Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965
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Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965, by Morris J. MacGregor Jr. This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org Title: Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 Author: Morris J. MacGregor Jr. Release Date: February 15, 2007 [EBook #20587] Language: English Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1 *** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK INTEGRATION ARMED FORCES *** Produced by Suzanne Shell, Christine P. Travers and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net [Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, author's spelling has been retained.] INTEGRATION OF THE ARMED FORCES 1940-1965 DEFENSE STUDIES SERIES INTEGRATION OF THE ARMED FORCES 1940-1965 by Morris J. MacGregor, Jr. Defense Historical Studies Committee (as of 6 April 1979) Robert J. Watson Alfred Goldberg Historical Division, Joint Chiefs of Office of the Secretary of Defense Staff Brig. Gen. James L. Collins, Jr. Maj. Gen. John W. Huston Chief of Military History Chief of Air Force History Maurice Matloff Stanley L. Falk Center of Military History Office of Air Force History Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Edwin H. Simmons Rear Adm. John D. H. Kane, Jr. Director of Marine Corps History and Director of Naval History Museums Dean C. Allard Henry J.

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The Project Gutenberg EBook of Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965, by
Morris J. MacGregor Jr.
This eBook is for the use of anyone anywhere at no cost and with
almost no restrictions whatsoever. You may copy it, give it away or
re-use it under the terms of the Project Gutenberg License included
with this eBook or online at www.gutenberg.org
Title: Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965
Author: Morris J. MacGregor Jr.
Release Date: February 15, 2007 [EBook #20587]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ISO-8859-1
*** START OF THIS PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK INTEGRATION ARMED FORCES ***
Produced by Suzanne Shell, Christine P. Travers and the
Online Distributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
[Transcriber's note: Obvious printer's errors have been corrected, author's spelling has
been retained.]
INTEGRATION OF THE ARMED FORCES
1940-1965
DEFENSE STUDIES SERIES
INTEGRATION
OF THE ARMED FORCES
1940-1965by Morris J. MacGregor, Jr.


Defense Historical Studies Committee
(as of 6 April 1979)
Robert J. Watson
Alfred Goldberg
Historical Division, Joint Chiefs of
Office of the Secretary of Defense
Staff
Brig. Gen. James L. Collins, Jr. Maj. Gen. John W. Huston
Chief of Military History Chief of Air Force History
Maurice Matloff Stanley L. Falk
Center of Military History Office of Air Force History
Brig. Gen. (Ret.) Edwin H. Simmons
Rear Adm. John D. H. Kane, Jr.
Director of Marine Corps History and
Director of Naval History
Museums
Dean C. Allard Henry J. Shaw, Jr.
Naval Historical Center Marine Corps Historical Center
Library of Congress Cataloging in Publication Data
MacGregor, Morris J
Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965.
(Defense studies series)
Includes bibliographical references and index.
Supt. of Docs. no.: D 114.2:In 8/940-65
1. Afro-American soldiers. 2. United States—
Race Relations. I. Title. II. Series.
UB418.A47M33 335.3'3 80-607077Department of the Army
Historical Advisory Committee
(as of 6 April 1979)
Maj. Gen. Robert C. Hixon
Otis A. Singletary
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine
University of Kentucky
Command
Brig. Gen. Robert Arter Sara D. Jackson
U.S. Army Command and National Historical Publications
General Staff College and Records Commission
Harry L. Coles Maj. Gen. Enrique Mendez, Jr.
Ohio State University Deputy Surgeon General, USA
Robert H. Ferrell James O'Neill
Indiana University Deputy Archivist of the United States
Cyrus H. Fraker Benjamin Quarles
The Adjutant General Center Morgan State College
William H. Goetzmann Brig. Gen. Alfred L. Sanderson
University of Texas Army War College
Col. Thomas E. Griess Russell F. Weigley
U.S. Military Academy Temple University
Foreword
The integration of the armed forces was a momentous event in our military and national
history; it represented a milestone in the development of the armed forces and the
fulfillment of the democratic ideal. The existence of integrated rather than segregated
armed forces is an important factor in our military establishment today. The experiences
in World War II and the postwar pressures generated by the civil rights movement
compelled all the services—Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps—to reexamine
their traditional practices of segregation. While there were differences in the ways that the
services moved toward integration, all were subject to the same demands, fears, and
prejudices and had the same need to use their resources in a more rational and
economical way. All of them reached the same conclusion: traditional attitudes toward
minorities must give way to democratic concepts of civil rights.
