Large Silver Gelatin Photo of African American Naval Cadets Following Integrated Navy, 1943

Original Photo

Large silver gelatin photo of African American cadet midshipmen at the U.S Naval Training Station in Great Lakes, Illinois. 1943. Photo measures 19.5 x 8 inches. 131 young African American men pose in tight rows in crisp Naval uniforms, their expressions sharp and distinct, a range of emotions visible across their faces. Some gaze confidently into the camera, faces serious, while others smile broadly. The men are young and bright, imbued with the optimism of their age. A single white officer stands front and center, surrounded by his students. Windows behind them suggest a classroom in the building beyond. "CO, 1462 C.F. Wolfe-C.Sp. Co.Comdr.Nov, 3, 1943" in type at bottom of photograph. In 1942 the Navy's general board concluded that African American recuits should be restricted to serving as messmen in order to avoid friction caused by integration, concluding that "if restricting [Blacks] to the messman branch was discrimination, it was consistent with discriminatory practices against [Blacks] and citizens of Asian descent throughout the United States." Against great odds, African American sailors rose to the ranks of commissioned officers by 1944, though their positions remained anomalous to the general rule. Small tears to border of photograph do not affect image. Light stains to border do not affect image. Creased where folded. A testament to the contributions made by a group of men whose sacrifices were neither honored nor acknowledged during their time. Overall very good condition.

Item #18191

Price: $450.00