, most nominees for commissions
were selected from the ranks and depended on the sponsorship of their
commanding officer who might not be able to spare a competent enlisted
man who deserved promotion. Putting the matter in the best possible
light, one Navy historian blamed the dearth of black officers on
bureaucratic inertia.[9-33]

                   [Footnote 9-33: "BuPers Hist," pp. 83-85, and
                   Supplement (LN), pp. 4-8, copy in CMH. Unless
                   otherwise noted the data for this section on black
                   officers in World War II are from this source.]

[Illustration: COMMANDER NELSON.]

Despite procurement failures and within the limitations of general
segregation policy, the Navy treated black officers with scrupulous
fairness during the war. The Bureau of Naval Personnel insisted they
be given the privileges of rank in wardroom and ashore, thus crushing
an attempt by authorities at Great Lakes to underwrite a tacit ban on
the use of the officers' club by Negroes. In fact, integration proved
to be more the rule than the exception in training black officers. The
small number of black candidates made segregated classes impractical,
and after graduation of the first group of black officers at Great
Lakes, Negroes were accepted in all officer candidate classes. As part
of this change, the Special Programs Unit successfully integrated the
Navy's officer candidate school in the posh hotels of still-segregated
Miami Beach.

The officers graduated into a number of assignments. Some saw duty
aboard district and yard craft, others at departmental headquarters in
Washington. A few served in recruit training assignments at Great
Lakes and Hampton Institute, but the majority went overseas to work in
logistical and advanced base companies, the stevedore-type outfits
composed exclusively of Negroes. Nelson, for example, was sent to the
Marshall Islands where he was assigned to a logistic support company
composed of some three hundred black sailors and noncommissioned
officers with a racially mixed group of officers. Black staff
officers, engineers, doctors, dentists, and chaplains were also
attached to these units, where they had limited responsibilities and
little chance for advancement.[9-34]

                   [Footnote 9-34: Nelson, "Integration of the Negro,"
                   pp. 156-58.]

Exceptions to the assignment rule increased during the last months (p. 245)
of the war. The Special Programs Unit had concluded that restricting
black officers to district craft and shore billets might further
encourage the tendency to build an inshore black Navy, and the Bureau
of Naval Personnel began assigning black officers to seagoing vessels
when they completed their sea duty training. By July 1945 several were
serving in the fleet. To avoid embarrassment, the Chief of Naval
Personnel made it a practice to alert the commanding officers of a
ship about to receive a black officer so that he might indoctrinate
his officers. As his assistant, Rear Adm. William M. Fechteler,
explained to one such commander, "if such officers are accorded the
proper respect and are required to discharge the duties commensurate
with their rank they should be equally competent to white officers of
similar experience."[9-35]

                   [Footnote 9-35: "BuPers Hist," p. 85. The quotation
                   is from Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to CO, USS _Laramie_,
                   16 Jul 45, BuPersRecs.]

Fechteler's prediction proved accurate. By V-J day, the Navy's black
officers, both line and staff, were serving competently in many
occupations. The bureau reported that the "personnel relationship
aspect" of their introduction into the service had worked well. Black
officers with white petty officers and enlisted men under them handled
their command responsibilities without difficulty, and in general
bureau reports and field inspections noted considerable satisfaction
with their performance.[9-36] But despite this satisfactory record, only
three black officers remained on active duty in 1946. The promise
engendered by the Navy's treatment of its black officers in the
closing months of the war had not been fulfilled during the
demobilization period that followed, and what had been to the civil
rights movement a brightening situation rapidly became an intolerable

                   [Footnote 9-36: "BuPers Hist," p. 85.]

There were several reasons for the rapid demobilization of black
officers. Some shared the popular desire of reserve officers to return
to civilian life. Among them were mature men with substantial academic
achievements and valuable technical experience. Many resented in
particular their assignment to all-black labor units, and wanted to
resume their civilian careers.[9-37] But a number of black officers,
along with over 29,000 white reservists, did seek commissions in the
Regular Navy.[9-38] Yet not one Negro was granted a regular commission
in the first eighteen months after the war. Lester Granger was
especially upset by these statistics, and in July 1946 he personally
took up the case of two black candidates with Secretary Forrestal.[9-39]

                   [Footnote 9-37: Nelson "Integration of the Negro," p.

                   [Footnote 9-38: ALNAV 252-46, 21 May 46, sub:
                   Transfer to Regular Navy.]

                   [Footnote 9-39: Ltr, Granger to SecNav, 31 Jul 46,
                   54-1-13, Forrestal file, GenRecsNav. One of these
                   applicants was Nelson, then a lieutenant, who
                   received a promotion upon assignment as commanding
                   officer of a logistic support company in the
                   Marshall Islands. The grade became permanent upon
                   Nelson's assignment to the Public Relations Bureau
                   in Washington in 1946.]

The Bureau of Naval Personnel offered what it considered a reasonable
explanation. As a group, black reserve officers were considerably
overage for their rank and were thus at a severe disadvantage in the
fierce competition for regular commissions. The average age of the
first class of black officers was over thirty-one years. All had been
commissioned ensigns on 17 March 1944, and all had received one    (p. 246)
promotion to lieutenant, junior grade, by the end of the war. When age
and rank did coincide, black reservists were considered for transfer.
For example, on 15 March 1947 Ens. John Lee, a former V-12 graduate
assigned as gunnery officer aboard a fleet auxiliary craft, received a
regular commission, and on 6 January 1948 Lt. (jg.) Edith DeVoe, one
of the four black nurses commissioned in March 1945, was transferred
into the Regular Navy. The following October Ens. Jessie Brown was
commissioned and assigned to duty as the first black Navy pilot.

In a sense, the black officers had the cards stacked against them. As
Nelson later explained, the bureau did not extend to its black line
officers the same consideration given other reservists. While the
first twelve black officers were given unrestricted line officer
training, the bureau assigned them to restricted line positions, an
added handicap when it came to promotions and retention in the postwar
Navy. All were commissioned ensigns, although the bureau usually
granted rank according to the candidate's age, a practice followed
when it commissioned its first black staff officers, one of whom
became a full lieutenant and the rest lieutenants, junior grade. As an
overage reservist himself, Nelson remained on active duty after the
war through the personal intervention of Secretary Forrestal. His tour
in the Navy's public relations office was repeatedly extended until
finally on 1 January 1950, thanks to Secretary Sullivan, he received a
regular commission.[9-40]

                   [Footnote 9-40: Nelson, "Integration of the Negro,"
                   pp. 157-59; Ltr, Nelson to author, 10 Feb 70;
                   Interv, Nichols with Sullivan.]

Prospects for an increase in black officers were dim. With rare
exception the Navy's officers came from the academy at Annapolis, the
officer candidate program, or the Naval Reserve Officers' Training
Corps (NROTC) program. Ens. Wesley A. Brown would graduate in the
academy's class of 1949, the sixth Negro to attend and the first to
graduate in the academy's 104-year history. Only five other Negroes
were enrolled in the academy's student body in 1949, and there was
little indication that this number would rapidly increase. For the
most part the situation was beyond the control of the Bureau of Naval
Personnel. Competition was keen for acceptance at Annapolis. The
American Civil Liberties Union later asserted that the exclusion of
Negroes from many of the private prep schools, which so often produced
successful academy applicants, helped explain why there were so few
Negroes at the academy.[9-41]

                   [Footnote 9-41: Ltr. Exec Dir. ACLU, to SecNav, 26
                   Nov 57, GenRecsNav.]

Nor were many black officers forthcoming from the Navy's two other
sources. Officer candidate schools, severely reduced in size after the
war and a negligible source of career officers, had no Negroes in
attendance from 1946 through 1948. Perhaps most disturbing was the
fact that in 1947 just fourteen Negroes were enrolled among more than
5,600 students in the NROTC program, the usual avenue to a Regular
Navy commission.[9-42] The Holloway program, the basis for the Navy's
reserve officer training system, offered scholarships at fifty-two
colleges across the nation, but the number of these scholarships was
small, the competition intense, and black applicants, often burdened
by inferior schooling, did not fare well.

                   [Footnote 9-42: "BuPers Narrative," 1:295.]

Statistics pointed at least to the possibility that racial         (p. 247)
discrimination existed in the NROTC system. Unlike the Army and Air
Force programs, reserve officer training in the Navy depended to a
great extent on state selection committees dominated by civilians.
These committees exercised considerable leeway in selecting candidates
to fill their state's annual NROTC quota, and their decisions were
final. Not one Negro served on any of the state committees. In fact,
fourteen of the fifty-two colleges selected for reserve officer
training barred Negroes from admission by law and others--the exact
number is difficult to ascertain--by policy. One black newspaper
charged that only thirteen of the participating institutions admitted
Negroes.[9-43] In all, only six black candidates survived this process
to win commissions in 1948.

                   [Footnote 9-43: Norfolk _Journal and Guide_, August
                   20, 1949.]

Lester Granger blamed the lack of black candidates on the fact that so
few Negroes attended the schools; undoubtedly, more Negroes would have
been enrolled in reserve officer training had the program been
established at one of the predominantly black colleges. But black
institutions were excluded from the wartime V-12 program, and when the
program was extended to include fifty-two colleges in November 1945
the Navy again rejected the applications of black schools, justifying
the exclusion, as it did for many white schools, on grounds of
inadequacies in enrollment, academic credentials, and physical
facilities.[9-44] Some black spokesmen called the decision
discriminatory. President Mordecai Johnson of Howard University
ruefully wondered how the Navy's unprejudiced and nondiscriminatory
selection of fifty-two colleges managed to exclude so neatly all black

                   [Footnote 9-44: Ltr, SecNav to William T. Farley,
                   Chmn, Civilian Components Policy Bd, DOD, 4 Mar 50,
                   Q4, GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 9-45: Statement of Dr. Mordecai Johnson at
                   National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs, 26
                   Apr 48, morning session, p. 42.]

Others disagreed. From the first the Special Programs Unit had
rejected the clamor for forming V-12 units in predominantly black
colleges, arguing that in the long run this could be considered
enforced segregation and hardly contribute to racial harmony. Although
candidates were supposed to attend the NROTC school of their choice,
black candidates were restricted to institutions that would accept
them. If a black school was added to the program, all black candidates
would very likely gravitate toward it. Several black spokesmen,
including Nelson, took this attitude and urged instead a campaign to
increase the number of Negroes at the various integrated schools in
the NROTC system.[9-46] Whatever the best solution, a significant and
speedy increase in the number of black officers was unlikely.

                   [Footnote 9-46: Ltr, Nelson to author, 10 Feb 70; see
                   also "BuPersHist," p. 84.]

Of lesser moment because of the small size of the WAVES and the Nurse
Corps, the role of black women in the postwar Navy nevertheless
concerned several civil rights leaders. Roy Wilkins, for one,
concluded that the Navy's new policy which "hasn't worked out on the
officer level ... hadn't worked on the women's level" either.[9-47] The
Navy's statistics seemed to proved his contention. The service had (p. 248)
68 black enlisted women and 6 officers (including 4 nurses) on V-J
day; a year later the number had been reduced to 5 black WAVES and 1
nurse. The Navy sought to defend these statistics against charges of
discrimination. A spokesman explained that the paucity of black WAVES
resulted from the fact that Negroes were barred from the WAVES until
December 1944, just months before the Navy stopped recruiting all
WAVES. Black WAVES who had remained in the postwar Navy had been
integrated and were being employed without discrimination.[9-48]

                   [Footnote 9-47: Statement of Roy Wilkins at National
                   Defense Conference on Negro Affairs, 26 Apr 48,
                   morning session p. 44.]

                   [Footnote 9-48: Testimony of Stickney at National
                   Defense Conference on Negro Affairs, 26 Apr 48,
                   morning session, p. 43.]

But criticism persisted. In February 1948 the Navy could count six
black WAVES out of a total enlisted force of 1,700, and during
hearings on a bill to regularize the women's services several
congressmen joined with a representative of the NAACP to press for a
specific anti-discrimination amendment. The amendment was defeated,
but not before Congressman Adam Clayton Powell charged that the status
of black women in the Navy proved discrimination and demonstrated that
the administration was practicing "not merely discrimination,
segregation, and Jim Crowism, but total exclusion."[9-49] The same
critics also demanded a similar amendment to the companion legislation
on the WAC's, but it, too, was defeated.

                   [Footnote 9-49: U.S. Congress, House, Committee on
                   Armed Services, Subcommittee No. 3, Organization
                   and Mobilization, _Hearings on S. 1641, To
                   Establish the Women's Army Corps in the Regular
                   Army, To Authorize the Enlistment and Appointment
                   of Women in the Regular Navy and Marine Corps and
                   the Naval and Marine Corps Reserve and for Other
                   Purposes_, 80th Cong., 2d sess., 18 Feb 48, pp.
                   5603-08, 5657, 5698, 5734-36. The Powell quotation
                   is on page 5734.]

Black nurses presented a different problem. Two of the wartime nurses
had resigned to marry and the third was on inactive status attending
college. The Navy, Secretary Forrestal claimed in July 1947, was
finding it difficult to replace them or add to their number. Observing
that black leaders had shown considerable interest in the Navy's
nursing program, Forrestal noted that a similar interest had not been
forthcoming from black women themselves. During the Navy's 1946
recruitment drive to attract 1,000 new nurses, only one Negro applied,
and she was disqualified on physical grounds.[9-50]

                   [Footnote 9-50: Ltr, SecNav to Congresswoman Margaret
                   Chase Smith (Maine), 24 Jul 47, OG/P14-2,

_Public Image and the Problem of Numbers_

Individual black nurses no doubt had cogent reasons for failing to
apply for Navy commissions, but the fact that only one applied called
attention to a phenomenon that first appeared about 1946. Black
Americans were beginning to ignore the Navy. Attempts by black reserve
officers to procure NROTC applicants in black high schools and
colleges proved largely unproductive. Nelson spoke before 8,500
potential candidates in 1948, and a special recruiting team reached an
equal number the following year, but the combined effort brought fewer
than ninety black applicants to take the competitive examination.[9-51]
Recruiters had similar problems in the enlistment of Negroes       (p. 249)
for general service. Viewed from a different perspective, even the
complaints and demands of black citizens, at flood tide during the
war, now merely trickled into the secretary's office, reflecting, it
could be argued, a growing indifference. That such unwillingness to
enlist, as Lester Granger put it, should occur on the heels of a
widely publicized promise of racial equality in the service was
ironic. The Navy was beginning to welcome the Negro, but the Negro no
longer seemed interested in joining.[9-52]

                   [Footnote 9-51: Memo, Dir, Pol Div, BuPers, for Capt
                   William C. Chapman, Office of Information, Navy
                   Dept, 21 Sep 65; Memo, Chief, NavPers, for Chief,
                   Bur of Public Relations, 16 Dec 48. QR4; both in

                   [Footnote 9-52: See Testimony of Lester Granger and
                   Assistant Secretary Brown at National Defense
                   Conference on Negro Affairs, 26 Apr 48, morning
                   session, pp. 45-46; and Memo, Nelson for Marx Leva,
                   24 May 48, copy in Nelson Archives.]

[Illustration: NAVAL UNIT PASSES IN REVIEW, _Naval Advanced Base,
Bremerhaven, Germany, 1949_.]

Several reasons were suggested for this attitude. Assistant Secretary
Brown placed the blame, at least in part, on the gap between policy
and practice. Because of delay in abolishing old discriminatory
practices, he pointed out to the Deputy Chief of Naval Operations,
"the Navy's good public relations are endangered."[9-53] The personnel
bureau promptly investigated, found justification for complaints   (p. 250)
of discrimination, and took corrective action.[9-54] Yet, as Nelson
pointed out, such corrections, often in the form of "clarifying
directives," were usually directed to specific commanders and tied to
specific incidents and were ignored by other commanders as
inapplicable to their own racial experiences.[9-55] Despite the
existence of the racially separate Steward's Branch, the Navy's policy
seemed so unassailable to the Chief of Naval Personnel that when his
views on a congressional measure to abolish segregation in the
services were solicited he reported without reservation that his
bureau interposed no objection.[9-56]

                   [Footnote 9-53: Memo, Asst SecNav for Air for Dep
                   CNO, 3 Feb 48, sub: Racial Discrimination, P1-4
                   (8), GenRecsNav.]

                   [Footnote 9-54: See Memo, Chief, NavPers, for CO, USS
                   _Grand Canyon_ (AD 28), 17 Dec 48, sub: Navy
                   Department's Non Discrimination Policy--Alleged
                   Violation of, P14; Ltr, Chief, NavPers, to Cmdt,
                   Twelfth Nav Dist, 27 Feb 46, sub: Officer Screening
                   Procedure and Indoctrination Course in the
                   Supervision of Negro Personnel--Establishment of,
                   Pers 4221; both in BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 9-55: Memo, Nelson for Chief, NavPers, 29
                   Nov 48, sub: Complaint of Navy Enlisted Man Made to
                   Pittsburgh Courier..., PR221, BuPersRecs.]

                   [Footnote 9-56: Memo, Chief, NavPers, for JAG, 11 Feb
                   47, sub: HR 279: To Prohibit Race Segregation in
                   the Armed Forces of the United States, GenRecsNav.]

The Navy's major racial problem by 1948 was the shockingly small
number of Negroes in the service. In November 1948, a presidential
election month, Negroes accounted for 4.3 percent of the navy's
strength. Not only were there few Negroes in the Navy, but there were
especially too few in the general service and practically no black
officers, a series of statistics that made the predominately black and
separate stewards more conspicuous. The Navy rejected an obvious
solution, lowering recruitment standards, contending that it could not
run its ships and aircraft with men who scored below ninety in the
general classification test.[9-57] The alternative was to recruit among
the increasing numbers of educated Negroes, as the personnel bureau
had been trying to do. But here, as Nelson and others could report,
the Navy faced severe competition from other employers, and here the
Navy's public image had its strongest effect.

                   [Footnote 9-57: For discussion of the problem of
                   comparative enlistment standards, see Chapter 12.]

Lt. Comdr. Edward Hope, a black reserve officer assigned to officer
procurement, concluded that the black community, especially veterans,
distrusted all the services. Consequently, Negroes tended to disregard
announced plans and policies applicable to all citizens unless they
were specially labeled "for colored." Negroes tried to avoid the
humiliation of applying for certain rights or benefits only to be
arbitrarily rejected.[9-58] Compounding the suspicion and fear of
humiliation, Hope reported, was a genuine lack of information on Navy
policy that seriously limited the number of black applicants.

                   [Footnote 9-58: Ltr, Lt Cmdr, E. S. Hope to SecDef,
                   17 May 48, with attached rpt, D54-1-10,

The cause of confusion among black students over Navy policy was easy
to pinpoint, for memories of the frustrations and insults suffered by
black seamen during the war were still fresh. Negroes remembered the
labor battalions bossed by whites--much like the old plantation
system, Lester Granger observed. Unlike the Army, the Navy had offered
few black enlisted men the chance of serving in vital jobs under black
commanders. This slight, according to Granger, robbed the black sailor
of pride in service, a pride that could hardly be restored by the
postwar image of the black sailor not as a fighting man but as
a servant or laborer. Always a loyal member of the Navy team,      (p. 252)
Granger was anxious to improve the Navy's public image in the black
community, and he and others often advanced plans for doing so.[9-59]
But any discussion of image quickly foundered on one point: the Navy
would remain suspect in the eyes of black youth and be condemned by
civil rights leaders as long as it retained that symbol of racism, the
racially separate Steward's Branch.

                   [Footnote 9-59: See, for example, Ltr, Granger to
                   SecNav, 10 Jun 47, 54-1-13, Forrestal file,
                   GenRecsNav, and Granger's extensive comments and
                   questions at the National Defense Conference on
                   Negro Affairs, 26 Apr 48.]

[Illustration: SUBMARINER.]

