Naval History and Heritage Command

Naval History and Heritage Command

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White, William S.

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Ensign, USNR, (Commissioned, 1944)

African-Americans and the U.S. Navy - The "Golden Thirteen"



In February 1944, the Navy commissioned its first African-American officers. This long-hoped-for action represented a major step forward in the status of African-Americans in the Navy and in American society. The twelve commissioned officers, and a warrant officer who received his rank at the same time, came to be known as the "Golden Thirteen".

The following pictures feature the "Golden Thirteen", as a group and as individuals.

Additional pictorial coverage African Americans and the U.S. Navy 

African-Americans and the U.S. Navy during World War II

Click the photograph for a larger image.