Chapter XII
Harvest of Disorder
When adequate corrective measures for the low morale of Negro troops were not taken, when adequate leadership was not available, when post-community co-operation could not be secured, and when "incidents" without a positive indication of concern on the part of commanders and higher headquarters continued to occur, the chances for open disturbances involving troops remained many and varied. Despite the large number of racial clashes involving soldiers that did occur, when the opportunities for disturbances are considered the actual rate of serious, generalized outbreaks of racial violence involving Negro troops in World War II was small. Nevertheless, cases of physical racial friction, ranging from minor brawls to serious disturbances, ran into the hundreds. They were a continuing cause for concern within the War Department and in the Army's higher commands. They continued to be a threat to discipline, to relations between Negro and white troops, to relations between the Army and civilians, and to unity in the war effort on the home front. As fodder for propaganda against the Army and, in the hands of the enemy, against the nation, they were unsurpassed.
The concern of the War Department in the area of racial disturbances was constant. Local patterns of violence
which strengthened and confirmed its anxiety were set early. The pattern of reactions of troops, commands, and the public was set equally early. Racial friction of one sort or another continued through the war, with the early summer of 1943 marking the high point both of incidents of violence and of official concern. Relatively few disturbances involved mass violence between white and Negro troops, although a number had their root causes in individual incidents between officers and men of the two races. Sometimes erupting disorder had city, state, or military law enforcement agents as its main protagonists; sometimes it involved civilians; sometimes there was no violence at all, but mass demonstrations and "acts to the prejudice of order and discipline," some of them approaching mutiny. Sometimes the "violence" was only that common to the semi-underworld and tenderloin districts of all big cities, the street brawls or Saturday night party fights given additional significance because one and sometimes all participants were in uniform.
No matter what the nature of the disturbance the reaction was much the same. To higher headquarters, in receipt of numerous reports, complaints, and warnings from the distant field, the fact that Negro troops were located on a given post was enough to indicate the

possibility of racial disorder there or in nearby communities. To security agencies each disturbance stressed again the need for constant vigilance, both to head off possible repercussions in the civilian society and to stem subversive influences, either of which might interfere seriously with the war effort. To Negro troops, the threat of disorder that might involve them was omnipresent; at times it was thought of as just one more of the inevitables of military service, or, at the least, of passes into certain nearby towns. Early in the war, the Negro public was convinced that the life of the Negro soldier was one of constant fear and danger while his unit was still in training. The white public, especially in the towns near heavy troop concentrations, was often certain that the threat of town or post race riots was constant. Enough "incidents" occurred during the war years to lend support to each of these views and to each of their infinite variants.
The major significance of disturbances was seldom in the events themselves but in their potentialities. Overt racial friction, military or civilian, affected, in turn, units and stations elsewhere. The more serious disturbances were carried by the news services into the columns of the nation's press. There they affected civilian attitudes, white and Negro, toward the Army and the prosecution of the war. The cumulative effect of racial disturbances on the War Department was to add another item to the growing list of matters to be considered in planning for the employment of increasing numbers of Negro troops, both in training at home and in deployment overseas. It was generally considered a most important addition to this list.1
The March of Violence
In April 1941, shortly after the first Negro selectees began to enter the Army, the first major symbolic event in the long chain of racial violence occurred. In a wooded section of Fort Benning, Georgia, the body of a Negro soldier, Pvt. Felix Hall, his hands tied behind him, was found hanging from a tree. How he got there was uncertain. Negroes concluded that he had been lynched. Post authorities suggested that it might have been suicide, but surrounding circumstances were against this solution. The ensuing investigation did not solve the mystery of Hall's death. Speculation continued, but in the absence of proof of foul play, no considerable agitation took place. A queasy uneasiness among Negro troops and the public lingered.2
Later in the same month another kind of incident occurred. On Sunday afternoon, 20 April 1941, white Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) enrollees and Negro troops of the 48th Quartermaster Regiment became involved in an altercation over the use of a diving platform at the YMCA Lake area at Fort Jackson, South Carolina. Already, in the nearby city of Columbia, ill feeling among troops, Negro civilians, and mili-