Here the practical need for change ran headlong into strong military
tradition. An integrated general service was traditional and therefore
acceptable; an integrated servants' branch was not. Faced with the
choice of a small number of Negroes in the Navy and the attendant
charges of racism or a change in its traditions, the Navy accepted the
former. Lack of interest on the part of the black community was not a
particularly pressing problem for the Navy in the immediate postwar
years. Indeed, it might well have been a source of comfort for the
military traditionalists who, armed with an unassailable integration
policy, could still enjoy a Navy little changed from its prewar
condition. Nevertheless, the lack of black volunteers for general
service was soon to be discussed by a presidential commission, and in
the next fifteen years would become a pressing problem when the Navy,
the first service with a policy of integration, would find itself
running behind in the race to attract minority members.

CHAPTER 10                                                         (p. 253)

The Postwar Marine Corps

Unlike the Army and Navy, the all-white Marine Corps seemed to
consider the wartime enlistment of over 19,000 Negroes a temporary
aberration. Forced by the Navy's nondiscrimination policy to retain
Negroes after the war, Marine Corps officials at first decided on a
black representation of some 2,200 men, roughly the same proportion as
during the war. But the old tradition of racial exclusion remained
strong, and this figure was soon reduced. The corps also ignored the
Navy's integration measures, adopting instead a pattern of segregation
that Marine officials claimed was a variation on the Army's historic
"separate but equal" black units. In fact, separation was real enough
in the postwar corps; equality remained elusive.

_Racial Quotas and Assignments_

The problem was that any "separate but equal" race policy, no matter
how loosely enforced, was incompatible with the corps' postwar
manpower resources and mission and would conflict with its
determination to restrict black units to a token number. The dramatic
manpower reductions of 1946 were felt immediately in the two major
elements of the Marine Corps. The Fleet Marine Force, the main
operating unit of the corps and usually under control of the Chief of
Naval Operations, retained three divisions, but lost a number of its
combat battalions. The divisions kept a few organic and attached
service and miscellaneous units. Under such severe manpower
restrictions, planners could not reserve one of the large organic
elements of these divisions for black marines, thus leaving the
smaller attached and miscellaneous units as the only place to
accommodate self-contained black organizations. At first the Plans and
Policies Division decided to assign roughly half the black marines to
the Fleet Marine Force. Of these some were slated for an antiaircraft
artillery battalion at Montford Point which would provide training as
well as an opportunity for Negroes' overseas to be rotated home.
Others were placed in three combat service groups and one service
depot where they would act as divisional service troops, and the rest
went into 182 slots, later increased to 216, for stewards, the
majority in aviation units.

The other half of the black marines was to be absorbed by the so
called non-Fleet Marine Force, a term used to cover training,
security, and miscellaneous Marine units, all noncombat, which
normally remained under the control of the commandant. This part of
the corps was composed of many small and usually self-contained units,
but in a number of activities, particularly in the logistical
establishment and the units afloat, reductions in manpower would   (p. 254)
necessitate considerable sharing of living and working facilities,
thus making racial separation impossible. The planners decided,
therefore, to limit black assignments outside the Fleet Marine Force
to naval ammunition depots at McAlester, Oklahoma, and Earle, New
Jersey, where Negroes would occupy separate barracks; to Guam and
Saipan, principally as antiaircraft artillery; and to a small training
cadre at Montford Point. Eighty stewards would also serve with units
outside the Fleet Marine Force. With the exception of the depot at
Earle, all these installations had been assigned Negroes during the
war. Speaking in particular about the assignment of Negroes to
McAlester, the Director of the Plans and Policies Division, Brig. Gen.
Gerald C. Thomas, commented that "this has proven to be a satisfactory
location and type of duty for these personnel."[10-1] Thomas's
conception of "satisfactory" duty for Negroes became the corps'
rationale for its postwar assignment policy.

                   [Footnote 10-1: Memos, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 25 Sep and 17 Oct 46, sub: Post War
                   Personnel Requirements, A0-1, MC files. Unless
                   otherwise noted, all the documents cited in this
                   chapter are located in Hist Div, HQMC. The
                   quotation is from the September memo.]

[Illustration: MARINE ARTILLERY TEAM. _Men of the 51st Defense
Battalion in training at Montford Point with 90-mm. antiaircraft

To assign Negroes to unskilled jobs because they were accustomed to
such duties and because the jobs were located in communities that
would accept black marines might be satisfactory to Marine officials,
but it was considered racist by many civil rights spokesmen and left
the Marine Corps open to charges of discrimination. The policy of
tying the number of Negroes to the number of available, appropriate
slots also meant that the number of black marines, and consequently
the acceptability of black volunteers, was subject to chronic
fluctuation. More important, it permitted if not encouraged further
restrictions on the use of the remaining black marines who had combat
training, thereby allowing the traditionalists to press for a
segregated service in which the few black marines would be mostly
servants and laborers.

The process of reordering the assignment of black marines began just
eleven weeks after the commandant approved the staff's postwar policy
recommendations. Informing the commandant on 6 January 1947 that
"several changes have been made in concepts upon which such        (p. 255)
planning was based," General Thomas explained that the requirement for
antiaircraft artillery units at Guam and Saipan had been canceled,
along with the plan for maintaining an artillery unit at Montford
Point. Because of the cancellation his division wanted to reduce the
number of black marines to 1,500. These men could be assigned to depot
companies, service units, and Marine barracks--all outside the Fleet
Marine Force--or they could serve as stewards. The commandant's
approval of this plan reduced the number of Negroes in the corps by 35
percent, or 700 men. Coincidental with this reduction was a 17 percent
rise in spaces for black stewards to 350.[10-2]

                   [Footnote 10-2: Memo, G. C. Thomas, Div of Plans and
                   Policies, for CMC, 6 Jan 47, sub: Negro
                   Requirements, A0-1.]

Approval of this plan eliminated the last Negroes from combat
assignments, a fact that General Thomas suggested could be justified
as "consistent with similar reductions being effected elsewhere in the
Corps." But the facts did not support such a palliative. In June 1946
the corps had some 1,200 men serving in three antiaircraft artillery
battalions and an antiaircraft artillery group headquarters. In June
1948 the corps still had white antiaircraft artillery units on Guam
and at Camp Lejeune totaling 1,020 men. The drop in numbers was
explained almost entirely by the elimination of the black units.[10-3]

                   [Footnote 10-3: USMC Muster Rolls of Officers and
                   Enlisted Men, 1946 and 1948.]

A further realignment of black assignments occurred in June 1947 when
General Vandegrift approved a Plans and Policies Division decision to
remove more black units from security forces at naval shore
establishments. The men were reassigned to Montford Point with the
result that the number of black training and overhead billets at that
post jumped 200 percent--a dubious decision at best considering that
black specialist and recruit training was virtually at a standstill.
General Thomas took the occasion to advise the commandant that
maintaining an arbitrary quota of black marines was no longer a
consideration since a reduction in their strength could be "adequately
justified" by the general manpower reductions throughout the corps.[10-4]

                   [Footnote 10-4: Memo, G. C. Thomas for CMC, 11 Jun 47,
                   sub: Negro Requirements and Assignments, A0-1.]

Actually the Marine Corps was not as free to reduce the quota of 1,500
Negroes as General Thomas suggested. To make further cuts in what was
at most a token representation, approximately 1 percent of the corps
in August 1947, would further inflame civil rights critics and might
well provoke a reaction from Secretary Forrestal. Even Thomas's
accompanying recommendation carefully retained the black strength
figure previously agreed upon and actually raised the number of
Negroes in the ground forces by seventy-six men. The 1,500-man minimum
quota for black enlistment survived the reorganization of the Fleet
Marine Force later in 1947, and the Plans and Policies Division even
found it necessary to locate some 375 more billets for Negroes to
maintain the figure. In August the commandant approved plans to add
100 slots for stewards and 275 general duty billets overseas, the
latter to facilitate rotation and provide a broader range of
assignments for Negroes.[10-5] Only once before the Korean War,    (p. 256)
and then only briefly, did the authorized strength of Negroes
drop below the 1,500 mark, although because of recruitment lags actual
numbers never equaled authorized strength.[10-6]

                   [Footnote 10-5: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 28 Aug 47, sub: Requirements for General
                   Duty Negro Marines, A0-1.]

                   [Footnote 10-6: Idem for Div, Pub Info, 10 Nov 48,
                   sub: Information Relating to Negro Marines, A0-1.]

By mid-1947, therefore, the Marine Corps had abandoned its complex
system of gearing the number of black marines to available assignments
and, like the Army and the Air Force, had adopted a racial quota--but
with an important distinction. Although they rarely achieved it, the
Army and the Air Force were committed to accepting a fixed percentage
of Negroes; in an effort to avoid the problems with manpower
efficiency plaguing the other services, the Marine Corps established a
straight _numerical_ quota. Authorized black strength would remain at
about 1,500 men until the Korean War. During that same period the
actual percentage of Negroes in the Marine Corps almost doubled,
rising from 1.3 percent of the 155,679-man corps in June 1946 to
slightly more than 2 percent of the 74,279-man total in June 1950.[10-7]

                   [Footnote 10-7: Unless otherwise noted, statistics in
                   this section are from NA Pers, 15658 (A), _Report,
                   Navy and Marine Corps Military Statistics_, 30 Jun
                   59, BuPers. Official figures on black marines are
                   from reports of the USMC Personnel Accounting

Yet neither the relatively small size of the Marine Corps nor the fact
that few black marines were enrolled could conceal the inefficiency of
segregation. Over the next three years the personnel planning staff
tried to find a solution to the problem of what it considered to be
too many Negroes in the general service. First it began to reduce
gradually the number of black units accommodated in the Operating
Force Plan, absorbing the excess black marines by increasing the
number of stewards. This course was not without obvious public
relations disadvantages, but they were offset somewhat by the fact
that the Marine Corps, unlike the Navy, never employed a majority of
its black recruits as stewards. In May 1948 the commandant approved
new plans for a 10 percent decrease in the number of general duty
assignments and a corresponding increase in spaces for stewards.[10-8]
The trend away from assigning Negroes to general service duty
continued until the Korean War, and in October 1949 a statistical high
point was reached when some 33 percent of all black marines were
serving as stewards. The doctrine that all marines were potential
infantrymen stood, but it was small comfort to civil rights activists
who feared that what at best was a nominal black representation in the
corps was being pushed into the kitchen.

                   [Footnote 10-8: Memo, Dir, Plans and Policies Div, for
                   CMC, 20 May 48, sub: Procurement and Assignment of
                   Negro Enlisted Personnel, A0-1.]

But they had little to fear since the number of Negroes that could be
absorbed in the Steward's Branch was limited. In the end the Marine
Corps still had to accommodate two-thirds of its black strength in
general duty billets, a course with several unpalatable consequences.
For one, Negroes would be assigned to new bases reluctant to accept
them and near some communities where they would be unwelcome. For
another, given the limitations in self-contained units, there was the
possibility of introducing some integration in the men's living or
working arrangements. Certainly black billets would have to be created
at the expense of white billets. The Director of Plans and Policies
warned in August 1947 that the reorganization of the Fleet Marine  (p. 257)
Force, then under way, failed to allocate spaces for some 350 Negroes
with general duty contracts. While he anticipated some reduction in
this number as a result of the campaign to attract volunteers for the
Steward's Branch, he admitted that many would remain unassigned and
beyond anticipating a reduction in the black "overage" through
attrition, his office had no long-range plans for creating the needed
spaces.[10-9] When the attrition failed to materialize, the commandant
was forced in December 1949 to redesignate 202 white billets for black
marines with general duty contracts.[10-10] The problem of finding
restricted assignments for black marines in the general service lasted
until it was overtaken by the manpower demands of the Korean War.
Meanwhile to the consternation of the civil rights advocates, as the
corps' definition of "suitable" assignment became more exact, the
variety of duties to which Negroes could be assigned seemed to

                   [Footnote 10-9: Ibid., 28 Aug 47, sub: Requirements
                   for General Duty Negro Marines, A0-1.]

                   [Footnote 10-10: Ibid., 14 Nov 49, sub: Designation of
                   Units for Assignment of Negro Marines, A0-1.]

                   [Footnote 10-11: For criticism of assignment
                   restrictions, see comments and questions at the
                   National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs, 26
                   Apr 48 (afternoon session), pp. 1-10, copy in CMH.]


Postwar quotas and assignments for Negroes did nothing to curb the
black community's growing impatience with separate and limited
opportunities, a fact brought home to Marine Corps recruiters when
they tried to enlist the Negroes needed to fill their quota. At first
it seemed the traditionalists would regain their all-white corps by
default. The Marine Corps had ceased drafting men in November 1945 and
launched instead an intensive recruiting campaign for regular marines
from among the thousands of reservists about to be discharged and
regulars whose enlistments would soon expire. Included in this group
were some 17,000 Negroes from among whom the corps planned to recruit
its black contingent. To charges that it was discriminating in the
enlistment of black civilians, the corps readily admitted that no new
recruits were being accepted because preference was being given to men
already in the corps.[10-12] In truth, the black reservists were
rejecting the blandishments of recruiters in overwhelming numbers. By
May 1946 only 522 Negroes, less than a quarter of the small postwar
black complement, had enlisted in the regular service.

                   [Footnote 10-12: G-1, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   Operational Diary, Sep 45-Oct 46, 23 Apr 47; Memo,
                   Dir of Personnel (Div of Recruiting) for Off in
                   Charge, Northeastern Recruiting Div, 17 Jan 46,
                   sub: Enlistment of Negro Ex-Marines, MC 706577. See
                   also _Afro-American_, February 16, 1946.]

The failure to attract recruits was particularly noticeable in the
antiaircraft battalions. To obtain black replacements for these
critically depleted units, the commandant authorized the recruitment
of reservists who had served less than six months, but the measure
failed to produce the necessary manpower. On 28 February 1946 the
commanding general of Camp Lejeune reported that all but seven Negroes
on his antiaircraft artillery roster were being processed for
discharge.[10-13] Since this list included the black noncommissioned
instructors, the commander warned that future training of black    (p. 258)
marines would entail the use of officers as instructors. The
precipitous loss of black artillerymen forced Marine headquarters to
assign white specialists as temporary replacements in the heavy
antiaircraft artillery groups at Guam and Saipan, both designated as
black units in the postwar organization.[10-14]

                   [Footnote 10-13: Msg, CMC to CG, Cp Lejeune, 19 Feb
                   46, MC 122026; Memo, CG, Cp Lejeune, for CMC, 28
                   Feb 46, sub: Personnel and Equipment for
                   Antiaircraft Artillery Training Battalion
                   (Colored), Availability of, RPS-1059, MC files.]

                   [Footnote 10-14: Memo, G. C. Thomas for Dir of
                   Personnel, 6 Mar 48, sub: Replacements for Enlisted
                   Personnel (Colored) Assignment of, Request for,
                   A0-3; Msg, CINCPAC/POA PEARL to CNO, 282232Z Apr
                   46, MC 76735, MC files.]

It was not the fault of the black press if this expression of black
indifference went unnoticed. The failure of black marines to reenlist
was the subject of many newspaper and journal articles. The reason for
the phenomenon advanced by the Norfolk _Journal and Guide_ would be
repeated by civil rights spokesmen on numerous occasions in the era
before integration. The paper declared that veterans remembered their
wartime experiences and were convinced that the same distasteful
practices would be continued after the war.[10-15] Marine Corps officials
advanced different reasons. The Montford Point commander attributed
slow enlistment rates to a general postwar letdown and lack of
publicity, explaining that Montford Point "had an excellent athletic
program, good chow and comfortable barracks." A staff member of the
Division of Plans and Policies later prepared a lengthy analysis of
the treatment the Marine Corps had received in the black press. He
charged that the press had presented a distorted picture of conditions
faced by blacks that had "agitated" the men and turned them against
reenlistment. He recommended a public relations campaign at Montford
Point to improve the corps' image.[10-16] But this analysis missed the
point, for while the black press might influence civilians, it could
hardly instruct Marine veterans. Probably more than any other factor,
the wartime treatment of black marines explained the failure of the
corps to attract qualified, let alone gifted, Negroes to its postwar
junior enlisted ranks.

                   [Footnote 10-15: Norfolk _Journal and Guide_, May 4,
                   1946. See also Murray, _Negro Yearbook_, 1949 pp.
                   272-73. On the general accuracy of the press
                   charges, see Shaw and Donnelly, _Blacks in the
                   Marine Corps_, pp. 47-51.]

                   [Footnote 10-16: CO, Montford Point, Press Conference
                   (ca. 1 May 47), quoted in Div of Plans and Policies
                   Staff Report, "Rescinding Ltr of Instruction #421,"
                   MC files; unsigned, untitled Memo written in the
                   Division of Plans and Policies on black marines and
                   the black press (ca. Aug 55).]

Considering the critical shortages, temporarily and "undesirably" made
up for by white marines, and the "leisurely" rate at which black
reservists were reenlisting, General Thomas recommended in May 1946
that the corps recruit some 1,120 Negroes from civilian sources. This,
he explained to the commandant, would accelerate black enlistment but
still save some spaces for black reservists.[10-17] The commandant
agreed,[10-18] and contrary to the staff's expectations, most Negroes in
the postwar service were new recruits. The mass departure of World (p. 259)
War II veterans eloquently expressed the attitude of experienced black
servicemen toward the Marines' racial policy.

                   [Footnote 10-17: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 3 May 46, sub: Enlisting of Negroes in the
                   Marine Corps From Civilian Sources, A0-1.]

                   [Footnote 10-18: Ibid., 23 Oct 46, sub: Enlistment of
                   Negroes, 1335-110; Memo, CMC to Off in Charge,
                   Northeastern Recruiting Div, et al., 23 Oct 46,
                   sub: Negro First Enlistments, Quota for Month of
                   November, 1946, AP-1231. There was an attempt to
                   stall first enlistment, see Memo, Dir of Personnel,
                   for Dir, Div of Plans and Policies, 17 May 46, sub:
                   Enlisting of Negroes in the Marine Corps From
                   Civilian Sources; but it was overruled, Memo, Dir,
                   Div of Plans and Policies, for Dir of Personnel. 23
                   May 46, same sub, A0-1.]

The word spread quickly among the new black marines. When in mid-1947
the Division of Plans and Policies was looking for ways to reduce the
number of black marines in keeping with the modified manpower ceiling,
it discovered that if offered the opportunity about one-third of all
Negroes would apply for discharge. An even higher percentage of
discharge requests was expected from among black marines overseas. The
commandant agreed to make the offer, except to the stewards, and in
the next six months black strength dropped by 700 men.[10-19]

                   [Footnote 10-19: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 28 May 47, sub: Program for Accelerated
                   Attrition of Negro Marines, A0-1; Maj S. M. Adams,
                   "Additional Directives From Plans and Policies--3
                   June 1947," 3 Jun 47; Speed Ltr, CMC to CG, Marine
                   Corps Air Station, Cherry Point, N.C., et al., 8
                   May 47, A0-1; Memo, CMC to Depot Quartermaster,
                   Depot of Supplies, 3 Jun 47, sub: Discharge for the
                   Convenience of the Government Certain Enlisted
                   Negro Members of the Marine Corps, 070-15-447.]

Even the recruitment of stewards did not go according to predictions.
Thomas had assured the commandant in the spring of 1946 that a
concrete offer of steward duty to black reservists would produce the
300-man quota for the regular corps. He wanted the offer published at
all separation centers and a training program for stewards instituted
at Camp Lejeune.[10-20] General Vandegrift approved the proposal, but a
month later the commander of Camp Lejeune reported that only three
reservists and one regular had volunteered.[10-21] He advised the
commandant to authorize recruitment among qualified civilians. Faced
with wholesale rejection of such duty by black marines, General Thomas
in March 1947 opened the Steward's Branch to Negroes with previous
military service in any of the armed forces and qualifications for
such work.[10-22] This ploy also proved a failure. Looking for 250
stewards, the recruiters could find but one acceptable applicant in
the first weeks of the program. Retreating still further, the
commandant canceled the requirement for previous military service in
April, and in October dropped the requirement for "clearly established
qualifications."[10-23] Apparently the staff would take a chance on any
warm body.

