1940 October 9

FDR White House Says Military Will Not “Intermingle” Different Races


With Europe already at war, Congress passed the 1940 Selective Service Act, the first peacetime draft in American history. The law contained a section barring race discrimination in the operations of the draft. It may have been the first federal civil rights law in modern times. The Roosevelt administration and the War Department, however, maintained a segregated draft and segregated military units during World War II. On this day, before the U.S. entered the war, the White House announced that it would not “intermingle” different races in military units. On September 27, 1940, civil rights leader A. Philip Randolph had confronted President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the White House over his refusal to follow the law, but he was unsuccessful in getting him to change his policy.

During World War II, Winfred Lynn, an African-American landscape gardener from Long Island, NY, challenged the segregated draft, but his legal case was not successful (see February 3, 1944). The American armed forces remained racially segregated until President Harry Truman ordered them integrated by Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948.

Learn more at a timeline on African Americans in the U.S. Army:  http://www.army.mil/africanamericans/timeline.html

Find a Day

Abortion Rights ACLU african-americans Alice Paul anti-communism Anti-Communist Hysteria Birth Control Brown v. Board of Education Censorship CIA Civil Rights Civil Rights Act of 1964 Cold War Espionage Act FBI First Amendment Fourteenth Amendment freedom of speech Free Speech Gay Rights Hate Speech homosexuality Hoover, J. Edgar HUAC Japanese American Internment King, Dr. Martin Luther Ku Klux Klan Labor Unions Lesbian and Gay Rights Loyalty Oaths McCarthy, Sen. Joe New York Times Obscenity Police Misconduct Same-Sex Marriage Separation of Church and State Sex Discrimination Smith Act Spying Spying on Americans Vietnam War Voting Rights Voting Rights Act of 1965 War on Terror Watergate White House Women's Rights Women's Suffrage World War I World War II Relocation Camps


Tell Us What You Think

We want to hear your comments, criticisms and suggestions!