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.
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 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.2
Yet the fact that the British themselves were taking large numbers 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 bridges.
Again, General Jackson's need for manpower at New Orleans explains the presence of the Louisiana Free then 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 foiled 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 149 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 Infantry.
Military needs and idealistic impulses were not enough to guarantee uninterrupted racial progress; in fact, the status of black servicemen tended to reflect the charging 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.3 But the employment of Negroes in the Navy was abruptly curtailed after 1900. Paralleling the rise of Jim Crow and legalized segregation 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.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.
CREWMEN OF THE USS MIAMI DURING THE CIVIL WAR [Picture not included.]
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.5 Curiously enough, because black 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.
BUFFALO SOLDIERS. (Frederick Remington 's 1888 sketch. ) [Photograph not included.]
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.6 So important to many in the black community was this guaranteed existence of the four regiments that had sewed with distinction against the frontier Indians that few complained about segregation. In fact, as historian Jack Poner has pointed out, black leaders sometimes interpreted demands for integration as attempts to eliminate black soldiers altogether. 7
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 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.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 allegedly fired on Texan civilians, and the August 1917 riot involving members of the 24th Infantry at Houston, Texas.9 Ironically, those idealistic impulses that had operated in earlier wars were operating again in this most Jim Crow of administrations.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. 11
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. 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. 13
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. 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.
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.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.
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 traditions of white supremacy to create problems for himself." 16 Negroes, in short, might benefit materially from the New Deal, but they would have to look elsewhere for advancement of their civil rights.
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."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. "18
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.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.
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.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 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.21
INTEGRATION IN THE ARMY OF 1888. The Army Band at Fort Duchesne,
composed of soldiers from the black 9th Cavalry and the white 2lst Infantry. [Photograph not included.]
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.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.23 These witnesses concluded that if the draft law did not provide specific guarantees against it, discrimination would prevail.
GUNNER'S GANG ON THE USS MAINE [Photograph not included.]
A majority in both houses of Congress seemed to agree. During 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.24
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 service.25
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 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. "26
GENERAL PERSHING, AEF COMMANDER. INSPECTS TROOPS of the 802d (Colored) Pioneer Regiment in France, 1918. [Photograph not included.]
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 conscripts was to be a principal factor in the separate decisions of the Army, Navy, and Marine Corps to integrate their units.
HEROES OF THE 369TH INFANTRY. Winners of the Croix de Guerre arrive in New York Harbor, February 1919. [Photograph not included.]
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 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 years.
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 service.27
Yet the idea of integration was already strongly implied in Houston's 1934 call for "a more united nation of free citizens,"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.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.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.31
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 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."32
When his associates failed to agree on a reply to the administration, White decided on a face-to-face meeting with the President.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 segregation. "34
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.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.36
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, specifically demanded the end of segregation in the Army and Navy. The movement was the first since the days of Marcus Ganey 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.37
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.38
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.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.
2Benjamin 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 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).
3Estimates vary; exact racial statistics concerning the nineteenth century Navy are difficult to locate. See Enlistment of then 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 1I 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 the 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).
4Ltr, Rear Adm C. W. Nimitz, Actg Chief, Bureau of Navigation, to Rep. Hamilton Fish, 17 Jun 37, A9-l0, General Records of the Department of the Navy (hereafter GenRecsNav).
5Memo, 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).
6163 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.
7Foner, Blacks and the Military in American History, p. 66.
8UIysses Lee, The Employment of Negro Troops United States Army in World War 11 (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.
9For 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).
10On 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 1969):61-79.
11Special Report of the Provost Marshal General on Operations of the Selective Service System to December 1918 (Washington: Government Printing Office, 1919), p. 193.
12The development of post-World War I policy is discussed in considerable detail in Lee, Employment of Negro Troops Chapters I and 11. 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).
13The 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 control.
14This 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 Hoots, 1939-1953 (Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 1969).
15The 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 Woodard's The Strange Career of Jim Crow, 3d ed. rev. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1974).
16Frank 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.
17Pittsburgh Courier, December 21, 1940.
18The Crisis 47 (July 1940) :209.
19Myrdal, American Dilemma, p. 744.
20Lee Finkle, "The Conservative Aims of Militant Rhetoric: Black Protest During World War II," Journal of American History 60 (December 1973):693.
21Some 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).
22The Army's plans and amendments are treated in great detail in Lee, Employment of Negro Troops.
23Hearings Before the Committee on Military Affairs, House of Representatives, 76th Cong., 3d sees., on H.R. 10132, Selective Compulsory Military Training and Service, pp. 585-90.
24Congressional Record, 76th Cong., 3d sees., vol. 86, p. 108g O. 2554 U.S. Stat. 885 (1940).
2554 U.S. Stat. 885 (1940)
26Ibid. 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.
27See 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.
28Ibid. Ltr, Houston to CofS, 1 Aug 34.
29The Crisis 46 (1939):49, 241, 337.
30Ltr, Presley Holliday to White, 11 Sep 39; Ltr, White to Holliday, 15 Sep 39. Both in C-376, NAACP
31Ltr, White to Roosevelt, 15 Sep 39, in C-376, NAACP Collection, LC. This letter was later released to the press.
32Memo, Marshall for White, 28 Oct 39; Ltr, Secy to the President to White, 17 Oct 39. Both in C-376, NAACP Collection, LC.
33Memo, 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.
34Walter White, "Conference at White House, Friday, September 27, 11 :3S 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.
35Ltr, 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.
36White, A Man Called White, pp. 187-88.
37Roy 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 Isadore Starr, eds., The Negro in Twentieth Century America (New York: Random House, 1967)
38White, A Man Called White, pp. 190-93.
39Herbert 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.