                   [Footnote 10-20: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 12 Mar 46, sub: Steward's Branch
                   Personnel, Information Concerning, A0-3, MC files.]

                   [Footnote 10-21: Ltr, CG, Cp Lejeune, to CMC, 4 Apr
                   46, sub: Steward's Branch Personnel, 060105.]

                   [Footnote 10-22: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 18 Mar 47, sub: Enlistment of Negro
                   Personnel, 01A7647.]

                   [Footnote 10-23: Ibid., 16 Apr 47, sub: First
                   Enlistment of Negro Personnel, A0-1, and 9 Oct 47,
                   sub: Procurement and Assignment of Stewards
                   Personnel, Box 1515-30; Ltr, CMC (Div of
                   Recruiting) to Off in Charge, Northeastern
                   Recruiting Div, 29 Apr 47, sub: Negro First
                   Enlistments, 07A11947.]

In dropping the requirement for prior military service, the corps
introduced a complication. Recruits for steward duty would be obliged
to undergo basic training and their enlistment contracts would read
"general duty"; Navy regulations required that subsequent
reclassification to "stewards duty only" status had to be made at the
request of the recruit. In August 1947 three men enlisted under the
first enlistment program for stewards refused to execute a change of
enlistment contract after basic training.[10-24] Although these men could
have been discharged "for the good of the service," the commandant (p. 260)
decided not to contest their right to remain in the general service.
This action did not go unnoticed, and in subsequent months a number of
men who signed up with the intention of becoming stewards refused to
modify their enlistment contract while others, who already had changed
their contract, suddenly began to fail the qualifying tests for
stewards school.

                   [Footnote 10-24: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 15 Sep 47, sub: Disposition of Negro
                   Personnel Who Enlisted With a View Toward
                   Qualifying for Stewards Duties..., 01A25847.]

The possibility of filling the quota became even more distant when in
September 1947 the number of steward billets was increased to 380.
Since only 57 stewards had signed up in the past twelve months,
recruiters now had to find some 200 men, at least 44 per month for the
immediate future. The commandant, furthermore, approved plans to
increase the number of stewards to 420. In December the Plans and
Policies Division, conceding defeat, recommended that the commandant
arrange for the transfer of 175 men from the Navy's oversubscribed
Steward's Branch. At the same time, to overcome what the division's
new director, Brig. Gen. Ray A. Robinson, called "the onus attached to
servant type duties," the commandant was induced to approve a plan
making the rank and pay of stewards comparable to those of general
duty personnel.[10-25]

                   [Footnote 10-25: Ibid., 26 Dec 47, sub: Procurement of
                   Steward Personnel, A0-1; see also Ltr, CMC to Chief
                   of Naval Personnel, 6 Jan 48, sub: Discharge of
                   Steward Personnel From Navy to Enlist in the Marine
                   Corps, MC 967879; Memo, Chief of Naval Personnel
                   for CMC, 28 Jan 48, sub: Discharge of Certain
                   Steward Branch Personnel for Purpose of Enlistment
                   in the Marine Corps.]

These measures seemed to work. The success of the transfer program and
the fact that first enlistments had finally begun to balance
discharges led the recruiters to predict in March 1948 that their
steward quota would soon be filled. Unfortunately, success tempted the
planners to overreach themselves. Assured of a full steward quota,
General Robinson recommended that approval be sought from the
Secretary of the Navy to establish closed messes, along with the
requisite steward billets, at the shore quarters for bachelor officers
overseas.[10-26] Approval brought another rise in the number of steward
billets, this time to 580, and required a first-enlistment goal of
twenty men per month.[10-27] The new stewards, however, were not
forthcoming. After three months of recruiting the corps had netted ten
men, more than offset by trainees who failed to qualify for steward
school. Concluding that the failures represented to a great extent a
scheme to remain in general service and evade the ceiling on general
enlistment, the planners wanted the men failing to qualify discharged
"for the good of the service."[10-28]

                   [Footnote 10-26: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 19 Mar 48, sub: Procurement and
                   Distribution of Steward Personnel, A0-1.]

                   [Footnote 10-27: Ibid., 12 Aug 48, sub: Steward
                   Personnel, Allowances and Procurement, A0-1; Ltr,
                   CMC to CG, Marine Barracks, Cp Lejeune, 16 Aug 48,
                   sub: Negro Recruits, 01A22948.]

                   [Footnote 10-28: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 15 Oct 48, sub: Disposition of Negro
                   Personnel Who Enlist "For Steward Duty Only" and
                   Subsequently Fail to Qualify for Such Duty, Study
                   #169-48; Ltr, QMG of MC to CMC, 17 Sep 48, same
                   sub, CA6.]

The lack of recruits for steward duty and constant pressure by
stewards for transfer to general duty troubled the Marine Corps
throughout the postwar period. Reviewing the problem in December
1948, the commanding general of Camp Lejeune saw three causes:     (p. 261)
"agitation from civilian sources," which labeled steward duty
degrading servant's work; lack of rapid promotion; and badgering from
black marines on regular duty.[10-29] But the commander's solution--a
public relations campaign using black recruits to promote the
attractions of steward duty along with a belated promise of more rapid
promotion--failed. It ignored the central issue, the existence of a
segregated branch in which black marines performed menial, nonmilitary

                   [Footnote 10-29: Msg, CG, Cp Lejeune, N.C., to CMC, 31
                   Dec 48.]

Headquarters later resorted to other expedients. It obtained
seventy-five more men from the Navy and lowered the qualification test
standards for steward duty. But like earlier efforts, these steps also
failed to produce enough men.[10-30] Ironically, while the corps aroused
the ire of the civil rights groups by maintaining a segregated
servants' branch, it was never able to attract a sufficient number of
stewards to fill its needs in the postwar period.

                   [Footnote 10-30: Memo, Chief of Naval Personnel and
                   CMC for All Ships and Stations, 28 Feb 49, sub:
                   Discharge of Stewards, USN, For the Purpose of
                   Immediate Enlistment in Marine Corps, Pers-66,
                   GenRecsNav; Memo, CMC for Dir of Recruiting, 25 Feb
                   49, sub: Mental Requirements for Enlistment for
                   "Steward Duty Only," A0-1; Ltr, CMC (Div of
                   Recruiting) to Off in Charge, Northeastern
                   Recruiting Div, 3 Mar 49, sub: Mental Standards for
                   Enlistment for Steward Duty Only, MC1088081; Msg,
                   CMC to Div of Recruiting, 7 Apr 49.]

Many of the corps' critics saw in the buildup of the Steward's Branch
the first step in an attempt to eliminate Negroes from the general
service. If such a scheme had ever been contemplated, it was
remarkably unsuccessful, for the corps would enter the Korean War with
most of its Negroes still in the general service. Nevertheless, the
apprehension of the civil rights advocates was understandable because
during most of the postwar period enlistment in the general service
was barred to Negroes or limited to a very small number of men. Closed
to Negroes in early 1947, enlistment was briefly reopened at the rate
of forty men per month later that year to provide the few hundred
extra men called for in the reorganization of the Operating Force
Plan.[10-31] Enlistment was again opened in May 1948 when the recruiting
office established a monthly quota for black recruits at ten men for
general duty and eight for the Steward's Branch. The figure for
stewards quickly rose to thirty per month, but effective 1 May 1949
the recruitment of Negroes for general service was closed.[10-32]

                   [Footnote 10-31: Memo, CMC for CG, Marine Barracks, Cp
                   Lejeune, N.C., 8 Dec 47, sub: Negro Recruits,

                   [Footnote 10-32: Ltr, CMC to CG, Cp Lejeune, 24 May
                   48, A0-1; Memo, CMC for Off in Charge of Recruiting
                   Div, 29 Jan 49, sub: Enlistment of Negroes,
                   07D14848; Msg, CMC to Offs in Charge of Recruiting
                   Divs, 25 Apr 49.]

These rapid changes, indeed the whole pattern of black enlistment in
the postwar Marine Corps, demonstrated that the staff's manpower
practices were out of joint with the times. Not only did they invite
attack from the increasingly vocal civil rights forces, but they also
fostered a general distrust among black marines themselves and among
those young Negroes the corps hoped to attract.

_Segregation and Efficiency_

The assignment policies and recruitment practices of the corps were
the inevitable result of its segregation policy. Prejudice and
discrimination no doubt aggravated the situation, but the policy of
separation limited the ways Negroes could be employed and places   (p. 262)
to which they might be assigned. Segregation explained, for example,
why Negroes were traditionally employed in certain types of combat
units, and why, when changing missions and manpower restrictions
caused a reduction in the number of such units, Negroes were not given
other combat assignments. Most Negroes with combat military
occupational specialties served in defense battalions during World War
II. These units, chiefly antiaircraft artillery, were self-contained
and could therefore be segregated; at the same time they cloaked a
large group of men with the dignity of a combat assignment. But what
was possible during the war was no longer practical and efficient in
the postwar period. Some antiaircraft artillery units survived the
war, but they no longer operated as battalions and were divided
instead into battery-size organizations that simply could not be
segregated in terms of support and recreational facilities. In fact,
the corps found it impossible after the war to maintain segregation in
any kind of combat unit.

Even if segregated service had been possible, the formation of
all-black antiaircraft artillery battalions would have been precluded
by the need of this highly technical branch for so many kinds of
trained specialists. Not only would separate training facilities for
the few Negroes in the peacetime corps be impossibly expensive and
inefficient, but not enough black recruits were eligible for such
training. A wartime comparison of the General Classification Test and
Mechanical Aptitude Test scores of the men in the 52d Defense
Battalion with those of men in two comparable white units showed the
Negroes averaging considerably lower than the whites.[10-33] It was
reasonable to expect this difference to continue since, on the whole,
black recruits were scoring lower than their World War II
counterparts.[10-34] Under current policies, therefore, the Marine Corps
saw little choice but to exclude Negroes from antiaircraft artillery
and other combat units.

                   [Footnote 10-33: Ltr, CO, 52d Defense Battalion, to
                   CMC, 15 Jan 46, sub: Employment of Colored
                   Personnel as Antiaircraft Artillery Troops,
                   Recommendations on, 02-46, MC files.]

                   [Footnote 10-34: Memo, Dir of Personnel for Dir, Div
                   of Plans and Policies, 21 Jul 48, sub: General
                   Classification Test Scores of Colored Enlisted
                   Marines, 07DZ0348. The GCT distribution of 991
                   black marines as of 1 March 1948 was as follows:
                   Group I (130-163), 0%; Group II (110-129), 4.94%;
                   Group III (90-109), 24.7%; Group IV (60-89),
                   61.45%; and Group V (42-59), 9.54%. Memo, Dir of
                   Personnel to Dir, Div of Plans and Policies, 30 May
                   48, sub: Marines--Tests and Testing.]

Obviously the corps had in its ranks some Negroes capable of
performing any task required in an artillery battalion. Yet because
the segregation policy demanded that there be enough qualified men to
form and sustain a whole black battalion, the abilities of these
high-scoring individuals were wasted. On the other hand, many billets
in antiaircraft artillery or other types of combat battalions could be
filled by men with low test scores, but less gifted black marines were
excluded because they had to be assigned to one of the few black
units. Segregation, in short, was doubly inefficient, it kept both
able and inferior Negroes out of combat units that were perpetually
short of men.

Segregation also promoted inefficiency in the placement of black
Marine units. While the assignment of an integrated unit with a few
black marines would probably go unnoticed in most naval
districts--witness the experience of the Navy itself--the task of  (p. 263)
finding a naval district and an American community where a large
segregated group of black marines could be peacefully assimilated was
infinitely more difficult.

The original postwar racial program called for the assignment of black
security units to the Marine Barracks at McAlester, Oklahoma, and
Earle, New Jersey. Noting that the station was in a strict Jim Crow
area where recreational facilities for Negroes were limited and
distant, the commanding officer of the Marine Barracks at McAlester
recommended that no Negroes be assigned. He reminded the commandant
that guard duty required marines to question and apprehend white
civilian employees, a fact that would add to the racial tension in the
area. His conclusions, no doubt shared by commanders in many parts of
the country, summed up the problem of finding assignments for black
marines: any racial incident which might arise out of disregard for
local racial custom, he wrote,

     would cause the Marine Corps to become involved by protecting
     such personnel as required by Federal law and Navy Regulations.
     It is believed that if one such potential incident occurred, it
     would seriously jeopardize the standing of the Marine Corps
     throughout the Southwest. To my way of thinking, the Marine Corps
     is not now maintaining the high esteem of public opinion, or
     gaining in prestige, by the manner in which its uniform and
     insignia are subjected to such laws. The uniform does not count,
     it is relegated to the background and made to participate in and
     suffer the restrictions and limitations placed upon it by virtue
     of the wearer being subject to the Jim Crow laws.[10-35]

                   [Footnote 10-35: Ltr, CO, MB, NAD, McAlester, Okla.,
                   to CMC, 5 Nov 46, sub: Assignment of Colored
                   Marines, 2385.]

The commander of the McAlester ammunition depot endorsed this
recommendation, adding that Oklahoma was a "border" state where the
Negro was not accepted as in the north nor understood and tolerated as
in the south. This argument moved the Director of Plans and Policies
to recommend that McAlester be dropped and the black unit sent instead
to Port Chicago, California.[10-36] With the approval of the commandant
and the Chief of Naval Operations, plans for the assignment were well
under way in June 1947 when the commandant of the Twelfth Naval
District intervened.[10-37] The presence of a black unit, he declared,
was undesirable in a predominantly white area that was experiencing
almost constant labor turmoil. The possibility of clashes between
white pickets and black guards would invite racial conflict. His
warnings carried the day, and Port Chicago was dropped in favor of the
Marine Barracks, Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, New York, with station at
Bayonne, New Jersey. At the same time, because of opposition from
naval officials, the plan for assigning Negroes to Earle, New Jersey,
was also dropped, and the commandant launched inquiries about the  (p. 264)
depots at Hingham, Massachusetts, and Fort Mifflin, Pennsylvania.[10-38]

                   [Footnote 10-36: Ltr, CO, NAD, McAlester, Okla., to
                   CMC, 5 Nov 46, 1st Ind to Ltr, CO, MB, McAlester,
                   2385; Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies, for
                   CMC, 3 Dec 46, sub: Assignment of Negro Marines to
                   MB, Naval Magazine, Port Chicago, Calif., in lieu
                   of MB, NAD, McAlester, Okla., A0-1.]

                   [Footnote 10-37: Memo, CMC for CNO, 3 Dec 46, sub:
                   Assignment of Negro Marines to MB, Naval Magazine,
                   Port Chicago, Calif., and MB, NAD, Earle, N.J.,
                   A0-1; idem for CO, MB, NAD, Earle, N.J., 9 Jan 47,
                   sub: Assignment of Colored Marines to Marine
                   Barracks, Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, N.J.; idem
                   for CO, Department of the Pacific, and CO, MB, NAD,
                   McAlester, Okla., A0-1; Memo, CNO for CMC, 6 Jan
                   47, same sub, OP 30 M.]

                   [Footnote 10-38: Speed Ltr, CMC to Cmdt, Twelfth Naval
                   District, 12 Jun 47; Memo, CMC for CO, MB, Naval
                   Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y., 13 Jun 47, sub:
                   Assignment of Negro Marines to Second Guard
                   Company, Marine Barracks Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn,
                   N.Y., A0-1; idem for CO, MB, USNAD, Hingham, Mass.,
                   18 Jun 47, sub: Assignment of Negro Marines, A0-1;
                   Speed Ltr, CMC to Cmdt, Twelfth Naval District, 18
                   Jun 47, 01A76847; Memo, CMC for CO, MB, NAD, Ft.
                   Mifflin, Pa., 18 Jun 47, sub: Assignment of Negro
                   Marines, A0-1; Memo, Cmdt, Fourth Naval District
                   for CO, MB, NAD, Ft. Mifflin, Pa., 18 Jun 47, same

Fort Mifflin agreed to take fifty black marines, but several officials
objected to the proposed assignment to Hingham. The Marine commander,
offering what he called his unbiased opinion in the best interests of
the service, explained in considerable detail why he thought the
assignment of Negroes would jeopardize the fire-fighting ability of
the ammunition depot. The commanding officer of the naval depot
endorsed these reasons and added that assigning black marines to guard
duty that included vehicle search would create a problem in industrial
relations.[10-39] The commandant of the First Naval District apparently
discounted these arguments, but he too voted against the assignment of
Negroes on the grounds that the Hingham area lacked a substantial
black population, was largely composed of restricted residential
neighborhoods, and was a major summer resort on which the presence of
black units would have an adverse effect.[10-40]

                   [Footnote 10-39: Memo, CO, MB, NAD, Hingham, Mass.,
                   for CMC, 26 Jun 47, sub: Comments on Assignment of
                   Negro Marines, AB-1; Memo, CO, NAD, Hingham, Mass.,
                   for CMC, 26 Jun 47, 1st Ind to AB-1, 26 Jun 47.]

                   [Footnote 10-40: Ltr, Cmdt, First Naval District, to
                   CMC, 30 Jun 47, sub: Assignment of Negro Marines,
                   2d Ind to AB-1, 26 Jun 47.]

The commander of the Naval Base, New York, meanwhile had refused to
approve a plan to assign a black unit to Bayonne, New Jersey, and
suggested that it be sent to Earle, New Jersey, instead because there
the unit "presented fewer problems and difficulties than at any other
Naval activity." The commander noted that stationing Negroes at
Bayonne would necessitate a certain amount of integration in mess and
ship service facilities. Bayonne was also reputed to have the toughest
gate duty in the New York area, and noncommissioned officers had to
supervise a white civilian police force. At Earle, on the other hand,
the facilities were completely separate, and although some complaints
from well-to-do summer colonists in the vicinity could be expected,
men could be bused to Newark or Jersey City for recreation. Moreover,
Earle could absorb a 175-man unit.[10-41] But chief of the Navy's Bureau
of Ordnance wanted to retain white marines at Earle because a recent
decision to handle ammonium nitrate fertilizer there made it unwise to
relieve the existing trained detachment. Earle was also using contract
stevedores and expected to be using Army troops whose use of local
facilities would preclude plans for a segregated barracks and

                   [Footnote 10-41: Ltr, CO, Naval Base, New York, to
                   CMC, 10 July 47, sub: Assignment of Negro Marines
                   to Second Guard Company, Marine Barracks, New York
                   Naval Shipyard, Brooklyn, N.Y., NB-139.]

                   [Footnote 10-42: Ltr, Chief, Bur of Ord, to CNO, 11
                   Aug 47, sub: Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle,
                   N.J.--Assignment of Negro Marine Complement,

The commandant accepted these arguments and on 20 August 1947 revoked
the assignment of a black unit to Earle. Still, with its ability to
absorb 175 men and its relative suitability in terms of separate   (p. 265)
living facilities, the depot remained a prime candidate for black
units, and in November General Vandegrift reversed himself. The Chief
of Naval Operations supported the commandant's decision over the
renewed objections of the Chief of the Bureau of Ordnance.[10-43] With
Hingham, Massachusetts, ruled out, the commandant now considered the
substitution of Marine barracks at Trinidad, British West Indies;
Scotia, New York; and Oahu, Hawaii. He rejected Trinidad in favor of
Oahu, and officials in Hawaii proved amenable.[10-44]

                   [Footnote 10-43: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 19 Nov 47, sub: First Enlistments of Negro
                   Personnel, A0-1; Memo, Chief, Bur of Ord, for CNO,
                   15 Dec 47, sub: Assignment of Negro Marines at
                   Naval Ammunition Depot, Earle, Red Bank, N.J.;
                   Memo, CNO for Chief, Bur of Ord, 6 Jan 48, same

                   [Footnote 10-44: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   29 Jul 47, sub: Negro Requirements and Assignments,
                   A0-1, MC files.]

