|Otis A. Singletary
University of Kentucky
|Maj. Gen Robert C. Hixon
U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command
|Brig. Gen. Robert Arter
U.S. Army Command and
General Staff College
|Sara D. Jackson
National Historical Publications
and Records Commission
|Harry L. Coles
Ohio State University
|Maj Gen Enrique Mendez, Jr.
Deputy Surgeon General, USA
|Robert H. Ferrell
Deputy Archivist of the United States
|Cyrus H. Fraker
The Adjutant General Center
Morgan State College
|William H. Goetzman
University of Texas
|Brig. Gen. Alfred L. Sanderson
Army War College
|Col. Thomas E. Griess
U.S. Military Academy
|Russell F. Weigley
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 successive measures 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 m 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.
14 March 1980
|JAMES L. COLLINS, JR.
Brigadier General, USA
Chief of Military History
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 sewed 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.
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 changing status of the black serviceman from the eve of World War It, 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 the late 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; Loretto C. 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.
14 March 1980
|MORRIS J. MACGREGOR, JR.
|The ArmedForces Before 1940||3|
|CivilRights and theLaw in 1940||8|
|To Segregate Is To Discriminate||13|
|2. WORLD WAR II: THE ARMY||17|
|A War Policy: Reaffirming Segregation||17|
|Segregation and Efficiency||23|
|The Need for Change||34|
|InternalReform: Amending Racial Practices||39|
|3. WORLD WAR II: THE NAVY||58|
|Development of a Wartime Policy||59|
|A Segregated Navy||67|
|Forrestal Takes the Helm||84|
|4. WORLD WAR II: THE MARINE CORPS AND THE COAST GUARD||99|
|The First Black Marines||100|
|New Roles for Black Coast Guardsmen||112|
|5. A POSTWAR SEARCH||123|
|The Army's Grand Review||130|
|The Navy's Informal Inspection||143|
|6. NEW DIRECTIONS||152|
|The Gillem Board Report||153|
|Integration of the General Service||166|
|The Marine Corps||170|
|7. A PROBLEM OF QUOTAS||176|
|The Quota in Practice||182|
|A New Approach||198|
|The Quota System: An Assessment||202|
|8. SEGREGATION'S CONSEQUENCES||206|
|Discipline and Morale Among Black Troops||206|
|Improving the Status of the Segregated Soldier||215|
|Discrimination and the Postwar Army||223|
|Segregation in Theory and Practice||226|
|Segregation: An Assessment||231|
|9. THE POSTWAR NAVY||234|
|The Steward's Branch||238|
|Public Image and the Problem of Numbers||248|
|10. THE POSTWAR MARINE CORPS||253|
|Racial Quotas and Assignments||253|
|Segregation and Efficiency||261|
|11. THE POSTWAR AIR FORCE||270|
|Segregation and Efficiency||271|
|Impulse for Change||280|
|12. THE PRESIDENT INTERVENES||291|
|The Truman Administration and Civil Rights||292|
|Civil Rights and the Department of Defense||297|
|Executive Order 9981||309|
|13. SERVICE INTERESTS VERSUS PRESIDENTIAL INTENT||315|
|Public Reaction to Executive Order 9981||315|
|The Army: Segregation on the Defensive||318|
|A Different Approach||326|
|The Navy: Business as Usual||331|
|Adjustments in the Marine Corps||334|
|The Air Force Plans for Limited Integration||338|
|14. THE FAHY COMMITTEE VERSUS THE DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE||343|
|The Committee's Recommendations||348|
|A Summer of Discontent||362|
|15. THE ROLE OF THE SECRETARY OF DEFENSE, 1949-1951||379|
|16. INTEGRATION IN THE AIR FORCE AND THE NAVY||397|
