NHHC home Frequently Asked Questions

Navy Department Press Release: Navy to Accept Negroes for General Service

For release following Secretary of the Navy's press conference, Tuesday, April 7, 1942

The Navy Department today announced that Negro volunteers will be accepted for enlistment for general service in the reserve components of the U.S. Navy, the U.S. Marine Corps, and the U.S. Coast Guard.

All ratings in those three branches of the Naval Service will be opened to them, and recruiting is to be begun as soon as a suitable training station is established. A public announcement will be made when actual recruiting gets under way.

In making this announcement officials stated that the same physical and mental entrance standards required of all Navy personnel is to be required of Negroes.

It was added when Negro sailors are to be utilized for duty in District craft of various kind, in maritime activities around shore establishments, in Navy Yards, and in the Navy's new construction crews and companies which will be employed in developing bases outside the United States' continental limits.

Recruiting of Negroes for service in the Messman Branch is to continue without change or interruption.

Source: Document reproduced in MacGregor, Morris J. and Bernard C. Nalty. Blacks in the United States Armed Forces: Basic Documents. vol.6. Wilmington DE: Scholarly Resources, 1977, p.103.