The chief of the Navy's Bureau of Supplies and Accounts objected to
the use of black marines at the supply depot in Scotia, claiming that
such an assignment to the Navy's sole installation in upper New York
State would bring about a "weakening of the local public relations
advantage now held by the Navy" and would be contrary to the Navy's
best interests. He pointed out that the assignment would necessitate
billeting white marine graves registration escorts and black marines
in the same squad rooms. The use of black marines for firing squads at
funerals, he thought, would be "undesirable." He also pointed out that
the local black population was small, making for extremely limited
recreational and social opportunities.[10-45] The idea of using Scotia
with all these attendant inconveniences was quietly dropped, and the
black marines were finally assigned to Earle, New Jersey; Fort
Mifflin, Pennsylvania; and Oahu, Hawaii.

                   [Footnote 10-45: Memo, Chief, Bur of Supplies and
                   Accounts, for CNO, 14 Oct 47, sub: Assignment of
                   Negro Marines, P-16-1; Memo, CNO to CMC, 20 Nov 47,
                   same sub, Op 415 D.]

Approved on 8 November 1946, the postwar plan to assign black units to
security guard assignments in the United States was not fully put into
practice until 15 August 1948, almost two years later. This episode in
the history of discrimination against Americans in uniform brought
little glory to anyone involved and revealed much about the extent of
race prejudice in American society. It was an indictment of people in
areas as geographically diverse as Oklahoma, New York, Massachusetts,
and New Jersey who objected to the assignment of black servicemen to
their communities. It was also an indictment of a great many
individual commanders, both in the Navy and Marine Corps, some perhaps
for personal prejudices, others for so readily bowing to community
prejudices. But most of all the blame must fall on the Marine Corps'
policy of segregation. Segregation made it necessary to find
assignments for a whole enlisted complement and placed an intolerable
administrative burden on the corps. The dictum that black marines
could not deal with white civilians, especially in situations in which
they would give orders, further limited assignments since such duties
were routine in any security unit. Thus, bound to a policy that was
neither just nor practical, the commandant spent almost two years
trying to place four hundred men.

Despite the obvious inefficiency and discrimination involved, the  (p. 266)
commandant, General Vandegrift, adamantly defended the Marine
segregation policy before Secretary of the Navy Forrestal. Wartime
experience showed, he maintained, oblivious to overwhelming evidence
to the contrary since 1943, "that the assignment of negro Marines to
separate units promotes harmony and morale and fosters the competitive
spirit essential to the development of a high esprit."[10-46] His stand
was bound to antagonize the civil rights camp; the black press in
particular trumpeted the theme that the corps was as full of race
discrimination as it had been during the war.[10-47]

                   [Footnote 10-46: Memo, Gen Vandegrift to SecNav, 25
                   Aug 47, sub: Assignment of Negro Marines, 54-1-29,

                   [Footnote 10-47: See, for example, the analysis that
                   appeared in the Chicago _Defender_, August 14,

_Toward Integration_

But even as the commandant defended the segregation policy, the corps
was beginning to yield to pressure from outside forces and the demands
of military efficiency. The first policy breach concerned black
officers. Although a proposal for commissions had been rejected when
the subject was first raised in 1944, three black candidates were
accepted by the officer training school at Quantico in April 1945. One
failed to qualify on physical and two on scholastic grounds, but they
were followed by five other Negroes who were still in training on V-J
day. One of this group, Frederick Branch of Charlotte, North Carolina,
elected to stay in training through the demobilization period. He was
commissioned with his classmates on 10 November 1945 and placed in the
inactive reserves. Meanwhile, three Negroes in the V-12 program
graduated and received commissions as second lieutenants in the
inactive Marine Corps Reserve. Officer training for all these men was

                   [Footnote 10-48: Shaw and Donnelly, _Blacks and the
                   Marine Corps_, pp. 47-48; see also Selective
                   Service System, _Special Groups_ (Monograph 10),

The first Negro to obtain a regular commission in the Marine Corps was
John E. Rudder of Paducah, Kentucky, a Marine veteran and graduate of
the Naval Reserve Officers' Training Corps. Analyzing the case for the
commandant in May 1948, the Director of Plans and Policies noted that
the law did not require the Marine Corps to commission Rudder, but
that he was only the first of several Negroes who would be applying
for commissions in the next few years through the Naval Reserve
Officers' Training Corps. Since the reserve corps program was a vital
part of the plan to expand Marine Corps officer strength, rejecting a
graduate on account of race, General Robinson warned, might jeopardize
the entire plan. He thought that Rudder should be accepted for duty.
Rudder was appointed a second lieutenant in the Regular Marine Corps
on 28 May 1948 and ordered to Quantico for basic schooling.[10-49] In
1949 Lieutenant Rudder resigned. Indicative of the changing civil
rights scene was the apprehension shown by some Marine Corps officials
about public reaction to the resignation. But although Rudder reported
instances of discrimination at Quantico--stemming for the most     (p. 267)
part from a lack of military courtesy that amounted to outright
ostracism--he insisted his decision to resign was based on personal
reasons and was irreversible. The Director of Public Information was
anxious to release an official version of the resignation,[10-50] but
other voices prevailed, and Rudder's exit from the corps was handled
quietly both at headquarters and in the press.[10-51]

                   [Footnote 10-49: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 11 May 48, sub: Appointment to
                   Commissioned Rank in the Regular Marine Corps, Case
                   of Midshipman John Earl Rudder, A0-1; see also Dept
                   of Navy Press Release, 25 Aug 48.]

                   [Footnote 10-50: Memo, Dir of Public Information for
                   CMC, 11 Feb 49, sub: Publicity on Second Lieutenant
                   John Rudder, USMC, AG 1364; see also Ltr, Lt Cmdr
                   Dennis Nelson to James C. Evans, 24 Feb 70, CMH

                   [Footnote 10-51: Memo, Oliver Smith for CMC, 11 Feb
                   49, with attached CMC note.]


The brief active career of one black officer was hardly evidence of a
great racial reform, but it represented a significant breakthrough
because it affirmed the practice of integrated officer training and
established the right of Negroes to command. And Rudder was quickly
followed by other black officer candidates, some of whom made careers
in the corps. Rudder's appointment marked a permanent change in Marine
Corps policy.

Enlistment of black women marked another change. Negroes had been
excluded from the Women's Reserve during World War II, but in March
1949 A. Philip Randolph asked the commandant, in the name of the
Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, if black
women could join the corps. The commandant's reply was short and
direct: "If qualified for enlistment, negro women will be accepted on
the same basis as other applicants."[10-52] In September 1949 Annie N.
Graham and Ann E. Lamb reported to Parris Island for integrated
training and subsequent assignment.

                   [Footnote 10-52: Ltr, A. Philip Randolph to Gen C. B.
                   Cates, 8 Mar 49; Ltr, CMC to Randolph, 10 Mar 49,
                   AW 828.]

Yet another racial change, in the active Marine Corps Reserve, could
be traced to outside pressure. Until 1947 all black reservists were
assigned to inactive and unpaid volunteer reserve status, and
applications for transfer to active units were usually disapproved by
commanding officers on grounds that such transfers would cost the unit
a loss in whites. Rejections did not halt applications, however, and
in May 1947 the Director of Marine Corps Reserve decided to seek a
policy decision. While he wanted each commander of an active unit left
free to decide whether he would take Negroes, the director also wanted
units with black enlisted men formed in the organized reserve,
all-black voluntary training units recognized, and integrated active
duty training provided for reservists.[10-53] A group of Negroes   (p. 268)
in Chicago had already applied for the formation of a black voluntary
training unit.

                   [Footnote 10-53: Memo, Dir, Div of Reserve, for CMC, 6
                   May 47, sub: General Policy Governing Negro
                   Reservists, AF 1271; Ltr, William Griffin to CMC, 3
                   Mar 47; Ltr, Col R. McPate to William Griffin, 11
                   Mar 47.]

General Thomas, Director of Plans and Policies, was not prepared to go
the whole way. He agreed that within certain limitations the local
commander should decide on the integration of black reservists into an
active unit, and he accepted integrated active duty training. But he
rejected the formation of black units in the organized reserve and the
voluntary training program; the latter because it would "inevitably
lead to the necessity for Negro officers and for authorizing drill
pay" in order to avoid charges of discrimination. Although Thomas
failed to explain why black officers and drill pay were unacceptable
or how rejecting the program would save the corps from charges of
discrimination, his recommendations were approved by the commandant
over the objection of the Reserve Division.[10-54] But the Director of
Reserves rejoined that volunteer training units were organized under
corps regulations, the Chicago group had met all the specifications,
and the corps would be subject to just criticism if it refused to form
the unit. On the other hand, by permitting the formation of some
all-black volunteer units, the corps might satisfy the wish of Negroes
to be a part of the reserve and thus avoid any concerted attempt to
get the corps to form all-black units in the organized reserve.[10-55]

                   [Footnote 10-54: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 7 May 47, sub: General Policy Governing
                   Negro Reservists, A0-1.]

                   [Footnote 10-55: Memo, Dir of Reserve for CMC, 15 May
                   47, sub: General Policy Concerning Negro
                   Reservists, AF 394.]

At this point the Division of Plans and Policies offered to
compromise. General Robinson recommended that when the number of
volunteers so warranted, the corps should form black units of company
size or greater, either separate or organic to larger reserve units
around the country. He remained opposed to integrated units,
explaining that experience proved--he neglected to mention what
experience, certainly none in the Marine Corps--that integrated units
served neither the best interests of the individual nor the corps.[10-56]
While the commandant's subsequent approval set the stage for the
formation of racially composite units in the reserve, the stipulation
that the black element be of company size or larger effectively
limited the degree of reform.

                   [Footnote 10-56: Memo, Dir, Div of Plans and Policies,
                   for CMC, 1 Mar 48, sub: Enlistment of Negro
                   Ex-Marines in Organized Reserve, A0-1.]

The development of composite units in the reserve paralleled a far
more significant development in the active forces. In 1947 the Marine
Corps began organizing such units along the lines established in the
postwar Army. Like the Army, the corps discovered that maintaining a
quota--even when the quota for the corps meant maintaining a minimum
number of Negroes in the service--in a period of shrinking manpower
resources necessitated the creation of new billets for Negroes. At the
same time it was obviously inefficient to assign combat-trained
Negroes, now surplus with the inactivation of the black defense
battalions, to black service and supply units when the Fleet Marine
Force battalions were so seriously understrength. Thus the strictures
against integration notwithstanding, the corps was forced to begin (p. 269)
attaching black units to the depleted Fleet Marine Force units.
In January 1947, for example, members of Headquarters Unit, Montford
Point Camp, and men of the inactivated 3d Antiaircraft Artillery
Battalion were transferred to Camp Geiger, North Carolina, and
assigned to the all-black 2d Medium Depot Company, which, along with
eight white units, was organized into the racially composite 2d Combat
Service Group in the 2d Marine Division.[10-57] Although the units of the
group ate in separate mess halls and slept in separate barracks,
inevitably the men of all units used some facilities in common. After
Negroes were assigned to Camp Geiger, for instance, recreational
facilities were open to all. In some isolated cases, black
noncommissioned officers were assigned to lead racially mixed details
in the composite group.[10-58]

                   [Footnote 10-57: USMC Muster Rolls, 1947.]

                   [Footnote 10-58: Interv, Martin Blumenson with 1st Sgt
                   Jerome Pressley, 21 Feb 66, CMH files.]

[Illustration: TRAINING EXERCISES. _Black Marine unit boards ship at
Morehead City, North Carolina, 1949._]

But these reforms, which did very little for a very few men, scarcely
dented the Marine Corps' racial policy. Corps officials were still
firmly committed to strict segregation in 1948, and change seemed very
distant. Any substantial modification in racial policy would require a
revolution against Marine tradition, a movement dictated by higher
civilian authority or touched off by an overwhelming military need.

CHAPTER 11                                                         (p. 270)

The Postwar Air Force

The Air Force was a new service in 1947, but it was also heir to a
long tradition of segregation. Most of its senior officers, trained in
the Army, firmly supported the Army's policy of racially separate
units and racial quotas. And despite continuing objections to what
many saw as the Gillem Board's far too progressive proposals, the Air
Force adopted the Army's postwar racial policy as its own. Yet after
less than two years as an independent service the Air Force in late
1948 stood on the threshold of integration.

This sudden change in attitude was not so much the result of
humanitarian promptings by service officials, although some of them
forcibly demanded equal treatment and opportunity. Nor was it a
response to civil rights activists, although Negroes in and outside
the Air Force continued to exert pressure for change. Rather,
integration was forced upon the service when the inefficiency of its
racial practices could no longer be ignored. The inefficiency of
segregated troops was less noticeable in the Army, where a vast number
of Negroes could serve in a variety of expandable black units, and in
the smaller Navy, where only a few Negroes had specialist ratings and
most black sailors were in the separate Steward's Branch. But the
inefficiency of separatism was plainly evident in the Air Force.

Like the Army, the Air Force had its share of service units to absorb
the marginal black airman, but postwar budget restrictions had made
the enlargement of service units difficult to justify. At the same
time, the Gillem Board policy as well as outside pressures had made it
necessary to include a black air unit in the service's limited number
of postwar air wings. However socially desirable two air forces might
seem to most officials, and however easy it had been to defend them as
a wartime necessity, it quickly became apparent that segregation was,
organizationally at least, a waste of the Air Force's few black pilots
and specialists and its relatively large supply of unskilled black
recruits. Thus, the inclination to integrate was mostly pragmatic;
notably absent were the idealistic overtones sounded by the Navy's
Special Programs Unit during the war. Considering the magnitude of the
Air Force problem, it was probably just as well that efficiency rather
than idealism became the keynote of change. On a percentage basis the
Air Force had almost as many Negroes as the Army and, no doubt, a
comparable level of prejudice among its commanders and men. At the
same time, the Air Force was a new service, its organization still
fluid and its policies subject to rapid modification. In such
circumstances a straightforward appeal to efficiency had a chance to
succeed where an idealistic call for justice and fair play might well
have floundered.

_Segregation and Efficiency_                                       (p. 271)

Many officials in the Army Air Forces had defended segregated units
during the war as an efficient method of avoiding dangerous social
conflicts and utilizing low-scoring recruits.[11-1] General Arnold
himself repeatedly warned against bringing black officers and white
enlisted men together. Unless strict unit segregation was imposed,
such contacts would be inevitable, given the Air Forces' highly mobile
training and operations structure.[11-2] But if segregation restricted
contacts between the races it also imposed a severe administrative
burden on the wartime Air Forces. It especially affected the black
flying units because it ordained that not only pilots but the ground
support specialists--mechanics, supply clerks, armorers--had to be
black. Throughout most of the war the Air Forces, competing with the
rest of the Army for skilled and high-scoring Negroes, was unable to
fill the needs of its black air units. At a time when the Air Forces
enjoyed a surplus of white air and ground crews, the black fighter
units suffered from a shortage of replacements for their combat
veterans, a situation as inefficient as it was damaging to morale.[11-3]

                   [Footnote 11-1: For a comprehensive and authoritative
                   account of the Negro in the Army Air Forces during
                   World War II, sec Osur's _Blacks in the Army Air
                   Forces During World War II_.]

                   [Footnote 11-2: See Memo, CS/AC for G-3, 31 May 40,
                   sub: Employment of Negro Personnel in the Air Corps
                   Units, G-3/6541-Gen 527.]

                   [Footnote 11-3: For the effect on unit morale, see
                   Charles E. Francis, _The Tuskegee Airmen: The Story
                   of the Negro in the U.S. Air Force_ (Boston: Bruce
                   Humphries, 1955), p. 164; see also USAF Oral
                   History Program, Interview with Lt Gen B. O. Davis,
                   Jr., Jan 73.]

The shortage was compounded in the penultimate year of the war when
the all-black 477th Bombardment Group was organized. (Black airmen and
civil rights spokesmen complained that restricting Negroes to fighter
units excluded them from many important and prestigious types of air
service.) In the end the new bombardment group only served to limit
black participation in the air war. Already short of black pilots, the
Army Air Forces now had to find black navigators and bombardiers as
well, thereby intensifying the competition for qualified black cadets.
The stipulation that pilots and bombardiers for the new unit be
trained at segregated Tuskegee was another obvious cause for the
repeated delays in the operational date of the 477th, and its crews
were finally assembled only weeks before the end of the war.
Competition for black bomber crews also led to a ludicrous situation
in which men highly qualified for pilot training according to their
stanine scores (achievements on the battery of qualifying tests taken
by all applicants for flight service) were sent instead to
navigator-bomber training, for which they were only barely

                   [Footnote 11-4: Lee, _Employment of Negro Troops_, pp.
                   462-64; see also Interv, author with Lt Gen
                   Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., 12 Jun 70, CMH files.]

Unable to obtain enough Negroes qualified for flight training, the
Army Air Forces asked the Ground and Service Forces to screen their
personnel for suitable candidates, but a screening early in 1945
produced only about one-sixth of the men needed. Finally, the Air
Forces recommended that the Army staff lower the General Classification
Test score for pilot training from 110 to 100, a recommendation the
Service and Ground Forces opposed because such a move would eventually
mean the mass transfer of high-scoring Negroes to the Air Forces,  (p. 272)
thus depriving the Service and Ground Forces of their proportionate
share. Although the Secretary of War approved the Air Forces proposal,
the change came too late to affect the shortage of black pilots and
specialists before the end of the war.

[Illustration: DAMAGE INSPECTION. _A squadron operations officer of
the 332d Fighter Group points out a cannon hole to ground crew, Italy,

While short of skilled Negroes, the Army Air Forces was being
inundated with thousands of undereducated and unskilled Negroes from
Selective Service. It tried to absorb these recruits, as it absorbed
some of its white draftees, by creating a great number of service and
base security battalions. A handy solution to the wartime quota
problem, the large segregated units eventually caused considerable
racial tension. Some of the tension might have been avoided had black
officers commanded black squadrons, a logical course since the Air
Force had a large surplus of nonrated black officers stationed at
Tuskegee.[11-5] Most were without permanent assignment or were assigned
such duties as custodial responsibility for bachelor officer quarters,
occupations unrelated to their specialties.[11-6]

                   [Footnote 11-5: A nonrated officer is one not having
                   or requiring a currently effective aeronautical
                   rating; that is, an officer who is not a pilot,
                   navigator, or bombardier.]

                   [Footnote 11-6: Interv, author with Davis; see also
                   Osur's _Blacks in the Army Air Forces During World
                   War II_, ch. V.]

Few of these idle black officers commanded black service units because
the units were scattered worldwide while the nonrated officers were
almost always assigned to the airfield at Tuskegee. Approximately
one-third of the Air Forces' 1,559 black officers were stationed at
Tuskegee in June 1945. Most others were assigned to the fighter group
in the Mediterranean theater or the new bombardment group in flight
training at Godman Field, Kentucky. Only twenty-five black         (p. 273)
officers were serving at other stations in the United States. The
Second, Third, and Fourth Air Forces and I Troop Carrier Command, for
example, had a combined total of seventeen black officers as against
22,938 black enlisted men.[11-7] Col. Noel F. Parrish, the wartime
commander at Tuskegee, explained that the principal reason for this
restriction was the prevailing fear of social conflict. If assigned to
other bases, black officers might try to use the officers' clubs and
other base facilities. Thus, despite the surplus of black officers
only too evident at Tuskegee, their requests for transfer to other
bases for assignment in their rating were usually denied on the
grounds that the overall shortage of black officers made their
replacement impossible.[11-8]

                   [Footnote 11-7: "Summary of AAF Post-War Surveys,"
                   prepared by Noel Parrish, copy in NAACP Collection,
                   Library of Congress.]

                   [Footnote 11-8: Noel F. Parrish, "The Segregation of
                   the Negro in the Army Air Forces," thesis submitted
                   to the USAF Air Command and Staff School, Maxwell
                   AFB, Ala., 1947, pp. 50-55.]

