Why FDR Chose Not to Desegregate the Military

Franklin Delano Roosevelt circa 1933 (Library of Congress)
An Oval Office recording from 1940 reveals how Roosevelt resisted the demands of black leaders for integration of the armed services at the outset of World War II.

NRPLUS MEMBER ARTICLE E ighty years ago, on September 27, 1940, two of the most influential civil-rights leaders in the country sat across the desk from President Franklin Roosevelt in the Oval Office. Asa Philip Randolph was the president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. Walter White was the secretary of the NAACP. Eleven days earlier, Roosevelt had signed the Selective Service Act, the first peacetime draft in the country’s history. Randolph and White seized the opportunity to come talk to him about desegregating the military. Which was about the last issue Franklin Roosevelt wanted to address in September 1940.

Getting the American people

John Strausbaugh — Mr. Strausbaugh is the author of City of Sedition: The History of New York City During the Civil War and Victory City: A History of New York and New Yorkers During World War II.

Most Popular

Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Elections

The Only Middle Finger Available

If Donald Trump wins a second term, it will be an unmistakable countercultural statement in a year when progressives have otherwise worked their will across the culture. After months and months of statues toppling and riots in American cities and a crime wave and woke virtue-signaling from professional sports ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and other things you can fight with your family about at Thanksgiving. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, follow this link. The Case against Trump In 2016, my friend Roger Kimball of Encounter ... Read More
Elections

Hell, No

Welcome to “The Tuesday,” a weekly newsletter about language, culture, politics, and other things you can fight with your family about at Thanksgiving. To subscribe to “The Tuesday” and receive it in your inbox, follow this link. The Case against Trump In 2016, my friend Roger Kimball of Encounter ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More

The Pollster Who Thinks Trump Is Ahead

The polling aggregator on the website RealClearPolitics shows the margin in polls led by Joe Biden in a blue font and the ones led by Donald Trump in red. For a while, the battleground states have tended to be uniformly blue, except for polls conducted by the Trafalgar Group. If you are a firm believer only in ... Read More