If the integration of the armed services now seems to have been inevitable in a
democratic society, it nevertheless faced opposition that had to be overcome and
problems that had to be solved through the combined efforts of political and civil rights
leaders and civil and military officials. In many ways the military services were at the
cutting edge in the struggle for racial equality. This volume sets forth the successivemeasures they and the Office of the Secretary of Defense took to meet the challenges of a
new era in a critically important area of human relationships, during a period of transition
that saw the advance of blacks in the social and economic order as well as in the military.
It is fitting that this story should be told in the first volume of a new Defense Studies
Series.
The Defense Historical Studies Program was authorized by the then Deputy Secretary of
Defense, Cyrus Vance, in April 1965. It is conducted under the auspices of the Defense
Historical Studies Group, an ad hoc body chaired by the Historian of the Office of the
Secretary of Defense and consisting of the senior officials in the historical offices of the
services and of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Volumes produced under its sponsorship will be
interservice histories, covering matters of mutual interest to the Army, Navy, Air Force,
Marine Corps, and the Joint Chiefs of Staff. The preparation of each volume is entrusted
to one of the service historical sections, in this case the Army's Center of Military History.
Although the book was written by an Army historian, he was generously given access to
the pertinent records of the other services and the Office of the Secretary of Defense, and
this initial volume in the Defense Studies Series covers the experiences of all
components of the Department of Defense in achieving integration.
JAMES L. COLLINS, JR.
Washington, D.C.
Brigadier General, USA
14 March 1980
Chief of Military History
The Author
Morris J. MacGregor, Jr., received the A.B. and M.A. degrees in history from the Catholic
University of America. He continued his graduate studies at the Johns Hopkins University
and the University of Paris on a Fulbright grant. Before joining the staff of the U.S. Army
Center of Military History in 1968 he served for ten years in the Historical Division of the
Joint Chiefs of Staff. He has written several studies for military publications including
"Armed Forces Integration—Forced or Free?" in The Military and Society: Proceedings
of the Fifth Military Symposium of the U.S. Air Force Academy. He is the coeditor with
Bernard C. Nalty of the thirteen-volume Blacks in the United States Armed Forces: Basic
Documents and with Ronald Spector of Voices of History: Interpretations in American
Military History. He is currently working on a sequel to Integration of the Armed Forces
which will also appear in the Defense Studies Series.
Preface
This book describes the fall of the legal, administrative, and social barriers to the black
American's full participation in the military service of his country. It follows the changingstatus of the black serviceman from the eve of World War II, when he was excluded from
many military activities and rigidly segregated in the rest, to that period a quarter of a
century later when the Department of Defense extended its protection of his rights and
privileges even to the civilian community. To round out the story of open housing for
members of the military, I briefly overstep the closing date given in the title.
The work is essentially an administrative history that attempts to measure the influence of
several forces, most notably the civil rights movement, the tradition of segregated service,
and the changing concept of military efficiency, on the development of racial policies in
the armed forces. It is not a history of all minorities in the services. Nor is it an account of
how the black American responded to discrimination. A study of racial attitudes, both
black and white, in the military services would be a valuable addition to human
knowledge, but practically impossible of accomplishment in the absence of sufficient
autobiographical accounts, oral history interviews, and detailed sociological
measurements. How did the serviceman view his condition, how did he convey his desire
for redress, and what was his reaction to social change? Even now the answers to these
questions are blurred by time and distorted by emotions engendered by the civil rights
revolution. Few citizens, black or white, who witnessed it can claim immunity to the
influence of that paramount social phenomenon of our times.
At times I do generalize on the attitudes of both black and white servicemen and the black
and white communities at large as well. But I have permitted myself to do so only when
these attitudes were clearly pertinent to changes in the services' racial policies and only
when the written record supported, or at least did not contradict, the memory of those
participants who had been interviewed. In any case this study is largely history written
from the top down and is based primarily on the written records left by the administrations
of five presidents and by civil rights leaders, service officials, and the press.