Fearing trouble between black and white officers and assuming that
black airmen preferred white officers, the Air Forces assigned white
officers to command black squadrons. Actually, such assignments
courted morale problems and worse because they were extremely
unpopular with both officers and men. Moreover, the Air Forces
eventually had to admit that there was a tendency to assign white
officers "of mediocre caliber" to black squadrons.[11-9] Yet few
assignments demanded greater leadership ability, for these officers
were burdened not only with the usual problems of a unit commander but
also with the complexities of race relations. If they disparaged their
troops, they failed as commanders; if they fought for their men, they
were dismissed by their superiors as "pro-Negro." Consequently, they
were generally a harassed and bewildered lot, bitter over their
assignments and bad for troop morale.[11-10]

                   [Footnote 11-9: Ltr, Hq AAF, to CG, Tactical Training
                   Cmd, 21 Aug 42, sub: Professional Qualities of
                   Officers Assigned to Negro Units, 220.765-3,

                   [Footnote 11-10: Parrish, "Segregation of the Negro in
                   the Army Air Forces," pp. 50-55. The many
                   difficulties involved in the assignment of white
                   officers to black units are discussed in Osur's
                   _Blacks in the Army Air Forces During World War
                   II_, ch V.]

The social problems predicted for integration proved inevitable under
segregation. Commanders found it prohibitively expensive to provide
separate but equal facilities, and without them discrimination became
more obvious. The walk-in protest at the Freeman Field Officers Club
was but one of the natural consequences of segregation rules. And such
demonstrations were only the more spectacular problems. Just as
time-consuming and perhaps more of a burden were the many
administrative difficulties. The Air Transport Command admitted in
1946 that it was too expensive to maintain, as the command was
obligated to do, separate and equal housing and messing, including
separate orderly and day rooms for black airmen. At the same time it
complained of the disproportionately high percentage of black troops
violating military and civil law. Although Negroes accounted for 20
percent of the command's troops, they committed more than 50 percent
of its law infractions. The only connection the command was able to
make between the separate, unequal facilities and the high misconduct
rate was to point out that, while it had done its best to provide for
Negroes, they "had not earned a very enviable record by

                   [Footnote 11-11: AAF Transport Cmd, "History of the
                   Command, 1 July 1946-31 December 1946" pp. 120-26.]

In one crucial five-month period of the war, Army Air Forces       (p. 274)
headquarters processed twenty-two separate staff actions involving
black troops.[11-12] To avoid the supposed danger of large-scale social
integration, the Air Forces, like the rest of the Army during World
War II, had been profligate in its use of material resources,
inefficient in its use of men, and destructive of the morale of black

                   [Footnote 11-12: Parrish, "Segregation of the Negro in
                   the Army Air Forces."]

[Illustration: COLONEL PARRISH. (_1946 photograph_).]

The Air staff was not oblivious to these facts and made some
adjustments in policy as the war progressed. Notably, it rejected
separate training of nonrated black officers and provided for
integrated training of black navigators and bombardiers. In the last
days of the war General Arnold ordered his commanders to "take
affirmative action to insure that equity in training and assignment
opportunity is provided all personnel."[11-13] And when it came to
postwar planning, the Air staff demonstrated it had learned much from
wartime experience:

     The degree to which negroes can be successfully employed in the
     Post-War Military Establishment largely depends on the success of
     the Army in maintaining at a minimum the feeling of
     discrimination and unfair treatment which basically are the
     causes for irritation and disorders ... in the event of a future
     emergency the arms will employ a large number of negroes and
     their contribution in such an emergency will largely depend on
     the training, treatment and intelligent use of negroes during the
     intervening years.[11-14]

                   [Footnote 11-13: AAF Ltr 35-268, 11 Aug 45.]

                   [Footnote 11-14: Rpt, ACS/AS-1 to WDSS, 17 Sep 45,
                   sub: Participation of Negro Troops in the Post-War
                   Military Establishment, WDSS 291.2.]

But while admitting that discrimination was at the heart of its racial
problem, the Air staff failed to see the connection between
discrimination and segregation. Instead it adopted the recommendations
of its senior commanders. The consensus was that black combat (flying)
units had performed "more or less creditably," but required more
training than white units, and that the ground echelon and combat
support units had performed below average. Rather than abolish these
below average units, however, commanders wanted them preserved and
wanted postwar policy to strengthen segregation. The final
recommendation of the Army Air Forces to the Gillem Board was that
blacks be trained according to the same standards as whites but that
they be employed in separate units and segregated for recreation,
messing, and social activities "on the post as well as off," in    (p. 275)
keeping with prevailing customs in the surrounding civilian

                   [Footnote 11-15: Ibid. For an analysis of these
                   recommendations, see Gropman's _The Air Force
                   Integrates_, ch. II.]

The Army Air Forces' postwar use of black troops was fairly consonant
with the major provisions of the Gillem Board Report. To reduce black
combat units in proportion to the reduction of its white units, it
converted the 477th Bombardment Group (M) into the 477th Composite
Group. This group, under the command of the Army's senior black pilot,
Col. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., included a fighter, a bombardment, and a
service squadron. To provide segregated duty for its black
specialists, the Army Air Forces organized regular black squadrons,
mostly ammunition, motor transport, and engineer throughout its
commands. To absorb the large number of unskilled Negroes, it
organized one black squadron (Squadron F) in each of the ninety-seven
base units in its worldwide base system to perform laboring and
housekeeping chores. Finally, it promised "to the fullest possible
extent" to assign Negroes with specialized skills and qualifications
to overhead and special units.[11-16]

                   [Footnote 11-16: WD Bureau of Public Relations, Memo
                   for the Press, 20 Sep 45; Office of Public
                   Relations, Godman Field, Ky., "Col. Davis Issues
                   Report on Godman Field," 10 Oct 45; Memo, Chief,
                   Programs and Manpower Section, Troop Basis Branch,
                   Organization Division, D/T&R, for Dir of Military
                   Personnel, 23 Apr 48, no sub; all in Negro Affairs,
                   SecAF files. See also "History of Godman Field,
                   Ky., 1 Mar--15 Oct 45," AFSHRC.]

In the summer of 1947, the Army Air Forces integrated aviation
training at Randolph Field, Texas, and quietly closed Tuskegee
airfield, thus ending the last segregated officer training in the
armed forces. The move was unrelated to the Gillem Board Report or to
the demands of civil rights advocates. The Tuskegee operation had
simply become impractical. In the severe postwar retrenchment of the
armed forces, Tuskegee's cadet enrollment had dropped sharply, only
nine men graduated in the October 1945 class.[11-17] To the general
satisfaction of the black community, the few black cadets shared both
quarters and classes with white students.[11-18] Nine black cadets were
in training at the end of 1947.[11-19]

                   [Footnote 11-17: "History of the 2143d AAF Base Unit,
                   Pilot School, Basic, Advanced, and Tuskegee Army
                   Air Field, 1 Sep 1945-31 Oct 1945," AFSHRC.]

                   [Footnote 11-18: For an example of black reaction see
                   _Ebony_ Magazine V (September 1949).]

                   [Footnote 11-19: Memo, James C. Evans, Adviser to the
                   SecDef, for Capt Robert W. Berry, 10 Feb 48, SecDef
                   291.2 files.]

Another postwar reduction was not so advantageous for Negroes. By
February 1946 the 477th Composite Group had been reduced to sixteen
B-25 bombers, twelve P-47 fighter-bombers, and only 746 men--a 40
percent drop in four months.[11-20] Although the Tactical Air Command
rated the unit's postwar training and performance satisfactory, and
its transfer to the more hospitable surroundings and finer facilities
of Lockbourne Field, Ohio, raised morale, the 477th, like other
understaffed and underequipped organizations, faced inevitable
conversion to specialized service. In July 1947 the 477th was
inactivated and replaced by the 332d Fighter Group composed of the
99th, 100th, and 301st Fighter Squadrons. Black bomber pilots were
converted to fighter pilots, and the bomber crews were removed from
flying status.

                   [Footnote 11-20: "History of the 477th Composite
                   Group," 15 Sep 45-15 Feb 46, Feb-Mar 46, and 1
                   Mar-15 Jul 46, AFSHRC.]

[Illustration: OFFICERS' SOFTBALL TEAM _representing the 477th
Composite Group, Godwin Field, Kentucky_.]

These changes flew in the face of the Gillem Board Report, for     (p. 276)
however slightly that document may have changed the Army's segregation
policy, it did demand at least a modest response to the call for equal
opportunity in training, assignment, and advancement. The board
clearly looked to the command of black units by qualified black
officers and the training of black airmen to serve as a cadre for any
necessary expansion of black units in wartime. Certainly the
conversion of black bomber pilots to fighters did not meet these
modest demands. In its defense the Army Air Forces in effect pleaded
that there were too many Negroes for its present force, now severely
reduced in size and lacking planes and other equipment, and too many
of the black troops lacked education for the variety of assignments
recommended by the board.

The Army Air Forces seemed to have a point, for in the immediate
postwar period its percentage of black airmen had risen dramatically.
It was drafting men to replace departing veterans, and in 1946 it was
taking anyone who qualified, including many Negroes. In seven months
the air arm lost over half its black strength, going from a wartime
high of 80,606 on 31 August 1945 to 38,911 on 31 March 1946, but in
the same period the black percentage almost doubled, climbing from 4.2
to 7.92.[11-21] The War Department predicted that all combat arms would
have a black strength of 15 percent by 1 July 1946.[11-22]

                   [Footnote 11-21: All figures from STM-30, 1 Sep 45 and
                   1 Apr 46.]

                   [Footnote 11-22: Memo, TAG for CG's et al., 4 Feb 46,
                   sub: Utilization of Negro Personnel, AG 291.2 (31
                   Jan 46).]

This prophecy never materialized in the Air Forces. Changes in
enlistment standards, curtailment of overseas assignments for Negroes,
and, finally, suspension of all black enlistments in the Regular Army
except in certain military specialist occupations turned the
percentage of Negroes downward. By the fall of 1947, when the Air  (p. 277)
Force became a separate service,[11-23] the proportion of black airmen
had leveled off at nearly 7 percent. Nor did the proportion of Negroes
ever exceed the Gillem Board's 10 percent quota during the next

                   [Footnote 11-23: Under the terms of the National
                   Security Act of 1947 the U.S. Air Force was created
                   as a separate service in a Department of the Air
                   Force on 18 September 1947. The new service
                   included the old Army Air Forces; the Air Corps,
                   U.S. Army; and General Headquarters Air Force. The
                   strictures of WD Circular 124, like those of many
                   other departmental circulars, were adopted by the
                   new service. For convenience' sake the terms _Air
                   Force_ and _service_ will be employed in the
                   remaining sections of this chapter even where the
                   terms _Army Air Forces_ and _component_ would be
                   more appropriate.]

The Air Force seemed on safer ground when it pleaded that it lacked
the black airmen with skills to carry out the variety of assignments
called for by the Gillem Board. The Air Force was finding it
impossible to organize effective black units in appreciable numbers;
even some units already in existence were as much as two-thirds below
authorized strength in certain ground specialist slots.[11-24] Yet here
too the statistics do not reveal the whole truth. Despite a general
shortage of Negroes in the high test score categories, the Air Force
did have black enlisted men qualified for general assignment as
specialists or at least eligible for specialist training, who were
instead assigned to labor squadrons.[11-25] In its effort to reduce the
number of Negroes, the service had also relieved from active duty
other black specialists trained in much needed skills. Finally, the
Air Force still had a surplus of black specialists in some categories
at Lockbourne Field who were not assigned to the below-strength units.

                   [Footnote 11-24: "Tactical Air Command (TAC) History,
                   1 Jan-30 Dec 48," pp. 94-96, AFSHRC; see also
                   Lawrence J. Paszek, "Negroes and the Air Force,
                   1939-1949," _Military Affairs_ (Spring 1967), p.

                   [Footnote 11-25: Memo, DCofS/Personnel, TAC, for CG,
                   TAC, 18 Mar 48, AFSHRC.]

Again it was not too many black enlisted men or too few black officers
or specialists but the policy of strict segregation that kept the Air
Force from using black troops efficiently. Insistence on segregation,
not the number of Negroes, caused maldistribution among the commands.
In 1947, for example, the Tactical Air Command contained some 5,000
black airmen, close to 28 percent of the command's strength. This
situation came about because the command counted among its units the
one black air group and many of the black service units whose members
in an integrated service would have been distributed throughout all
the commands according to needs and abilities. The Air Force
segregation policy restricted all but forty-five of the black officers
in the continental United States to one base,[11-26] just as it was the
Air Force's attempt to avoid integration that kept black officers from
command. In November 1947, 1,581 black enlisted men and only two black
officers were stationed at MacDill Field; at San Antonio there were
3,450 black airmen and again two black officers. These figures provide
some clue to the cause of the riot involving black airmen at MacDill
Field on 27 October 1946.[11-27]

                   [Footnote 11-26: Memo, DCofS/P&A, USAF, for Asst
                   SecAF, 5 Dec 47, sub: Air Force Negro Troops in the
                   Zone of Interior, Negro Affairs, SecAF files.]

                   [Footnote 11-27: "History of MacDill Army Airfield,
                   Oct 46," pp. 10-11, AFSHRC. For a detailed analysis
                   of the MacDill riot and its aftermath, see Gropman,
                   _The Air Force Integrates_, ch. I; see also ch. 5,

Segregation also prevented the use of Negroes on a broader
professional scale. In April 1948, 84.2 percent of Negroes in the Air
Force were working in an occupational specialty as against 92.7    (p. 278)
percent of whites, but the number of Negroes in radar, aviation
specialist, wire communications, and other highly specialized skills
required to support a tactical air unit was small and far below the
percentage of whites. The Air Force argued that since Negroes were
assigned to black units and since there was only one black tactical
unit, there was little need for Negroes with these special skills.

[Illustration: CHECKING AMMUNITION. _An armorer in the 332d Fighter
Group inspects the P-51 Mustang, Italy, 1945._]

The fact that rated black officers and specialists were restricted to
one black fighter group particularly concerned civil rights advocates.
Without bomber, transport, ferrying, or weather observation
assignments, black officers qualified for larger aircraft had no
chance to diversify their careers. It was essentially the same story
for black airmen. Without more varied and large black combat units the
Air Force had no need to assign many black airmen to specialist
training. In December 1947, for example, only 80 of approximately
26,000 black airmen were attending specialist schools.[11-28] When asked
about the absence of Negroes in large aircraft, especially bombers,
Air Force spokesmen cited the conversion of the 477th Composite Group,
which contained the only black bomber unit, to a specialized fighter
group as merely part of a general reorganization to meet the needs (p. 279)
of a 55-wing organization.[11-29] That the one black bomber unit
happened to be organized out of existence was pure accident.

                   [Footnote 11-28: Memo, unsigned (probably DCofS/P&A),
                   for Asst SecAF Zuckert, 22 Apr 48, SecAF files.]

                   [Footnote 11-29: See Air Force Testimony Before the
                   National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs
                   (afternoon session), pp. 29-32, CMH files.]

The Gillem Board had sought to expand the training and placement of
skilled Negroes by going outside the regular black units and giving
them overhead assignments. After the war some base commanders made
such assignments unofficially, taking advantage of the abilities of
airmen in the overmanned, all-black Squadron F's and assigning them to
skilled duties. In one instance the base commander's secretary was a
member of his black unit; in another, black mechanics from Squadron F
worked on the flight line with white mechanics. But whatever their
work, these men remained members of Squadron F, and often the whole
black squadron, rather than individual airmen, found itself
functioning as an overhead unit, contrary to the intent of the Gillem
Board. Even the few Negroes formally trained in a specialty and placed
in an integrated overhead unit did not approximate the Gillem Board's
intention of training a cadre that would be readily expandable in an

The alternative to expanded overhead assignments was continuation of
segregated service units and Squadron F's, but, as some manpower
experts pointed out, many special purpose units suitable for unskilled
airmen were disappearing from the postwar Air Force. Experience gained
through the assignment of large numbers of marginal men to such units
in peacetime would be of questionable value during large-scale
mobilization.[11-30] As Colonel Parrish, the wartime commander of
training at Tuskegee, warned, a peacetime policy incapable of wartime
application was not only unrealistic, but dangerous.[11-31]

                   [Footnote 11-30: Memo, DCofS/P&A, TAC, for CG, TAC, 18
                   Mar 48, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower,

                   [Footnote 11-31: Parrish, "Segregation of the Negro in
                   the Army Air Forces," pp. 72-73.]

The Air staff tried to carry out the Gillem Board's suggestion that
Negroes be stationed "where attitudes are most favorable for them
insofar as military factors permit," but even here the service lagged
behind civilian practice. When Marcus H. Ray arrived at Wright Field,
Ohio, for a two-day inspection tour in July 1946, he found almost
3,000 black civilians working peacefully and effectively alongside
18,000 white civilians, all assigned to their jobs without regard to
race. "I would rate this installation," Ray reported, "as the best
example of efficient utilization of manpower I have seen." He went on
to explain: "The integration has been accomplished without publicity
and simply by assigning workers according to their capabilities and
without regard to race, creed, or color." But Ray also noted that
there were no black military men on the base.[11-32] Assistant Secretary
of War Petersen was impressed. "In view of the fact that the racial
climate seems exceptionally favorable at Wright Field," he wrote
General Carl Spaatz, "consideration should be given to the employment
of carefully selected Negro military personnel with specialist ratings
for work in that installation."[11-33]

                   [Footnote 11-32: Memo, Ray for ASW, 25 Jul 46, ASW

                   [Footnote 11-33: Memo, Petersen for CG, AAF, 29 Jul
                   46, ASW 291.2.]

The Air Force complied. In the fall of 1946 it was forming black   (p. 280)
units for assignment to Air Materiel Command Stations, and it planned
to move a black unit to Wright Field in the near future.[11-34] In
assigning an all-black unit to Wright, however, the Air Force was
introducing segregation where none had existed before, and here as in
other areas its actions belied the expressed intent of the Gillem
Board policy.

                   [Footnote 11-34: Memo, Brig Gen Reuben C. Hood, Jr.,
                   Office of CG, AAF, for ASW, 13 Sep 46, ASW 291.2.]

_Impulse for Change_

The problems associated with efficient use of black airmen intensified
when the Air Force became an independent service in 1947. The number
of Negroes fluctuated during the transition from Army Air Forces to
Air Force, and as late as April 1948 the Army still retained a number
of specialized black units whose members had the right to transfer to
the Air Force. Estimates were that some 5,400 black airmen would
eventually enter the Air Force from this source. Air Force officials
believed that when these men were added to the 26,507 Negroes already
in the new service, including 118 rated and 127 nonrated male officers
and 4 female officers, the total would exceed the 10 percent quota
suggested by the Gillem Board. Accordingly, soon after it became an
independent service, the Air Force set the number of black enlistments
at 300 per month until the necessary adjustments to the transfer
program could be made.[11-35]

                   [Footnote 11-35: Memo, unsigned, for Asst SecAF
                   Zuckert, 22 Apr 48, SecAF files. The figures cited
                   in this memorandum were slightly at variance with
                   the official strength figures as compiled later in
                   the _Unites States Air Force Statistical Digest I_
                   (1948). The _Digest_ put the Air Force's strength
                   (excluding Army personnel still under Air Force
                   control) on 31 March 1948 at 345,827, including
                   25,404 Negroes (8.9 percent of the total). The 10
                   percent plus estimate mentioned in the memorandum,
                   however, was right on the mark when statistics for
                   enlisted strength alone are considered.]

In addition to the chronic problems associated with black enlistments
and quotas, four very specific problems demonstrated clearly to Air
Force officials the urgent need for a change in race policy. The first
of these was the distribution of black airmen which threatened the
operational efficiency of the Tactical Air Command. A second, related
to the first, revolved around the personnel shortages in black
tactical units that necessitated an immediate reorganization of those
units, a reorganization both controversial and managerially
inefficient. The third and fourth problems were related; the demands
of black leaders for a broader use of black servicemen suddenly
intensified, dovetailing with the personal inclinations of the
Secretary of the Air Force, who was making the strict segregation of
black officers and specialists increasingly untenable. These four
factors coalesced during 1948 and led to a reassessment of policy and,
finally, to a _volte-face_.

