AfriGeneas Military Research Forum Archive
Military was far quicker to integrate . . . . . .
Military was far quicker to integrate than rest of society
By Ron Jensen, Stars and Stripes
“In a completely integrated unit where you’d have white soldiers, particularly from southern states, serving under [black] noncommissioned officers or officers … I think you would have a problem definitely.”
— Gen. Omar Bradley, 1949
Purnell Sterrett’s first attempt to join America’s military was a bust.
In the years before World War II, the Navy he longed to enter had limited jobs for people like him. Black men, he was told, could serve the Navy only as cooks or bakers.
“I said, ‘If I wanted to learn how to cook or bake, my grandmother could teach me,’ ” recalled Sterrett, who wanted to be a gunner’s mate. “(The recruiter) took my application and dropped it in the trash can.”
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