Skip to main content
Related Content

When the United States entered World War II in December 1941, the Navy's African-American sailors had been limited to serving as Mess Attendants for nearly two decades. However, the pressures of wartime on manpower resources, the good examples of heros like Doris Miller, the willingness of thousands of patriotic men to participate in the war effort plus well-focused political activities gradually forced changes. Though the Navy remained racially segregated in training and in most service units, in 1942 the enlisted rates were opened to all qualified personnel. In 1944, African-Americans' aspirations were further gratified when the Navy commissioned its first-ever officers of their race.