Limiting black enlistment to 300 per month did little to ease the
situation in the Tactical Air Command. There, the percentage of black
personnel, although down from its postwar high of 28 percent to 15.4
percent by the end of 1947, remained several points above the Gillem
Board's 10 percent quota throughout 1948. In March 1948 the command's
Deputy Chief of Staff for Personnel, Col. John E. Barr, found that the
large number of Negroes gave the command a surplus of "marginal    (p. 281)
individuals," men who could not be trained economically for the
various skills needed. He argued that this theoretical surplus of
Negroes was "potentially parasitic" and threatened the command's

                   [Footnote 11-36: Memo, DCofS/P&A, TAC, for CG, TAC, 18
                   Mar 48, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower,

[Illustration: SQUADRON F, 318TH AAF BATTALION, _in review, Lockbourne
Air Force Base, Ohio, 1947_.]

At the same time, the command's personnel director found that Negroes
were being inefficiently used. With one squadron designated for their
black airmen, most commanders deemed surplus any Negroes in excess of
the needs of that squadron and made little attempt to use them
effectively. Even when some of these men were given a chance at
skilled jobs in the Tactical Air Command their assignments proved
short-lived. Because of a shortage of white airmen at Shaw Air Force
Base, South Carolina, in early 1948, for example, Negroes from the
base's Squadron F were assigned to fill all the slots in Squadron C,
the base fire department. The Negroes performed so creditably that
when enough white airmen to man Squadron C became available the
commander suggested that the black fire fighters be transferred to
Lockbourne rather than returned to their menial assignments.[11-37] The
advantage of leaving the all-black Squadron C at Shaw was apparently
overlooked by everyone.

                   [Footnote 11-37: Memo, Adj, 20th Fighter Wing, for CG,
                   Ninth AF, undated, sub: Transfer of Structural
                   Firefighters; 2d Ind, Hq 332d Fighter Wing,
                   Lockbourne, to CG, Ninth AF, 26 Apr 48, Hist of
                   Ninth AF, AFSHRC.]

Even this limited chance at occupational preferment was exceptional
for black airmen in the Tactical Air Command. The command's personnel
staff admitted that many highly skilled black technicians were
performing menial tasks and that measures taken to raise the
performance levels of other black airmen through training were
inadequate. The staff also concluded that actions designed by the
command to raise morale among black airmen left much to be desired. It
mentioned specifically the excessively high turnover of officers
assigned to black units, officers who for the most part proved
mediocre as leaders. Most devastating of all, the study admitted that
promotions and other rewards for duties performed by black airmen were
not commensurate with those received by whites.[11-38]

                   [Footnote 11-38: Memo, DCofS/P&A, TAC, for CG, TAC, 18
                   Mar 48, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower,

Colonel Barr offered a solution that echoed the plea of Air Force  (p. 282)
commanders everywhere: revise Circular 124 to allow his organization
to reduce the percentage of Negroes. Among a number of "compromise
solutions" he recommended raising enlistment standards to reduce the
number of submarginal airmen; designating Squadron E, the
transportation squadron of the combat wings, a black unit; assigning
all skilled black technicians to Lockbourne or declaring them surplus
to the command; and selecting only outstanding officers to command
black units.

One of these recommendations was under fire in Colonel Barr's own
command. All-black transportation squadrons had already been discussed
in the Ninth Air Force and had brought an immediate objection from
Maj. Gen. William D. Old, its commander. Old explained that few black
airmen in his command were qualified for "higher echelon maintenance
activities," that is, major motor and transmission overhaul, and he
had no black officers qualified to command such troops. On-the-job
training would be impossible during total conversion of the squadrons
from white to black; formal schooling for whole squadrons would have
to be organized. Besides, Old continued, making transportation
squadrons all black would only aggravate the command's race problems,
for it would result in a further deviation from the "desired ratio of
one to ten." Old wanted to reduce the number of black airmen in the
Ninth Air Force by 1,633 men. The loss would not materially affect the
efficiency of his command, he concluded. It would leave the Ninth Air
Force with a ratio of one black officer to ten white and one black
airman to eight white, and still permit the manning of black tactical
units at full strength.[11-39] In the end none of these recommendations
was followed. They needed the approval of Air Force headquarters, and
as Lt. Gen. Elwood R. Quesada, commander of the Tactical Air Command,
explained to General Old, the headquarters was in the midst of a
lengthy review of Circular 124. In the meantime the command would have
to carry on without guidance from higher headquarters.[11-40] Carry on it
did, but the problems associated with the distribution of black
airmen, problems the command constantly shared with Air Force
headquarters, lingered throughout 1948.[11-41]

                   [Footnote 11-39: Memo, Maj Gen Old for CG, TAC, 26 Jan
                   48, sub: Utilization of Negro Manpower, 9AF 200.3,
                   Hist of Ninth AF, AFSHRC.]

                   [Footnote 11-40: Ltr, Lt Gen Quesada to Maj Gen Old,
                   Ninth AF, 9 Apr 48, Hist of Ninth AF, AFSHRC.]

                   [Footnote 11-41: Ltrs, CG, TAC, to CS/USAF, 1 Sep 48,
                   sub: Reception of Submarginal Enlisted Personnel;
                   VCS/USAF to CG, TAC, 11 Sep 48, sub: Elimination of
                   Undesirable or Substandard Airmen; CG, TAC, to
                   CS/USAF, 24 Sep 48, same sub. All in AFSHRC.]

The Air Force's segregation policy had meanwhile created a critical
situation in the black tactical units. The old 332d, now the 332d
Fighter Wing, shared with the rest of the command the burden of too
many low-scoring men--35 percent of Lockbourne's airmen were in the
two lowest groups, IV and V--but here the problem was acute since the
presence of so many persons with little ability limited the number of
skilled black airmen that the Tactical Air Command could transfer to
the wing from other parts of the command. Under direction of the
command, the Ninth Air Force was taking advantage of a regulation that
restricted the reenlistment of low-scoring airmen, but the high
percentage of unskilled Negroes persisted at Lockbourne. Negroes   (p. 283)
in the upper test brackets were not reenlisting while the low scorers
unquestionably were.[11-42]

                   [Footnote 11-42: Ltr, DCofS/P&A, TAC, to CG, Ninth AF,
                   19 May 48, sub: Submarginal Enlisted Personnel;
                   Record of Dir of Per Staff, TAC, Mtg, 28 Oct 48;
                   both in AFSHRC.]

At the same time there was a shortage of rated black officers. The
332d Fighter Wing was authorized 244 officers, but only 200 were
assigned in February 1948. There was no easy solution to the shortage,
a product of many years of neglect. Segregation imposed the necessity
of devising a broad and long-range recruitment and training program
for black officers, but not until April 1948 did the Tactical Air
Command call for a steady flow of Negroes through officer candidate
and flight training schools.[11-43] It hoped to have another thirty-one
black pilot graduates by March 1949 and planned to recall thirty-two
others from inactive status.[11-44] Even these steps could not possibly
alleviate the serious shortage caused by the perennial failure to
replace the wing's annual pilot attrition.

                   [Footnote 11-43: Ltr, CG, TAC, to CG, Ninth AF, 9 Apr
                   48, TAC 314 (9 Apr 48), AFSHRC.]

                   [Footnote 11-44: Hq TAC, Record and Routing Sheet, 16
                   Apr 48, sub: Supervisory Visit 332d Ftr Gp,
                   Lockbourne AFB, AFSHRC.]

The chronic shortage of black field grade officers in the 332d was the
immediate cause of the change in Air Force policy. By February 1948
the 332d had only thirteen of its forty-eight authorized field grade
officers on duty. The three tactical units of the wing were commanded
by captains instead of the authorized lieutenant colonels. If Colonel
Davis were reassigned, and his attendance at the Air War College was
expected momentarily, his successor as wing commander would be a major
with five years' service.[11-45] The Tactical Air Commander was trying to
have all field grade Negroes assigned to the 332d, but even that
expedient would not provide enough officers.[11-46] Finally, General
Quesada decided to recommend that "practically all" the key field
grade positions in the 332d Wing be filled by whites.[11-47]

                   [Footnote 11-45: Ltr, CG, Ninth AF, to CG, TAC, 10 Feb
                   48, sub: Assignment of Negro Personnel, Hist of
                   Ninth AF, AFSHRC.]

                   [Footnote 11-46: Hq TAC, Record and Routing Sheet, 16
                   Apr 48, sub: Supervisory Visit 332d Ftr Gp,
                   Lockbourne AFB, AFSHRC.]

                   [Footnote 11-47: Ltrs, CG, TAC, to CG, Ninth AF, 9 Apr
                   48, and DCG, TAC, to CG, Ninth AF, 7 May 48, TAC
                   210.3; both in Hist of Ninth AF, AFSHRC.]

Subsequent discussions at Air Force headquarters gave the Air Force
Chief of Staff, General Hoyt S. Vandenberg, three choices: leave
Lockbourne manned exclusively by black officers; assign a white wing
commander with a racially mixed staff; or permit Colonel Davis to
remain in command with a racially mixed staff. Believing that General
Vandenberg would approve the last course, the Tactical Air Command
proceeded to search for appropriate white officers to fill the key
positions under Davis.[11-48]

                   [Footnote 11-48: Memo, A-1, Ninth AF, for C/S, Ninth
                   AF, 18 May 48, sub: Manning of 332d Fighter Wing,
                   Hist of Ninth AF; Record of the TAC Staff Conf, 18
                   May 48; both in AFSHRC.]

The deputy commander of the Ninth Air Force, Brig. Gen. Jarred V.
Crabb, predicted that placing whites in key positions in the 332d
would cause trouble, but leaving Davis in command of a mixed staff
"would be loaded with dynamite."[11-49] The commander of the Ninth (p. 284)
Air Force called the proposal to integrate the 332d's staff contrary
to Air Force policy, which prescribed segregated units of not less
than company strength. General Old was forthright:

     [Integration] would be playing in the direction in which the
     negro press would like to force us. They are definitely
     attempting to force the Army and Air Force to solve the racial
     problem. As you know, they have been strongly advocating mixed
     companies of white and colored. For obvious reasons this is most
     undesirable and to do so would definitely limit the geographical
     locations in which such units could be employed. If the Air
     Forces go ahead and set a precedent, most undesirable
     repercussions may occur. Regardless of how the problem is solved,
     we would certainly come under strong criticism of the negro
     press. That must be expected.

     In view of the combat efficiency demonstrated by colored
     organizations during the last war, my first recommendation in the
     interest of national defense and saving the taxpayer's money is
     to let the organization die on the vine. We make a big subject of
     giving the taxpayers the maximum amount of protection for each
     dollar spent, then turn around and support an organization that
     would contribute little or nothing in an emergency. It is my own
     opinion that it is an unnecessary drain on our national
     resources, but for political reasons I presume the organization
     must be retained. Therefore, my next recommended solution is to
     transfer all of the colored personnel from the Wing Headquarters
     staff to the Tactical and Service Organizations within the Wing
     structure and replace it with a completely white staff.[11-50]

                   [Footnote 11-49: Ltr, Brig Gen J. V. Crabb to Maj Gen
                   Robert M. Lee, Hq TAC, 19 May 48, Hist of Ninth AF,

                   [Footnote 11-50: Ltr, CG, Ninth AF, to Maj Gen R. M.
                   Lee, TAC, 18 May 48, Hist of Ninth AF, AFSHRC.]

It is difficult to estimate the extent to which these views were
shared by other senior commanders, but they were widespread and
revealed the tenacious hold of segregation.[11-51]

                   [Footnote 11-51: For discussion of these views and
                   their influence on officers, see USAF Oral History
                   Program, Interviews with Brig Gen Noel Parrish, 30
                   Mar 73, Col Jack Marr, 1 Oct 73, and Eugene
                   Zuckert, Apr 73.]

The Ninth Air Force's deputy commander offered another solution: use
"whatever colored officers we have" to run Lockbourne. He urged that
Colonel Davis's absence at the Air War College be considered a
temporary arrangement. Meanwhile, the general added, "we can carry
Lockbourne along for that period of time by close supervision from
this headquarters."[11-52] As Davis later put it, cost effectiveness, not
prejudice, was the key factor in the Air Force's wish to get rid of
the 332d. The Air Force, he concluded, "wasn't getting its money's
worth from negro pilots in a black air force."[11-53]

                   [Footnote 11-52: Ltr, Brig Gen J. V. Crabb to Maj Gen
                   Robert M. Lee, Hq TAC, 19 May 48, Hist of Ninth AF,

                   [Footnote 11-53: Interv, author with Davis.]

The Tactical Air Command's use of black troops is always singled out
because of the numbers involved, but the problem was common to nearly
all commands. Most Negroes in the Strategic Air Command, for example,
were assigned to aviation engineer units where, as construction
workers, they built roads, runways, and housing for the command's
far-flung bases. These duties were transient, however, and like
migrant workers at home, black construction crews were shifted from
base to base as the need arose; they had little chance for promotion,
let alone the opportunity to develop other skills.[11-54]

                   [Footnote 11-54: See history of various aviation air
                   units in "History of the Strategic Air Command,
                   1948," vols VI and VIII, AFSHRC.]

The distribution of Negroes in all commands, and particularly the
shortage of black specialists and officers in the 332d Fighter Wing,
strongly influenced the Air Force to reexamine its racial policy,  (p. 285)
but pressures came from outside the department as well as from the
black community which began to press its demands on the new
service.[11-55] The prestigious Pittsburgh _Courier_ opened the
campaign in March 1948 by directing a series of questions on Air Force
policy to the Chief of Staff. General Carl Spaatz responded with a
smooth summary of the Gillem Board Report, leaning heavily on that
document's progressive aims. "It is the feeling of this Headquarters,"
the Chief of Staff wrote, "that the ultimate Air Force objective must
be to eliminate segregation among its personnel by the unrestricted
use of Negro personnel in free competition for any duty within the Air
Force for which they may qualify."[11-56] Unimpressed with this
familiar rhetoric, the _Courier_ headlined its account of the
exchange, "Air Force to Keep Segregated Policy."

                   [Footnote 11-55: For discussion of the strength of
                   this outside pressure, see USAF Oral History
                   Program. Interviews with Davis and Brig Gen Lucius
                   Theus, Jan 73.]

                   [Footnote 11-56: Ltr, Lemuel Graves to Gen Carl
                   Spaatz, 26 Mar 48; Ltr, Spaatz to Graves, 19 Apr
                   48. A copy of the correspondence was also sent to
                   the SecAF. See Col Jack F. Marr, "A Report on the
                   First Year of Implementation of Current Policies
                   Regarding Negro Personnel," n.d., PPB 291.2.]

[Illustration: COLONEL DAVIS.]

Assistant Secretary Eugene M. Zuckert followed General Spaatz's line
when he met with black leaders at the National Defense Conference on
Negro Affairs in April 1948, but his audience also showed little
interest in future intentions. Putting it bluntly, they wanted to know
why segregation was necessary in the Air Force. Zuckert could only
assure them that segregation was a "practical military expediency,"
not an "endorsement of belief in racial distribution."[11-57] But the
black leaders pressed the matter further. Why was it expedient in a
system dedicated to consideration of the individual, asked the
president of Howard University, to segregate a Negro of superior
mentality? At Yale or Harvard, Dr. Mordecai Johnson continued, he
would be kept on the team, but if he entered the Air Force he would be
"brigaded with all the people from Mississippi and Alabama who had had
education that costs $100 a year."[11-58]

                   [Footnote 11-57: Department of National Defense,
                   "National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs," 26
                   Apr 48 (morning session) p. 62. The conference,
                   convened by Secretary of Defense Forrestal,
                   provided an opportunity for a group of black
                   leaders to question major defense officials on the
                   department's racial policies. See ch. 13.]

                   [Footnote 11-58: Department of National Defense,
                   "National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs," 28
                   Apr 48, (morning session), p. 67.]

Answering for the Air Force, Lt. Gen. Idwal H. Edwards, the Deputy
Chief of Staff for Personnel, admitted segregation was unnecessary,
promised eventual integration, but stated firmly that for the present
segregation remained Air Force policy. As evidence of progress,    (p. 286)
Edwards pointed to the peaceful integration of black officers in
training at Randolph Field. For one conferee this "progress" led to
another conclusion: resistance to integration had to emanate from the
policymakers, not from the fighting men. All Edwards could manage in
the way of a reply was that Air Force policy was considered "the best
way to make this thing work under present conditions."[11-59] Later
Edwards, who was not insensitive to the arguments of the black
leaders, told Secretary of the Air Force W. Stuart Symington that
perhaps some recommendation "looking toward the integration of whites
and negroes in the same units may be forthcoming" from the Air Board's
study of racial policy which was to commence the first week in

                   [Footnote 11-59: Ibid., p. 69.]

                   [Footnote 11-60: Memo, Edwards for SecAF, 29 Apr 48,
                   sub: Conference With Group of Prominent Negroes,
                   Negro Affairs 1948, SecAF files.]

If the logic of the black leaders impressed General Edwards, the
demands themselves had little effect on policy. It remained for James
C. Evans, now the adviser to Secretary of Defense Forrestal, to
translate these questions and demands into recommendations for
specific action. Taking advantage of a long acquaintance with the
Secretary of the Air Force, Evans discussed the department's race
problem with him in May 1948. Symington was sympathetic. "Put it on
paper," he told Evans.[11-61]

                   [Footnote 11-61: Interv, author with Evans, 7 Apr 70;
                   Note, Evans to Col Marr, 8 Jun 50, SD 291.2.]

Couching his recommendations in terms of the Gillem Board policy,
Evans faithfully summarized for the secretary the demands of black
leaders. Specifically, he asked that Colonel Davis, the commander of
Lockbourne Air Force Base, be sent for advanced military schooling
without delay. Diversification of career was long overdue for Davis,
the ranking black officer in the Air Force, as it was for others who
were considered indispensable because of the small number of qualified
black leaders. For Davis, most of all, the situation was unfair since
he had always been in command of practically all rated black officers.
Nor was it good for his subordinates. The Air Force should not
hesitate to assign a white replacement for Davis. In effect, Evans was
telling Symington that the black community would understand the
necessity for such a move.

Besides, under the program Evans was recommending, the all-black wing
would soon cease to exist. He wanted the Air Force to "deemphasize"
Lockbourne as the black air base and scatter the black units
concentrated there. He wanted to see Negroes dispersed throughout the
Air Force, either individually or in small units contemplated by the
Gillem Board, but he wanted men assigned on the basis of technical
specialty and proficiency rather than race. It was unrealistic, he
declared, to assume all black officers could be most effectively
utilized as pilots and all enlisted men as Squadron F laborers.
Limiting training and job opportunity because of race reduced fighting
potential in a way that never could be justified. The Air Force should
open to its Negroes a wide variety of training, experience, and
opportunity to acquire versatility and proficiency.[11-62]

                   [Footnote 11-62: Memo, Evans for SecAF, 7 Jun 48, sub:
                   Negro Air Units, D54-1-12. SecDef files.]

If followed, this program would fundamentally alter Air Force      (p. 287)
racial practices. General Edwards recommended that the reply to Evans
should state that certain policy changes would be forthcoming,
although they would have to await the outcome of a departmental
reevaluation currently under way. The suggestions had been solicited
by Symington, and Edwards was anxious for Evans to understand the
delay was not a device to defer action.[11-63]

                   [Footnote 11-63: DCofS/P Summary Sheet for CofS, 15
                   Jul 48, sub: Negro Air Units, Negro Affairs 1948,
                   SecAF files.]

[Illustration: GENERAL EDWARDS.]

