Draftees To Be Segregated By Race (10-9-40)

The Pittsburgh Press (October 9, 1940)

Washington, Oct. 9 (UP) –

President Roosevelt today approved the system of segregating Negro and white troops in the expanding military service.

Stephen T. Early, White House Secretary, said the segregation policy was approved following a conference of Mr. Roosevelt, President Walter White of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, two other Negro leaders, Secretary of the Navy Frank Knox and Assistant Secretary of War Robert P. Patterson.

It is the policy of the War Department that services of Negroes will be utilized on a fair and equitable basis.

The policy of the War Department is not to intermingle colored and white enlisted personnel in the same regimental organizations. This policy has been proven satisfactory over a long period of years, and to make changes would produce situations destructive to morale and detrimental to the preparations for national defense.

For similar reasons the Department does not contemplate assigning colored Reserve officers other than those of the Medical Corps and chaplains to existing Negro combat units of the Regular Army.

Other principles of policy include:

  1. The strength of the Negro personnel of the Army will be maintained on the general basis of proportion of the Negro population of the country.

  2. Negro organizations will be established in each major branch of the service, combatant as well as non-combatant.

  3. Negro Reserve officers eligible for active duty will be assigned to Negro units, officered by colored personnel.

  4. When officer candidate schools are established, opportunity will be given to Negroes to qualify for Reserve commissions.

  5. Negroes are being given aviation training as pilots, mechanics, and technical specialists. This training will be accelerated. Negro aviation units will be formed as soon as the necessary personnel has been tried.

  6. At arsenals and Army posts Negro civilians are accorded equal opportunity for employment at work for which they are qualified by ability, education and experience.


My grandfather was very dark skinned, and the Army made him go see a doctor to be identified as White.


I guess he was tanned. Or of Eastern European, African or Arab origin.

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He was Jewish. When he moved to Florida, people thought he was Cuban sometimes until they heard him speak.


Oh. How did it work out for him in the Army?


He said it was the best time of his life.


Oh, boy, do I love those words. (Norman Mailer disagrees though)

Can you tell us more about it in the family history thread?

Actually, just write it on the segregation thread (the family history thread is over a year old by now)