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Diary of Secretary of the Navy Josephus Daniels

1917                     SATURDAY 6                 OCTOBER

Reached Norfolk Navy Yard and went at once to Training Station where 4,500 young men drilled. Made them an address after they passed in review. Told of 1,600 men in ranks promoted since war was declared & counselled them to do all they could to win promotion -


Then visited Navy Yard and made thorough inspection. Dry Dock work going ahead rapidly. Navy needs to buy land opposite side of river for ingress and egress of big ships- Marine Barracks should be moved & space given to Navy Yard industrial work -1 Ways for building dreadnaughts & destroyers going ahead slowly.


Had officers of Navy Yard to lunch on Mayflower,2 then in auto went to Hampton Roads. The Mayor3 promised to regard Norfolk as a branch or station of the Navy & do everything possible to safeguard young men.4 Would segregate the colored section of the town.5

Source Note: D, DLC-MSS, Josephus Daniels Papers, Diaries, Roll 1.

Footnote 1: During World War I the Norfolk Navy Yard underwent a significant expansion, including adding three new drydocks and expanding its workforce from 2,718 to over 11,000. Marshall W. Burt, Norfolk Naval Shipyard, Portsmouth, Virginia: A brief history (Portsmouth, Va.: Public Information Office, 1956), 9.

Footnote 2: The yacht belonging to the Secretary of the Navy.

Footnote 3: Wyndham R. Mayo served as Mayor of Norfolk from 1912-1918.

Footnote 4: Daniels was actively promoting the elimination of “red light districts” from near naval bases. Craig, Josephus Daniels, 244-45.

Footnote 5: Daniels was a racist and did not hesitate to act against the interests of African-Americans. According to Daniels, the districts that were predominately African-American were synonymous with illicit and immoral activities. Ibid., 414.