Edwards was in a position to make such assurances. He was an
influential member of the Air staff with considerable experience in
the field of race relations. As a member of the Army staff during
World War II he had worked closely with the old McCloy committee on
black troops and had strongly advocated wartime experiments with the
integration of small-scale units.[11-64] His background, along with his
observations as chief personnel officer in the new Air Force, had
taught him to avoid abstract appeals to justice and to make
suggestions in terms of military efficiency. Concern with efficiency
led him, soon after the Air Force became a separate service, to order
Lt. Col. Jack F. Marr, a member of his staff, to study the Air Force's
racial policy and practices. Testifying to Edwards's pragmatic
approach, Marr later said of his own introduction to the subject:
"There was no sociology involved. It was merely a routine staff action
along with a bunch of other staff actions that were taking place."[11-65]

                   [Footnote 11-64: During World War II, Edwards served
                   as the Army's Assistant Chief of Staff, G-3. For a
                   discussion of his opposition at that time to the
                   concentration of large groups of men in categories
                   IV and V, see Edwin W. Kenworthy, "The Case Against
                   Army Segregation," _The Annals of the American
                   Academy of Political and Social Science_ 275 (May
                   1951):29. See also Lee's _Employment of Negro
                   Troops_, p. 159. Edward's part in the integration
                   program is based on USAF Oral History Program,
                   Interviews with Zuckert, General William F. McKee,
                   Davis, Senator Stuart Symington, and Marr. See also
                   Interv, author with Lt Gen Idwal H. Edwards, Nov
                   73, CMH files.]

                   [Footnote 11-65: Ltr, Marr to author, 19 Jun 70, CMH

A similar concern for efficiency, this time triggered by criticism at
the National Defense Conference on Negro Affairs in April 1948 and
Evans's discussions with Secretary Symington the following month, led
Edwards, after talking it over with Assistant Secretary Zuckert, to
raise the subject of the employment of Negroes in the Air Board in
May.[11-66] In the wake of the Air Board discussion the Chief of Staff
appointed a group under Maj. Gen. Richard E. Nugent, then Director (p. 288)
of Civilian Personnel, to reexamine the service's race policy.[11-67]
Nugent was another Air Force official who viewed the employment of
Negroes as a problem in military efficiency.[11-68] These three,
Edwards, Nugent, and Marr, were the chief figures in the development
of the Air Force integration plan, which grew out of the Nugent
group's study. Edwards and Nugent supervised its many refinements in
the staff while Marr, whom Zuckert later described as the
indispensable man, wrote the plan and remained intimately connected
with it until the Air Force carried it out.[11-69] Antedating the
Truman order to integrate the services, the provisions of this plan
eventually became the program under which the Air Force was

                   [Footnote 11-66: A group created to review policy and
                   make recommendations to the Chief of Staff when
                   called upon, the Air Board consisted at this time
                   of the Assistant Chiefs of the Air Staff, the Air
                   Inspector, the Air Comptroller, the Director of
                   Information, the Deputy Assistant Chief of Staff
                   for Research and Development, and other officials
                   when appropriate.]

                   [Footnote 11-67: Memo, Maj Leon Bell for Zuckert, 27
                   Oct 48, SecAF files. Nugent later succeeded Edwards
                   as the chief Air Force personnel officer.]

                   [Footnote 11-68: This attitude is strongly displayed
                   in the USAF Oral History Program, Interviews with
                   Lt Gen Richard E. Nugent, 8 Jun 73, and Marr, 1 Oct

                   [Footnote 11-69: USAF Oral Hist Interv with Zuckert.]

                   [Footnote 11-70: Colonel Marr recalled a different
                   chronology for the Air Force integration plan.
                   According to Marr, his proposals were forwarded by
                   Edwards to Symington who in turn discussed them at
                   a meeting of the Secretary of Defense's Personnel
                   Policy Board sometime before June 1948. The board
                   rejected the plan at the behest of Secretary of the
                   Army Royall, but later in the year outside pressure
                   caused it to be reconsidered. Nothing is available
                   in the files to corroborate Marr's recollections,
                   nor do the other participants remember that Royall
                   was ever involved in the Air Force's internal
                   affairs. The records do not show when the Air Force
                   study of race policy, which originated in the Air
                   Board in May 1948, evolved into the plan for
                   integration that Marr wrote and the Chief of Staff
                   signed in December 1948, but it seems unlikely that
                   the plan would have been ready before June. See
                   Ltrs, Marr to author, 19 Jun 70, and 28 Jul 70, CMH
                   files; see also USAF Oral Hist Interv with Marr.]

[Illustration: COLONEL MARR.]

As it evolved during the months of deliberation,[11-71] the Air Force
study of black manpower weighed Air Force practices against the Gillem
Board Report and found them "considerably divergent" from the policy
as outlined. It isolated several reasons for this divergence. Black
airmen on the whole, as measured by classification tests, were
unsuitable and inadequate for operating all-black air units organized
and trained for modern combat. To achieve a balance of skills and
training in black units was a "never ending problem for which there
appears to be no solution under either the current Air Force policies
or the policies recommended by the Gillem Board." In short, practices
with respect to Negroes were "wasteful, deleterious to military
effectiveness and lacking in wartime application."

                   [Footnote 11-71: The Air Force integration plan
                   underwent considerable revision and modification
                   before its submission to the Secretary of Defense
                   in January 1949. The quotations in the next
                   paragraphs are taken from the version approved by
                   the Chief of Staff on 29 December 1948.]

Edwards and his staff saw several advantages in complete           (p. 289)
integration. Wherever qualified black airmen had been permitted to
compete with whites on their individual qualifications and abilities,
the Negroes "achieved a certain amount of acceptance and recognition."
Students in some schools lived and learned side by side as a matter of
practical necessity. "This degree of integration and acceptance on a
competitive basis has been eminently successful and has to a
remarkable degree solved the 'Negro problem' for the training schools
involved." At some bases qualified black airmen were administratively
assigned to black units but actually performed duties in white units.
Some commanders had requested that these men be permanently
transferred and assigned to the white units because the men deserved
higher grades but could not receive them in black units and because it
was poor management to have individuals performing duties for one
military organization and living under the administrative jurisdiction
of another.

In the end consideration of full integration was dropped in favor of a
program based on the Navy's postwar integration of its general
service. Edwards and his personnel staff dismissed the Navy's problems
with stewards and its difficulty in enlisting skilled Negroes as
temporary embarrassments with little practical consequence. This
problem apparently allowed an economic and efficient use of Negroes
and also "relieved the Navy of the necessity for repeated efforts to
justify an untenable position." They saw several practical advantages
in a similar policy for the Air Force. It would allow the elimination
of the 10 percent quota. The inactivation of some black units--"and
the pronounced relief of the problems involved in maintaining those
units under present conditions"--could be accomplished without
injustice to Negroes and with benefit to the Air Force. Nor would the
integration of qualified Negroes in technical and combat units
appreciably alter current practices; according to contemporary
estimates such skilled men would never total more that 1 percent of
the service's manpower.

The logic of social justice might have led to total integration, but
it would not have solved the Air Force's pressing problem of too many
unskilled blacks. It was consideration of military efficiency,
therefore, that led these personnel experts to propose a system of
limited integration along the lines of the Navy's postwar policy. Such
a system, they concluded, would release the Air Force from its quota
obligation--and hence its continuing surplus of unskilled men--and
free it to assign its relatively small group of skilled black recruits
where they were needed and might advance.

Although limited, the proposed reform was substantial enough to arouse
opposition. General Edwards reported overwhelming opposition to any
form of integration among Air Force officers, and never during the
spring of 1948 did the Chief of Staff seriously consider even partial
integration.[11-72] But if integration, even in a small dose, was
unpalatable, widespread inefficiency was intolerable. And a new    (p. 290)
service, still in the process of developing policy, might embrace
the new and the practical, especially if pressure were exerted from
above. Assistant Secretary Zuckert intimated as much when he finally
replied to James Evans, "You have my personal assurance that our
present position is not in the interest of maintaining the status quo,
but it is in anticipation of a more progressive and more satisfactory
action in the relatively near future."[11-73]

                   [Footnote 11-72: Memo, Edwards for SecAF, 29 Apr 48,
                   sub: Conference With Group of Prominent Negroes,
                   Negro Affairs 1948, SecAF files.]

                   [Footnote 11-73: Memo, Zuckert to Evans, 22 Jul 48,
                   sub: Negro Air Units, SecAF files.]

CHAPTER 12                                                         (p. 291)

The President Intervenes

On 26 July 1948 President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981,
calling on the armed forces to provide equal treatment and opportunity
for black servicemen. This act has variously been described as an
example of presidential initiative, the capstone of the Truman civil
rights program, and the climax of the struggle for racial equality in
the armed forces. But in some ways the order was simply a practical
response to a presidential dilemma.

The President's order was related to the advent of the cold war.
Developments in the Middle East and Europe testified to the ambitions
of the Soviet Union, and many Americans feared the spread of communism
throughout the world, a threat more ominous with the erosion of
American military strength since World War II. In March 1947 Truman
enunciated a new foreign policy calling for the containment of Soviet
expansion and pledging economic and military aid to Greece and Turkey.
A year later he asked Congress to adopt the Marshall Plan for economic
aid to Europe, authorize military training, and enact a new selective
service law to maintain the armed forces at expanded levels. That same
month his principal military advisers met at Key West, Florida, to
discuss new military roles and missions for the armed forces, grapple
with paralyzing divisions among the services, and re-form the military
establishment into a genuinely unified whole.[12-1] As if to underscore
the urgency of these measures, the Soviet Union began in April 1948 to
harass Allied troops in Berlin, an action that would develop into a
full-scale blockade by June.

                   [Footnote 12-1: On the development of cold war roles
                   and missions for the services, see Timothy W.
                   Stanley, _American Defense and National Security_
                   (Washington: Public Affairs Press, 1956), Chapter

Integration of the armed forces hardly loomed large on the
international scene, but if the problem of race appeared insignificant
to military planners, the sheer number of Negroes in the armed forces
gave them new prominence in national defense. Because of postwar
racial quotas, particularly in the Army and Air Force, black
servicemen now constituted a significant segment of the service
population, and consequently their abilities and well-being had a
direct bearing on the nation's cold war defenses. The black community
represented 10 percent of the country's manpower, and this also
influenced defense planning. Black threats to boycott the segregated
armed forces could not be ignored, and civil rights demands had to be
considered in developing laws relating to selective service and
universal training. Nor could the administration overlook the fact
that the United States had become a leading protagonist in a cold war
in which the sympathies of the undeveloped and mostly colored world
would soon assume a special importance. Inasmuch as integration of
the services had become an almost universal demand of the black    (p. 292)
community, integration became, willy-nilly, an important defense

A second stimulus to improvement of the black serviceman's position
was the Truman administration's strong civil rights program, which
gave executive sanction to a national movement started some years
before. The civil rights movement was the product of many factors,
including the federal government's increased sense of responsibility
for the welfare of all its citizens, a sense that had grown out of the
New Deal and a world war which expanded horizons and increased
economic power for much of the black population. The Supreme Court had
recently accelerated this movement by broadening its interpretation of
the Fourteenth Amendment. In the black community itself greater
participation in elections and new techniques in community action were
eroding discriminatory traditions and practices in many communities.

The civil rights movement had in fact progressed by 1948 to a stage at
which it was politically attractive for a Democratic president to
assume a vigorous civil rights stance. The urban black vote had become
a major goal of Truman's election campaign, and he was being pressed
repeatedly by his advisers to demonstrate his support for black
interests. A presidential order on armed forces integration logically
followed because the services, conspicuous practitioners of
segregation and patently susceptible to unilateral action on the part
of the Chief Executive, were obvious and necessary targets in the
black voters' campaign for civil rights.

Finally, the integration order resulted in part from the move toward
service unification and the emergence of James V. Forrestal as
Secretary of Defense. Despite misgivings over centralized control of
the nation's defense establishment and overconcentration of power in
the hands of a Secretary of Defense, Forrestal soon discovered that
certain problems rising out of common service experiences naturally
converged on the office of the secretary. Both by philosophy and
temperament he was disposed to avoid a clash with the services over
integration. He remained sensitive to their interests and rights, and
he frankly doubted the efficacy of social change through executive
fiat. Yet Forrestal was not impervious to the aspirations of the civil
rights activists; guided by a humane interest in racial equality, he
made integration a departmental goal. His technique for achieving
integration, however, proved inadequate in the face of strong service
opposition, and finally the President, acting on the basis of these
seemingly unrelated motives, had to issue the executive order to
strengthen the defense secretary's hand.

_The Truman Administration and Civil Rights_

Executive and legislative interest in the civil rights of black
Americans reached a level in 1948 unmatched since Reconstruction. The
President himself was the catalyst. By creating a presidential
committee on civil rights and developing a legislative program based
on its findings, Truman brought the black minority into the political
arena and committed the federal government to a program of social
legislation that it has continued to support ever since. Little in (p. 293)
the President's background suggested he would sponsor basic social
changes. He was a son of the middle border, from a family firmly
dedicated to the Confederate cause. His appreciation of black
aspirations was hardly sophisticated, as he revealed to a black
audience in 1940: "I wish to make it clear that I am not appealing for
social equality of the Negro. The Negro himself knows better than
that, and the highest types of Negro leaders say quite frankly they
prefer the society of their own people. Negroes want justice, not
social relations."[12-2]

                   [Footnote 12-2: Jonathan Daniels, _The Man of
                   Independence_ (Philadelphia: Lippincott, 1950), p.
                   338. The quotation is from a speech before the
                   National Colored Democratic Convention, Chicago,
                   reprinted in the _Congressional Record_, 76th
                   Cong., 3d sess., vol. 86, 5 Aug 1940, Appendix, pp.

Nor did his attitude change drastically in later years. In 1961, seven
years after the Supreme Court's vital school integration decision,
Truman was calling the Freedom Riders "meddlesome intruders who should
stay at home and attend to their own business." His suggestion to
proprietors of lunch counters undergoing sit-ins was to kick out
unwelcome customers.[12-3] But if he failed to appreciate the scope of
black demands, Truman nevertheless demonstrated as early as 1940 an
acute awareness of the connection between civil rights for blacks and
civil liberties for all Americans:

     In giving Negroes the rights which are theirs we are only acting
     in accord with our own ideals of a true democracy. If any class
     or race can be permanently set apart from, or pushed down below
     the rest in political and civil rights, so may any other class or
     race when it shall incur the displeasure of its more powerful
     associates, and we may say farewell to the principles on which we
     count our safety.[12-4]

                   [Footnote 12-3: Quoted in James Peck, _Freedom Ride_
                   (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1962), pp. 154-55.]

                   [Footnote 12-4: Quoted in Daniels, _Man of
                   Independence_, pp. 339-40.]

He would repeat these sentiments to other gatherings, including the
assembled delegates of the NAACP's 1946 convention.[12-5] The President's
civil rights program would be based, then, on a practical concern for
the rights of the majority. Neither his social philosophy nor his
political use of black demands should detract from his achievements in
the field of civil rights.

                   [Footnote 12-5: Msg, HST to NAACP Convention, 29 Jun
                   47, _Public Papers of the President, 1947_
                   (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1963), pp.

It was probably just as well that Truman adopted a pragmatic approach
to civil rights, for there was little social legislation a reform
president could hope to get through the postwar Congresses. Dominated
by a conservative coalition that included the Dixiecrats, a group of
sometimes racially reactionary southerners, Congress showed little
interest in civil rights. The creation of a permanent Fair Employment
Practices Commission, the one piece of legislation directly affecting
Negroes and the only current test of congressional intent in civil
rights, was floundering on Capitol Hill. Truman conspicuously
supported the fair employment measure, but did little else
specifically in the first year after the war to advance civil rights.
Instead he seemed content to carry on with the New Deal approach to
the problem: improve the social condition of all Americans and the
condition of the minorities will also improve. In this vein his first
domestic program concentrated on national projects for housing,
health, and veterans' benefits.

The conversion of Harry Truman into a forceful civil rights        (p. 294)
advocate seems to have come about, at least partially, from his
exposure to what he later called the "anti-minority" incidents visited
on black servicemen and civilians in 1946.[12-6] Although the lynchings,
property destruction, and assaults never matched the racial violence
that followed World War I, they were enough to convince many civil
rights leaders that the pattern of racial strife was being repeated.
Some of these men, along with a group of labor executives and
clergymen, formed a National Emergency Committee Against Mob Violence
to warn the American public against the dangers of racial intolerance.
A delegation from this committee, with Walter White as spokesman, met
with the President on 19 September 1946 to demand government action.
White described the scene:

     The President sat quietly, elbows resting on the arms of his
     chair and his fingers interlocked against his stomach as he
     listened with a grim face to the story of the lynchings.... When
     I finished, the President exclaimed in his flat, midwestern
     accent, "My God! I had no idea it was as terrible as that! We've
     got to do something!"[12-7]

                   [Footnote 12-6: Harry S. Truman, _Memoirs_ (New York:
                   Doubleday, 1958), II:180-81; White, _A Man Called
                   White_, pp. 330-31. Truman's concept of civil
                   rights is analyzed in considerable detail in Donald
                   R. McCoy and Richard T. Ruetten, _Quest and
                   Response: Minority Rights and the Truman
                   Administration_ (Lawrence, Kansas: University of
                   Kansas Press, 1973), Chapter III.]

                   [Footnote 12-7: White, _A Man Called White_, pp.

But the Truman administration had nearly exhausted the usual remedies
open to it. The Attorney General had investigated the lynchings and
Klan activities and the President had spoken out strongly and
repeatedly against mob violence but without clear and pertinent civil
rights legislation presidential exhortations and investigations
counted for very little. Civil rights leaders like White understood
this, and, given the mood of Congress, they were resigned to the lack
of legislative support. Nevertheless, it was in this context that the
President decided to create a committee to investigate and report on
the status of civil rights in America.

The concept of a federal civil rights group had been circulating in
the executive branch for some time. After the Detroit race riot in
1943, presidential assistant Jonathan Daniels had organized a
committee to deal with racial troubles. Proposals to create a national
organization to reduce racial tensions were advanced later in the war,
principally by Saul K. Padover, a minority specialist in the Interior
Department, and David K. Niles of the White House staff. Little came
of the committee idea, however, because Roosevelt was convinced that
any steps associated with integration would prove divisive and were
unwise during wartime.[12-8] With the war over and a different political
climate prevailing, Niles, now senior White House adviser on minority
affairs, proposed the formation of a committee not only to investigate
racial violence but also to explore the entire subject of civil

                   [Footnote 12-8: Intervs, Nichols with Oscar Ewing,
                   former federal security administrator and senior
                   presidential adviser, and Jonathan Daniels, 1954,
                   in Nichols Collection, CMH; see also McCoy and
                   Ruetten, _Quest and Response_, p. 49.]

Walter White and his friends greeted the idea with some skepticism.
They had come demanding action, but were met instead with another
promise of a committee and the probability of interminable         (p. 295)
congressional debate and unproductive hearings.[12-9] But this time,
for several reasons, it would be different. In the first place the
civil rights leaders underestimated the sincerity of Truman's reaction
to the racial violence. He had quickly agreed to create Niles's
committee by executive order to save it from possible pigeonholing at
the hands of a hostile Congress. He had also given the group, called
the President's Committee on Civil Rights, a broad directive "to
determine whether and in what respect current law enforcement measures
and the authority and means possessed by Federal, State, and local
governments may be strengthened and improved to safeguard the civil
rights of the people."[12-10] The civil rights leaders also failed to
gauge the effect Republican victories in the 1946 congressional
elections would have on the administration. Finding it necessary to
court the Negro and other minorities and hoping to confound
congressional opposition, the administration sought a strong civil
rights program to put before the Eightieth Congress. Thus, the
committee's recommendations would get respectful attention in the
White House. Finally, neither the civil rights leaders nor the
President could have foreseen the effectiveness of the committee
members. Serving under Charles E. Wilson, president of the General
Electric Company, the group included among its fifteen members
distinguished church leaders, public service lawyers, the presidents
of Dartmouth College and the University of North Carolina, and
prominent labor executives. The committee had two black members, Sadie
T. M. Alexander, a lawyer from Philadelphia, and Channing H. Tobias,
director of the Phelps-Stokes Fund. Its members not only prepared a
comprehensive survey of the condition of civil rights in America but
also presented to the President on 29 October 1947 a far-reaching
series of recommendations, in effect a program for corrective action
that would serve as a bench mark for civil rights progress for many

                   [Footnote 12-9: White, _A Man Called White_, pp.

