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On June 1942, William Baldwin became the first African American recruited for General Service in the U.S. Navy.  Established in July, women began to serve as Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES), following an absence of service since World War I.   Women served during that war in the rating Yeoman (F).   In February 1944, the Navy commissioned the first male African American officers, known as the Golden Thirteen (twelve commissioned officers and a warrant officer).  That December, the first African American women were commissioned as officers.  

Other resources:

Downloadable African American Pamphlet

NHHC African American Experience

Women in the Navy

80-G-300215:   First African American U.S. Navy Officers.  Photographed in February 1944, soon after attaining the rank in the Naval Reserve.  Official U.S. Navy photograph, now in the collections of the National Archives.