Many of the attitudes and expressions voiced by the participants in the story are now out
of fashion. The reader must be constantly on guard against viewing the beliefs and
statements of many civilian and military officials out of context of the times in which they
were expressed. Neither bigotry nor stupidity was the monopoly of some of the people
quoted; their statements are important for what they tell us about certain attitudes of our
society rather than for what they reveal about any individual. If the methods or attitudes of
some of the black spokesmen appear excessively tame to those who have lived through
the 1960's, they too should be gauged in the context of the times. If their statements and
actions shunned what now seems the more desirable, albeit radical, course, it should be
given them that the style they adopted appeared in those days to be the most promising
for racial progress.
The words black and Negro have been used interchangeably in the book, with Negro
generally as a noun and black as an adjective. Aware of differing preferences in the black
community for usage of these words, the author was interested in comments from early
readers of the manuscript. Some of the participants in the story strongly objected to one
word or the other. "Do me one favor in return for my help," Lt. Comdr. Dennis D. Nelson
said, "never call me a black." Rear Adm. Gerald E. Thomas, on the other hand,
suggested that the use of the term Negro might repel readers with much to learn about
their recent past. Still others thought that the historian should respect the usage of the
various periods covered in the story, a solution that would have left the volume with the
term colored for most of the earlier chapters and Negro for much of the rest. With rare
exception, the term black does not appear in twentieth century military records before thelate 1960's. Fashions in words change, and it is only for the time being perhaps that black
and Negro symbolize different attitudes. The author has used the words as synonyms
and trusts that the reader will accept them as such. Professor John Hope Franklin, Mrs.
Sara Jackson of the National Archives, and the historians and officials that constituted the
review panel went along with this approach.
The second question of usage concerns the words integration and desegregation. In
recent years many historians have come to distinguish between these like-sounding
words. Desegregation they see as a direct action against segregation; that is, it signifies
the act of removing legal barriers to the equal treatment of black citizens as guaranteed
by the Constitution. The movement toward desegregation, breaking down the nation's
Jim Crow system, became increasingly popular in the decade after World War II.
Integration, on the other hand, Professor Oscar Handlin maintains, implies several things
not yet necessarily accepted in all areas of American society. In one sense it refers to the
"leveling of all barriers to association other than those based on ability, taste, and
personal preference";[1] in other words, providing equal opportunity. But in another sense
integration calls for the random distribution of a minority throughout society. Here,
according to Handlin, the emphasis is on racial balance in areas of occupation,
education, residency, and the like.
From the beginning the military establishment rightly understood that the breakup of the
all-black unit would in a closed society necessarily mean more than mere desegregation.
It constantly used the terms integration and equal treatment and opportunity to describe
its racial goals. Rarely, if ever, does one find the word desegregation in military files that
include much correspondence from the various civil rights organizations. That the military
made the right choice, this study seems to demonstrate, for the racial goals of the
Defense Department, as they slowly took form over a quarter of a century, fulfilled both of
Professor Handlin's definitions of integration.
The mid-1960's saw the end of a long and important era in the racial history of the armed
forces. Although the services continued to encounter racial problems, these problems
differed radically in several essentials from those of the integration period considered in
this volume. Yet there is a continuity to the story of race relations, and one can hope that
the story of how an earlier generation struggled so that black men and women might
serve their country in freedom inspires those in the services who continue to fight
discrimination.
This study benefited greatly from the assistance of a large number of persons during its
long years of preparation. Stetson Conn, chief historian of the Army, proposed the book
as an interservice project. His successor, Maurice Matloff, forced to deal with the
complexities of an interservice project, successfully guided the manuscript through to
publication. The work was carried out under the general supervision of Robert R. Smith,
chief of the General History Branch. He and Robert W. Coakley, deputy chief historian of
the Army, were the primary reviewers of the manuscript, and its final form owes much to
their advice and attention. The author also profited greatly from the advice of the official
review panel, which, under the chairmanship of Alfred Goldberg, historian, Office of the
Secretary of Defense, included Martin Blumenson; General J. Lawton Collins (USA Ret.);
Lt. Gen. Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. (USAF Ret.); Roy K. Davenport, former Deputy Assistant
Secretary of the Army; Stanley L. Falk, chief historian of the Air Force; Vice Adm. E. B.