                   [Footnote 12-10: Executive Order 9808, 5 Dec 46.]

                   [Footnote 12-11: In addition to Chairman Wilson, the
                   following people served on the committee: Sadie T.
                   M. Alexander, James B. Carey, John S. Dickey,
                   Morris L. Ernst, Roland B. Gittelsohn, Frank P.
                   Graham, Francis J. Haas, Charles Luckman, Francis
                   P. Matthews, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Jr., Henry Knox
                   Sherrill, Boris Shishkin, Dorothy Tilly, and
                   Channing Tobias.]

[Illustration: WALTER WHITE.]

The group recommended the concentration of civil rights work in the
Department of Justice, the establishment of a permanent civil rights
commission, a federal antilynching act, a permanent Fair Employment
Practices Commission, and legislation to correct discrimination in
voting and naturalization laws. It also examined the state of      (p. 296)
civil rights in the armed forces and incidentally publicized the
long-ignored survey of black infantry platoons that had fought in
Europe in 1945.[12-12] It concluded:

     The injustice of calling men to fight for freedom while
     subjecting them to humiliating discrimination within the fighting
     forces is at once apparent. Furthermore, by preventing entire
     groups from making their maximum contribution to the national
     defense, we weaken our defense to that extent and impose heavier
     burdens on the remainder of the population.[12-13]

                   [Footnote 12-12: Parts of the survey of attitudes of
                   participants in the World War II integration of
                   platoons were included in remarks by Congresswoman
                   Helen G. Douglas, published in the _Congressional
                   Record_, 79th Cong., 2d sess., 1 Feb 1946,
                   Appendix, pp. 432-443.]

                   [Footnote 12-13: _To Secure These Rights_, p. 162.]

The committee called for sweeping change in the armed forces,
recommending that Congress enact legislation, followed by appropriate
administrative action, to end all discrimination and segregation in
the services. Concluding that the recent service unification provided
a timely opportunity for revision of existing policies and practices,
the committee proposed a specific ban on discrimination and
segregation in all phases of recruitment, assignment, and training,
including selection for service schools and academies, as well as in
mess halls, quarters, recreational facilities, and post exchanges. It
also wanted commissions and promotions awarded on merit alone and
asked for new laws to protect servicemen from discrimination in
communities adjacent to military bases.[12-14] The committee wanted the
President to look beyond the integration of people working and living
on military bases, and it introduced a concept that would gain
considerable support in a future administration. The armed forces, it
declared, _should_ be used as an instrument of social change. World
War II had demonstrated that the services were a laboratory in which
citizens could be educated on a broad range of social and political
issues, and the administration was neglecting an effective technique
for teaching the public the advantages of providing equal treatment
and opportunity for all citizens.[12-15]

                   [Footnote 12-14: Ibid., pp. 162-63.]

                   [Footnote 12-15: Ibid., p. 47.]

President Truman deleted the recommendations on civil rights in the
services when he transmitted the committee's recommendations to
Congress in the form of a special message on 2 February 1948. Arguing
that the services' race practices were matters of executive interest
and pointing to recent progress toward better race relations in the
armed forces, the President told Congress that he had already
instructed the Secretary of Defense to take steps to eliminate
remaining instances of discrimination in the services as rapidly as
possible. He also promised that the personnel policies and practices
of all the services would be made uniform.[12-16]

                   [Footnote 12-16: Truman, Special Message to the
                   Congress on Civil Rights, 2 Feb 48, _Public Papers
                   of the President, 1948_, pp. 121-26.]

To press for civil rights legislation for the armed forces or even to
mention segregation was politically imprudent. Truman had two pieces
of military legislation to get through Congress: a new draft law and a
provision for universal military training. These he considered     (p. 297)
too vital to the nation's defense to risk grounding on the shoals of
racial controversy. For the time being at least, integration of the
armed forces would have to be played down, and any civil rights
progress in the Department of Defense would have to depend on the
persuasiveness of James Forrestal.

[Illustration: TRUMAN'S CIVIL RIGHTS CAMPAIGN _as seen by Washington
Star cartoonist Clifford K. Berryman, March 14, 1948_.]

_Civil Rights and the Department of Defense_

The basic postwar reorganization of the National Military
Establishment, the National Security Act of 1947, created the Office
of the Secretary of Defense, a separate Department of the Air Force,
the Central Intelligence Agency, and the National Security Council. It
also reconstituted the War Department as the Department of the Army
and gave legal recognition as a permanent agency to the Joint Chiefs
of Staff. The principle of military unification that underlay the
reorganization plan was muted in the legislation that finally emerged
from Congress. Although the Secretary of Defense was given authority
to establish general policies and to exercise general direction    (p. 298)
and control of the services, the services themselves retained a large
measure of autonomy in their internal administration and individual
service secretaries retained cabinet rank. In effect, the act created
a secretary without a department, a reorganization that largely
reflected the viewpoint of the Navy. The Army had fought for a much
greater degree of unification, which would not be achieved until the
passage of the National Security Act amendments of 1949. This
legislation redesignated the unified department the Department of
Defense, strengthened the powers of the Secretary of Defense, and
provided for uniform budgetary procedures. Although the services were
to be "separately administered," their respective secretaries
henceforward headed "military departments" without cabinet status.

The first Secretary of Defense, James Forrestal, was a man of
exceptional administrative talents, yet even before taking office he
expressed strong reservations on the wisdom of a unified military
department. As early as 30 July 1945, at breakfast with President
Truman during the Potsdam Conference, Forrestal questioned whether any
one man "was good enough to run the combined Army, Navy, and Air
Departments." What kind of men could the president get in peacetime,
he asked, to be under secretaries of War, Navy, and Air if they were
subordinate to a single defense secretary?[12-17] Speaking to Lester
Granger that same year on the power of the Secretary of the Navy to
order the Marine Corps to accept Negroes, Forrestal expressed
uncertainty about a cabinet officer's place in the scheme of things.
"Some people think the Secretary is god-almighty, but he's just a
god-damn civilian."[12-18] Even after his appointment as defense
secretary doubts lingered: "My chief misgivings about unification
derived from my fear that there would be a tendency toward
overconcentration and reliance on one man or one-group direction. In
other words, too much central control."[12-19]

                   [Footnote 12-17: Quoted in Walter Millis, ed., _The
                   Forrestal Diaries_ (New York: Viking Press, 1951),
                   p. 88.]

                   [Footnote 12-18: Quoted by Granger in the interview he
                   gave Nichols in 1954.]

                   [Footnote 12-19: Quoted in Millis, _Forrestal
                   Diaries_, p. 301.]

Forrestal's philosophy of management reinforced the limitations placed
on the Secretary of Defense by the National Security Act. He sought a
middle way in which the efficiency of a unified system could be
obtained without sacrificing what he considered to be the real
advantages of service autonomy. Thus, he supported a 1945 report of
the defense study group under Ferdinand Eberstadt that argued for a
"coordinated" rather than a "unitary" defense establishment.[12-20]
Practical experience modified his fears somewhat, and by October 1948,
convinced he needed greater power to control the defense
establishment, Forrestal urged that the language of the National
Security Act, which limited the Secretary of Defense to "general"
authority only over the military departments, be amended to eliminate
the word _general_. Yet he always retained his basic distrust of   (p. 299)
dictation, preferring to understand and adjust rather than to conclude
and order.[12-21]

                   [Footnote 12-20: Ibid., pp. 117, 147. Timothy Stanley
                   describes the Eberstadt report as the Navy's
                   "constructive alternative" to unification. See
                   Stanley's _American Defense and National Security_,
                   p. 75; see also Hewes, _From Root to McNamara_, pp.
                   276-77. For a detailed analysis of defense
                   unification, see Lawrence Legere, Jr., "Unification
                   of the Armed Forces," Chapter VI, in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 12-21: Millis, _Forrestal Diaries_, pp. 301,

Nowhere was Forrestal's philosophy of government more evident than in
his approach to the problem of integration. His office would be
concerned with equal opportunity, he promised Walter White soon after
his elevation to the new post, but "the job of Secretary of Defense,"
he warned, "is one which will have to develop in an evolutionary
rather than a revolutionary manner." Further dashing hopes of sudden
reform, Forrestal added that specific racial problems, as distinct
from general policy matters, would remain the province of the
individual services.[12-22] He retained this attitude throughout his
tenure. He considered the President's instructions to end remaining
instances of discrimination in the services "in accord with my own
conception of my responsibilities under unification," and he was in
wholehearted agreement with a presidential wish that the National
Military Establishment work out the answer to its racial problems
through administrative action. He wanted to see a "more nearly uniform
approach to interracial problems by the three Services," but
experience had demonstrated, he believed, that racial problems could
not be solved simply by publishing an executive order or passing a
law. Racial progress would come from education. Such had been his
observation in the wartime Navy, and he was ready to promise that
"even greater progress will be made in the future." But, he added,
"progress must be made administratively and should not be put into
effect by fiat."[12-23]

                   [Footnote 12-22: Ltr, Forrestal to White, 21 Oct 47,
                   Day file, Forrestal Papers, Princeton University

                   [Footnote 12-23: Remarks by James Forrestal at Dinner
                   Meeting of the National Urban League, 12 Feb 48,
                   copy in Misc file, Forrestal Papers; see also Ltr,
                   Forrestal to John N. Brown, 27 Oct 47, Day file,

Executive fiat was just what some of Forrestal's advisers wanted. For
example, his executive assistant, John H. Ohly, his civilian aide,
James C. Evans,[12-24] and Truman Gibson urged the secretary to consider
establishing an interservice committee along the lines of the old
McCloy committee to prepare a uniform racial policy that he could
apply to all the services. They wanted the committee to examine past
and current practices as well as the recent reports of the President's
Advisory Commission on Universal Training and the Committee on Civil
Rights and to make specific recommendations for carrying out and
policing department policy. Truman Gibson went to the heart of the
matter: the formulation of such an interservice committee would signal
to the black community better than anything else the defense
establishment's determination to change the racial situation. More and
more, he warned, the discrepancies among the services' racial
practices were attracting public attention. Most important to the
administration was the fact that these discrepancies were
strengthening opposition to universal military training and the

                   [Footnote 12-24: In addition to his duties as Civilian
                   Aide to the Secretary of the Army, Evans was made
                   aide to the Secretary of Defense on 29 October
                   1947. (See Memo, SecDef for SA et al., 29 Oct 47,
                   D70-1-5, files of Historian, OSD.) Evans was
                   subsequently appointed "civilian assistant" to the
                   Secretary of Defense by Secretary Louis Johnson on
                   28 Apr 49. (See NME Press Release, 17-49-A.)]

                   [Footnote 12-25: Ltr, Gibson to Ohly, 25 Nov 47,
                   D54-1-3, Sec Def files.]

[Illustration: A. PHILIP RANDOLPH. (_Detail from
painting by Betsy G. Reyneau._)]

Gibson was no doubt referring to A. Philip Randolph, president     (p. 300)
of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters and organizer of the 1940
March on Washington Movement, who had spoken out against the pending
legislation. Randolph was particularly concerned that the bill did not
prohibit segregation, and he quoted a member of the Advisory
Commission on Universal Training who admitted that the bill ignored
the racial issue because "the South might oppose UMT if Negroes were
included." Drafting eighteen-year olds into a segregated Army was a
threat to black progress, Randolph charged, because enforced segregation
made it difficult to break down other forms of discrimination.
Convinced that the Pentagon was trying to bypass the segregation
issue, Randolph and Grant Reynolds, a black clergyman and New York
politician, formed a Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service
and Training. They planned to submit a proposal to the President and
Congress for drafting a nondiscrimination measure for the armed
forces, and they were prepared to back up this demand with a march on
Washington--no empty gesture in an election year. Randolph had
impressive backing from black leaders, among them Dr. Channing H.
Tobias of the Civil Rights Committee, George S. Schuyler, columnist of
the Pittsburgh _Courier_, L. D. Reddick, curator of the Schomburg
Collection of the New York Public Library, and Joe Louis.[12-26]

                   [Footnote 12-26: New York Times, November 23, 1947;
                   _Herald Tribune_, November 23, 1947. See also L. D.
                   Reddick, "The Negro Policy of the American Army
                   Since World War II," _Journal of Negro History_ 38
                   (April 1953):194-215.]

Black spokesmen were particularly incensed by the attitude of the
Secretary of the Army and his staff. Walter White pointed out that
these officials continued to justify segregated units on the grounds
that segregation was--he quoted them--"in the interest of national
defense." White went to special pains to refute the Army's contention
that segregation was necessary because the Army had to conform to
local laws and customs. "How," he asked Secretary Forrestal,

     can the imposition of segregation upon northern states having
     clear-cut laws and policies in opposition to such practices be
     justified by the Army?...

     In view of President Truman's recent report to the Congress and
     in view of the report of his Committee on Civil Rights condemning
     segregation in the Armed Forces, I am at a loss to understand the
     reluctance on the part of the Department of Defense to
     immediately eliminate all vestiges of discrimination and      (p. 301)
     segregation in the Armed Forces of this country. As the
     foremost defender of democratic principles in international
     councils, the United States can ill afford to any longer
     discriminate against its Negro citizens in its Armed Forces
     solely because they were fortunate or unfortunate enough to be
     born Negroes.[12-27]

                   [Footnote 12-27: Ltr, White to Forrestal, 17 Feb 48,
                   D54-1-3, SecDef files.]

Forrestal stubbornly resisted the pleas of his advisers and black
leaders that he assume a more active role. In the first place he had
real doubts concerning his authority to do so. Forrestal was also
aware of the consequences an integration campaign would have on
Capitol Hill, where he was in the midst of delicate negotiations on
defense measures. But most of all the role of crusader did not fit
him. "I have gone somewhat slowly," Forrestal had written in late
October 1947, "because I believe in the theory of having things to
talk about as having been done rather than having to predict them, and
... morale and confidence are easy to destroy but not easy to rebuild.
In other words, I want to be sure that any changes we make are changes
that accomplish something and not merely for the sake of change."[12-28]

                   [Footnote 12-28: Ltr, Forrestal to Rear Adm W. B.
                   Young, 23 Oct 47, quoted in Millis, _Forrestal
                   Diaries_, p. 334.]

To Forrestal equal opportunity was not a pious platitude, but a
practical means of solving the military's racial problems. Equal
opportunity was the tactic he had used in the Navy where he had
encouraged specialized training for all qualified Negroes. He
understood that on shipboard machinists ate and bunked with
machinists, firemen with firemen. Inaugurated in the fleet, the
practice naturally spread to the shore establishment, and equal
opportunity led inevitably to the integration of the general service.
Given the opportunity to qualify for all specialties, Negroes--albeit
their number was limited to the small group in the general
service--quickly gained equal treatment in off-the-job activities.
Forrestal intended to apply the same tactic to achieve the same
results in the other services.[12-29]

                   [Footnote 12-29: Interv, Blumenson with Marx Leva,
                   Special Assistant to the Secretary of Defense
                   (1947-49) and later Assistant Secretary of Defense
                   (Legal and Legislative Affairs), 4 May 64, CMH

As in the past, he turned first to Lester Granger, his old friend from
the National Urban League. Acting on the recommendation of his special
assistant, Marx Leva, Forrestal invited Granger to the Pentagon to
discuss the department's racial problems with a view to holding a
general conference and symposium on the subject. As usual, Granger was
full of ideas, and he and the secretary agreed that Forrestal should
create a "critics group," which would discuss "Army and general
defense policies in the use of Negro personnel."[12-30] Granger suggested
a roster of black and white experts, influential in the black
community and representing most shades of opinion, but he would
exclude those apt to make political capital out of the issues.

                   [Footnote 12-30: Handwritten Memo, Leva for Forrestal,
                   attached to Ltr, White to Forrestal, 17 Feb 48;
                   Ltr, Leva to Granger, 19 Feb 48; Ltr, Granger to
                   Forrestal, 2 Mar 48. All in D54-1-3, SecDef files.
                   The quotation is from the 2 March letter.]

The Leva-Granger conference idea fitted neatly into Forrestal's
thinking. It offered the possibility of introducing to the services in
a systematic and documented way the complaints of responsible black
leaders while instructing those leaders in the manpower problems
confronting the postwar armed forces. He hoped the conference      (p. 302)
would modify traditionalist attitudes toward integration while curbing
mounting unrest in the black community. Granger and Forrestal agreed
that the conference should be held soon. Although Granger wanted some
"good solid white representation" in the group, Forrestal decided
instead to invite fifteen black leaders to meet on 26 April in the
Pentagon; he alerted the service secretaries, asking them to attend or
to designate an assistant to represent them in each case.[12-31]

                   [Footnote 12-31: Memo, Marx Leva for SA et al., 13 Apr
                   48; idem for Forrestal, 24 Apr 48; ltr, SecDef to
                   All Invited, 10 Apr 48. All in D54-1-3, SecDef
                   files. Those invited were Truman Gibson; Dr.
                   Channing Tobias; Dr. Sadie T. M. Alexander; Mary
                   McLeod Bethune; Dr. John W. Davis of West Virginia
                   State College; Dr. Benjamin E. Mays of Morehouse
                   College; Dr. Mordecai Johnson of Howard University;
                   P. B. Young, Jr., of the Norfolk _Journal and
                   Guide_; Willard Townsend of the United Transport
                   Service Employees; Rev. John H. Johnson of New
                   York; Walter White; Hobson E. Reynolds of the
                   International Order of Elks; Bishop J. W. Gregg of
                   Kansas City; Loren Miller of Los Angeles; and
                   Charles Houston of Washington, D.C. Unable to
                   attend, White sent his assistant Roy Wilkins,
                   Townsend sent George L. P. Weaver, and Mrs. Bethune
                   was replaced by Ira F. Lewis of the Pittsburgh

Announcement of the conference was upstaged in the press by the
activities of some civil rights militants, including those whom
Granger sought to exclude from the Forrestal conference because he
thought they would make a political issue of the war against
segregation. Forrestal first learned of the militants' plans from
members of the National Negro Publishers Association, a group of
publishers and editors of important black journals who were about to
tour European installations as guests of the Army.[12-32] At Granger's
suggestion Forrestal had met with the publishers and editors to
explain the causes for the delay in desegregating the services.
Instead, he found himself listening to an impassioned demand for
immediate change. Ira F. Lewis, president of the Pittsburgh _Courier_
and spokesman for the group, told the secretary that the black
community did not expect the services to be a laboratory or
clearinghouse for processing the social ills of the nation, but it
wanted to warn the man responsible for military preparedness that the
United States could not afford another war with one-tenth of its
population lacking the spirit to fight. The problem of segregation
could best be solved by the policymakers. "The colored people of the
country have a high regard for you, Mr. Secretary, as a square
shooter," Lewis concluded. And from Forrestal they expected

                   [Footnote 12-32: Representing eight papers, a cross
                   section of the influential black press, the
                   journalists included Ira F. Lewis and William G.
                   Nunn, Pittsburgh _Courier_; Cliff W. Mackay,
                   _Afro-American_; Louis Martin and Charles Browning,
                   Chicago _Defender_; Thomas W. Young and Louis R.
                   Lautier, Norfolk _Journal and Guide_; Carter
                   Wesley, Houston _Defender_; Frank L. Stanley,
                   Louisville _Defender_; Dowdal H. Davis, Kansas City
                   _Call_; Dan Burley, _Amsterdam News_. See Evans,
                   list of Publishers and Editors of Negro Newspapers,
                   Pentagon, 18 Mar 48, copy in CMH.]

                   [Footnote 12-33: Sentiments of the meeting were
                   summarized in Ltr, Ira F. Lewis to Forrestal, 24
                   Mar 48; see also Ltr, Granger to Forrestal, 2 Mar
                   48; both in D54-1-4, SecDef files.]

While black newspapermen were pressing the executive branch, Randolph
and his Committee Against Jim Crow were demanding congressional
action. Randolph concentrated on one explosive issue, the Army's
procurement of troops. The first War Department plans for postwar
manpower procurement were predicated on some form of universal
military training, a new concept for the United States. The plans
immediately came under fire from Negroes because the