tary police had developed. Between  afternoon and evening, stories of the clash spread through Fort Jackson. That night, considerable tension was present in the area of the 48th Quartermaster Regiment. At about 9:30 P.M., the Fort Jackson Military Police Company learned that a disturbance was underway. White soldiers from the 30th Division, some in civilian clothes and some in uniform, were assembling in groups, planning to rush the Negro area. There shots were fired as "unknown individual members" incited the men with "greatly exaggerated versions of incidents occurring during the afternoon." Officers of the post, the field officer of the day, the 8th Division officer of the day, members of the main guard of the 30th Division, and the provost marshal halted the movement and dispersed the groups.3
Thereafter, difficulties between Fort Jackson's military police and Negro soldiers and civilians in Columbia continued until well into 1942. Beginning in June 1941, fracases involving military policemen, city policemen, soldiers, and civilians occurred frequently in the Negro business area of the city. The Colored Citizens' Committee of Columbia protested in letters, petitions, and visits to post authorities. "Something must be done," the Citizens' Committee declared in January 1942, "as our Colored Citizens are growing restless, suspicious, and what occurred in Alexandria, La., and Fayetteville, N.C., thus far has been averted, because of our vigilance, and talking to our people, but we cannot always hope to hold them down with so much disregard to `Citizenship rights.'4
The Alexandria and Fayetteville affairs mentioned by Columbia's committee were two of the major similar disturbances that occurred during 1941-42. These were basically conflicts between troops and military police, involving as well town police, Negro and white citizens, and, at times, all five groups. Arguments, rough handling, fights, and near riots were common in these disturbances. A street brawl in Tampa, Florida, on 15 July 1941, was typical of these fracases. At about II:2o p.m., a Negro soldier, after an argument with a white military policeman in the presence of other Negro soldiers and civilians, was arrested and sent to the military police headquarters in Tampa. The military policeman and a second MP remained in the area. A second Negro soldier, a sergeant who later admitted that he had been drinking, approached the military policeman who had made the arrest and engaged him in conversation. The sergeant, ostensibly trimming his fingernails with a knife, whispered, according to the MP, that he would cut the policeman's throat. The policeman struck the Negro sergeant with his club and drew his pistol; the sergeant knocked the pistol from his hand and threw the policeman to the ground. The second military policeman and a nearby city policeman came to the aid of the MP; the city policeman shot the Negro sergeant while he was on the ground. A third Negro

soldier was shot while attempting to disarm the city policeman. Though the setting was there for a full-scale free-for-all with potentially fatal results, no further violence followed.5 But trouble between Negro soldiers and military policemen on the streets of Tampa went on through the summer.
The pattern of disturbances, all potentially productive of serious riots, continued to develop. The Fayetteville disturbance, on the night of 5-6 August 1941, was the first of a series of serious bus incidents involving military police and Negro soldiers. A large group of Negro soldiers, following pay-day passes, gathered at a bus stop to await transportation back to Fort Bragg. A number had been drinking. As the waiting crowd grew larger, disorder at the bus stop increased. When a bus arrived, disorderly soldiers threatened unarmed Negro military policemen, whose duty it was to ride the buses, and prevented them from coming aboard. The driver refused to move without police protection. This delay in departure increased the confusion and disorder, while the crowd outside awaiting the next bus continued to grow. A detachment of white military police reinforcements, attempting to quiet the passengers, boarded the halted bus. They succeeded in stirring up further disorder among the jostling, cursing, busload of men. Attempting to arrest the chief troublemakers, military policemen began to use their night sticks. One soldier on the crowded bus grabbed a military policeman's service revolver from its holster. He discharged its full six shots in the direction of the disarmed MP. Another military policeman shot toward the soldier, and other shots from outside the bus followed. When the confusion subsided, one white military policeman and one Negro soldier were dead, two other white military policemen and three Negro soldiers were wounded. The gun fight in Fayetteville was bad enough, but the aftermath at Fort Bragg, especially as reported in the nation's press, was a serious portent of future difficulties. The post's provost marshal ordered all Negro soldiers, except those already in barracks, collected and brought to the stockade adjacent to the guardhouse, where they were held until morning. Men arriving on later buses were searched and threatened by military policemen. No explanation of what had happened or of the purpose of this roundup was given to the men herded into the stockade. Military policemen, angry and resentful over the death of their comrade, and Negro soldiers, equally resentful of the death of the Negro soldier and the methods used to round them up, created a new tension on the post. For days accounts of the brutality used in the forced checking of men who could not have been involved in the bus disturbance reached the public through the press and through soldiers' letters. The revolvers and ammunition of the military police who had been at the scene were not collected on the spot, confounding the possibility of a definite determination of responsibility for the shooting on the bus and thus lending color to the rumors current that military police activities at the post

