Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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Recruiting Posters for African Americans in the Navy

Except for a brief period in World War II, the Navy did not actively recruit African Americans.  There were periods when African Americans were completely barred from service all together.  One of the first modern campaigns targeting blacks was World War II with Joe Louis, though he joined the Army, he also worked to recruit for all services.  Active recruitment dropped off again after the war and this was the state until the end of the Vietnam War and the draft. Because the Navy was a better alternative than the land battles of Vietnam, men would join willingly. With the ending of the draft, the Navy saw a drop in personal and started to actively pursue all minorities - this is a trend that continues today.