Hooper, Chief of Naval History; Professor Benjamin Quarles; Paul J. Scheips, historian,
Center of Military History; Henry I. Shaw, chief historian of the U.S. Marine Corps; LorettoC. Stevens, senior editor of the Center of Military History; Robert J. Watson, chief
historian of the Joint Chiefs of Staff; and Adam Yarmolinsky, former assistant to the
Secretary of Defense.
Many of the participants in this story generously shared their knowledge with me and
kindly reviewed my efforts. My footnotes acknowledge my debt to them. Nevertheless,
two are singled out here for special mention. James C. Evans, former counselor to the
Secretary of Defense for racial affairs, has been an endless source of information on race
relations in the military. If I sometimes disagreed with his interpretations and
assessments, I never doubted his total dedication to the cause of the black serviceman. I
owe a similar debt to Lt. Comdr. Dennis D. Nelson (USN Ret.) for sharing his intimate
understanding of race relations in the Navy. A resourceful man with a sure social touch,
he must have been one hell of a sailor.
I want to note the special contribution of several historians. Martin Blumenson was first
assigned to this project, and before leaving the Center of Military History he assembled
research material that proved most helpful. My former colleague John Bernard Corr
prepared a study on the National Guard upon which my account of the guard is based. In
addition, he patiently reviewed many pages of the draft manuscript. His keen insights and
sensitive understanding were invaluable to me. Professors Jack D. Foner and Marie
Carolyn Klinkhammer provided particularly helpful suggestions in conjunction with their
reviews of the manuscript. Samuel B. Warner, who before his untimely death was a
historian in the Joint Chiefs of Staff as well as a colleague of Lee Nichols on some of that
reporter's civil rights investigations, also contributed generously of his talents and lent his
support in the early days of my work. Finally, I am grateful for the advice of my colleague
Ronald H. Spector at several key points in the preparation of this history.
I have received much help from archivists and librarians, especially the resourceful
William H. Cunliffe and Lois Aldridge (now retired) of the National Archives and Dean C.
Allard of the Naval Historical Center. Although the fruits of their scholarship appear often
in my footnotes, three fellow researchers in the field deserve special mention: Maj. Alan
M. Osur and Lt. Col. Alan L. Gropman of the U.S. Air Force and Ralph W. Donnelly,
former member of the U.S. Marine Corps Historical Center. I have benefited from our
exchange of ideas and have had the advantage of their reviews of the manuscript.
I am especially grateful for the generous assistance of my editors, Loretto C. Stevens and
Barbara H. Gilbert. They have been both friends and teachers. In the same vein, I wish to
thank John Elsberg for his editorial counsel. I also appreciate the help given by William
G. Bell in the selection of the illustrations, including the loan of two rare items from his
personal collection, and Arthur S. Hardyman for preparing the pictures for publication. I
would like to thank Mary Lee Treadway and Wyvetra B. Yeldell for preparing the
manuscript for panel review and Terrence J. Gough for his helpful pre-publication review.
Finally, while no friend or relative was spared in the long years I worked on this book,
three colleagues especially bore with me through days of doubts and frustrations and
shared my small triumphs: Alfred M. Beck, Ernest F. Fisher, Jr., and Paul J. Scheips. I
also want particularly to thank Col. James W. Dunn. I only hope that some of their good
sense and sunny optimism show through these pages.
Washington, D.C.
MORRIS J. MACGREGOR, JR.