|The Air Force, 1949-1951||397|
|The Navy and Executive Order 9981||412|
|17. THE ARMY INTEGRATES||428|
|Race and Efficiency: 1950||428|
|Performance of Segregated Units||436|
|Integration of the Eighth Army||442|
|Integration of the European and Continental Commands||448|
|18. INTEGRATION OF THE MARINE CORPS||460|
|Impetus for Change||461|
|19. A NEW ERA BEGINS||473|
|The Civil Rights Revolution||474|
|Limitations on Executive Order 9981||479|
|20. LIMITED RESPONSE TO DISCRIMINATION||501|
|The Kennedy Administration and Civil Rights||504|
|The Department of Defense, 1961- 1963||510|
|Discrimination Off the Military Reservation||511|
|Reserves and Regulars: A Comparison||517|
|21. EQUAL TREATMENT AND OPPORTUNITY REDEFINED||530|
|The Secretary Makes a Decision||530|
|The Gesell Committee||535|
|Reaction to a New Commitment||545|
|The Gesell Committee: Final Report||552|
|22. EQUAL TREATMENT IN THE MILITARY COMMUNITY||556|
|Creating a Civil Rights Apparatus||558|
|Fighting Discrimination Within the Services||566|
|23. FROM VOLUNTARY COMPLIANCE TO SANCTIONS||581|
|Development of Voluntary Action Programs||581|
|Civil Rights, 1964- 1966||586|
|The Civil Rights Act and Voluntary Compliance||590|
|The Limits of Voluntary Compliance||593|
|Why the Services Integrated||609|
|How the Services Integrated, 1946- 1954||614|
|Equal Treatment and Opportunity||619|
|NOTE ON SOURCES||625|
|1. Classification of All Men Tested From March 1941 Through December 1942||25|
|2. AGCT Percentages in Selected World War II Divisions||138|
|3. Percentage of Black Enlisted Men and Women||395|
|4. Disposition of Black Personnel at Eight Air Force Bases, 1949||403|
|5. Racial Composition of Air Force Units||404|
|6. Black Strength in the Air Force||405|
|7. Racial Composition of the Training Command, December1949||406|
|8. Black Manpower, U.S. Navy||416|
|9. Worldwide Distribution of Enlisted Personnel by Race, October 1952||458|
|10. Distribution of Black Enlisted Personnel by Branch and Rank, 31 October 1952||458|
|11. Black Marines 1949-1955||463|
|12. Defense Installations With Segregated Public Schools||491|
|13. Black Strength in the Armed Forces for Selected Years||522|
|14. Estimated Percentage Distribution of Draft-Age Males in U.S. Population by AFQT Groups||523|
|15. Rate of Men Disqualified for Service in 1962||523|
|16. Rejection Rates for Failure To Pass Armed Forces Mental Test, 1962||524|
|17. Nonwhite Inductions and First Enlistments, Fiscal Years 1953-1962||525|
|18. Distribution of Enlisted Personnel in Each Major Occupation, 1956||525|
|19. Occupational Group Distribution by Race, All DOD, 1962||525|
|20. Occupational Group Distribution of Enlisted Personnel by Length of Service, and Race||526|
|21. Percentage Distribution of Navy Enlisted Personnel by Race, AFQT Groups and Occupational Areas, and Length of Service, 1962||526|
|22. Percentage Distribution of Blacks and Whites by Pay Grade, All DOD, 1962||527|
|23. Percentage Distribution of Navy Enlisted Personnel by Race, AFQT Groups, Pay Grade, and Length of Service, 1962||528|
|24. Black Percentages, 1962 - 1968||568|
|25. Rates for First Reenlistments, 1964-1967||569|
|26. Black Attendance at the Military Academies, July 1968||569|
|27. Army and Air Force Commissions Granted at Predominately Black Schools||570|
|28. Percentage of Negroes in Certain Military Ranks, 1964-1966||571|
|29. Distribution of Servicemen in Occupational Groups by Race, 1967||573|
1Oscar Handlin, "The Goals
of Integration, " Daedalus 95 (Winter 1966): 270.
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