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U.S. Navy opened to Black Women

Navy Department Press Release, October 19, 1944:

Waves congratulate each other after being commissioned as the first African-American “WAVES” officers, Dec. 1944.

Negro Women to be Accepted in Women’s Reserve, U.S. Naval Reserve. The President today approved a plan submitted by the Navy Department providing for the acceptance of Negro women in the Women’s Reserve of the Navy.

The plan calls for the immediate commissioning of a limited number of especially qualified Negro women to serve as administrative officers. They will assist in the subsequent planning and supervision of the program for Negro women which will be administered as an integral part of the Women’s Reserve.

Enlistment of Negro women will be undertaken as soon as these plans have been completed and it is presently indicated that the first Negro recruits will enter training shortly after January 1. Officer candidates and enlisted women will be trained at existing schools for the training of WAVES. The number to be enlisted will be determined by the needs of the service.