14 March 1980Contents
Chapter
1. INTRODUCTION
The Armed forces Before 1940
Civil Rights and the Law in 1940
To Segregate Is To Discriminate
2. WORLD WAR II: THE ARMY
A War Policy: Reaffirming Segregation
Segregation and Efficiency
The Need for Change
Internal Reform: Amending Racial Practices
Two Exceptions
3. WORLD WAR II: THE NAVY
Development of a Wartime Policy
A Segregated Navy
Progressive Experiments
Forrestal Takes the Helm
4. WORLD WAR II: THE MARINE CORPS AND THE COAST GUARD
The First Black Marines
New Roles for Black Coast Guardsmen
5. A POSTWAR SEARCH
Black Demands
The Army's Grand Review
The Navy's Informal Inspection
6. NEW DIRECTIONS
The Gillem Board Report
Integration of the General Service
The Marine Corps
7. A PROBLEM OF QUOTAS
The Quota in Practice
Broader Opportunities
Assignments
A New Approach
The Quota System: An Assessment
8. SEGREGATION'S CONSEQUENCES
Discipline and Morale Among Black Troops
Improving the Status of the Segregated Soldier
Discrimination and the Postwar Army
Segregation in Theory and Practice
Segregation: An Assessment
9. THE POSTWAR NAVY
The Steward's Branch
Black Officers
Public Image and the Problem of Numbers10. THE POSTWAR MARINE CORPS
Racial Quotas and Assignments
Recruitment
Segregation and Efficiency
Toward Integration
11. THE POSTWAR AIR FORCE
Segregation and Efficiency
Impulse for Change
12. THE PRESIDENT INTERVENES
The Truman Administration and Civil Rights
Civil Rights and the Department of Defense
Executive Order 9981
13. SERVICE INTERESTS VERSUS PRESIDENTIAL INTENT
Public Reaction to Executive Order 9981
The Army: Segregation on the Defensive
A Different Approach
The Navy: Business as Usual
Adjustments in the Marine Corps
The Air Force Plans for Limited Integration
14. THE FAHY COMMITTEE VERSUS THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE
The Committee's Recommendations
A Summer of Discontent
Assignments
Quotas
An Assessment
15. THE ROLE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, 1949-1951
Overseas Restrictions
Congressional Concerns
16. INTEGRATION IN THE AIR FORCE AND THE NAVY
The Air Force, 1949-1951
The Navy and Executive Order 9981
17. THE ARMY INTEGRATES
Race and Efficiency: 1950
Training
Performance of Segregated Units
Final Arguments
Integration of the Eighth Army
Integration of the European and Continental Commands
18. INTEGRATION OF THE MARINE CORPS
Impetus for Change
Assignments
19. A NEW ERA BEGINS
The Civil Rights Revolution
Limitations on Executive Order 9981
Integration of Navy Shipyards
Dependent Children and Integrated Schools
20. LIMITED RESPONSE TO DISCRIMINATION
The Kennedy Administration and Civil Rights
The Department of Defense, 1961-1963
Discrimination Off the Military Reservation
Reserves and Regulars: A Comparison21. EQUAL TREATMENT AND OPPORTUNITY REDEFINED
The Secretary Makes a Decision
The Gesell Committee
Reaction to a New Commitment
The Gesell Committee: Final Report
22. EQUAL OPPORTUNITY IN THE MILITARY COMMUNITY
Creating a Civil Rights Apparatus
Fighting Discrimination Within the Services
23. FROM VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE TO SANCTIONS
Development of Voluntary Action Programs
Civil Rights, 1964-1966
The Civil Rights Act and Voluntary Compliance
The Limits of Voluntary Compliance
24. CONCLUSION
Why the Services Integrated
How the Services Integrated, 1946-1954
Equal Treatment and Opportunity
NOTE ON SOURCES
INDEX
Illustrations
Crewmen of the USS Miami During the Civil War
Buffalo Soldiers
Integration in the Army of 1888
Gunner's Gang on the USS Maine
General John J. (Black Jack) Pershing Inspects Troops
Heroes of the 369th Infantry, February 1919
Judge William H. Hastie
General George C. Marshall and Secretary of War Henry L. Stimson
Engineer Construction Troops in Liberia, July 1942
Labor Battalion Troops in the Aleutian Islands, May 1943
Sergeant Addressing the Line
Pilots of the 332d Fighter Group
Service Club, Fort Huachuca
93d Division Troops in Bougainville, April 1944
Gun Crew of Battery B, 598th Field Artillery, September 1944
Tankers of the 761st Medium Tank Battalion Prepare for Action
WAAC Replacements
Volunteers for Combat in Training
Road Repairmen
Mess Attendant, First Class, Dorie Miller Addressing Recruits at Camp Smalls
Admiral Ernest J. King and Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox
Crew Members of USS Argonaut, Pearl Harbor, 1942
Messmen Volunteer as Gunners, July 1942
Electrician Mates String Power Lines
Laborers at Naval Ammunition Depot
Seabees in the South Pacific
Lt. Comdr. Christopher S. Sargent
USS Mason