Preferring to avoid some of the taint of racism that characterized the American military during the First World war, Republican Senator William Barbour (1888 - 1943) announced that he intended to introduce an amendment to the 1940 conscription legislation that would open all branches of the U.S. Military to everyone regardless of skin color:
"Right now the regular U.S. Army keeps its Negro soldiers carefully segregated in colored units. The Air Corps accepts no Negroes at all. Neither does the Marine Corps. In the Navy, the highest rank to which a member of the colored race may aspire is that of a mess attendant. No Negro has ever graduated from Annapolis, and only one admitted since Reconstruction days. Only four colored men have graduated from West Point...Of the 400,000 colored men drafted for [the last war], all but some 40,000 were assigned to service as laborers, hostlers, kitchen help and the like. Prospects this time are not much better."
We're just guessing, but Barbour's proposal was probably rejected by the Democratic majority.
Click here to read more about African-Americans in W.W. I.
Click here to read further about African-Americans in W.W. II.
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