were based not on good police work, but on elemental anger.6
The outbreaks of violence during the summer of 1941 reached a climax during the Second Army maneuvers. These maneuvers were marked by incidents between townsfolk and white as well as Negro troops, and were occasioned both by the lack of military discipline and the resentful attitudes of citizens dwelling within maneuver areas toward the presence of large bodies of troops. Before the maneuvers, Lt. Gen. Ben Lear, commanding the Second Army, cautioned the commanders of both the 5th Division, to which the 94th Engineer Battalion was attached, and of the 2d Cavalry Division, to conduct conditioning lectures for their Negro troops before departing for maneuvers.7 At Murfreesboro, Tennessee, and at Gurdon, Arkansas, Negro troops on maneuvers ran into armed resistance from citizens and state police. The second incident was the more spectacular, and, in the shadow of Fayetteville, came to national attention through the wire services.
Troops of the 94th Engineer Battalion from Fort Custer, Michigan, became embroiled in a series of incidents in the vicinity of Gurdon. Some of the soldiers felt that their difficulties began at Little Rock, Arkansas, where individuals of the unit and white city police engaged in an altercation in a night club. Others, pointing out that neighboring Negro troops from Camp Shelby, Mississippi, had not been molested, felt that the trouble arose because they were Northern troops with Northern white officers. Only in their persistence and intensity were the incidents at Gurdon different from those occurring in many another Southern small town area.8
On 11 August 1941, some two or three hundred soldiers of the Negro engineer battalion visited the town of Gurdon in search of recreation. The town had neither recreation to offer nor the desire to offer it. The appearance of so large a body of Negro soldiers from the Chicago-Detroit area excited adverse comments from the white residents of the small town, but nothing untoward happened except that the soldiers congregated in small groups while white military police attempted to keep them moving. In the meantime a rumor, later proved false, spread among the soldiers that one of their number had been arrested and severely beaten by military police. Excitement and resentment mounted when military police instructions were circulated that the town was to be cleared by 10 o'clock. With no transportation available, the soldiers gathered in groups and, in a crude and noisy formation liberally spiced with profanity and uncompli-

mentary remarks about the South, proceeded along the main street of the town toward their bivouac area. Many, apparently fearing interference, had armed themselves with clubs and missiles. Though no difficulties between them and civilian authorities of the town of Gurdon occurred that evening, the noisy movement of the group of apparently unorganized soldiers through the town, coupled with seeming insubordination toward the few of their officers who were attempting to control the situation during the four-mile trek from the town to their bivouac, intensified the fears of local citizens. Town authorities and the town marshal, who freely declared his intention to use force of arms in the event of trouble, proceeded to swear in new deputies to augment the town police force. Through the night sensational rumors spread, both among members of the battalion and among citizens of the town. The Commanding General, Seventh Corps Area, declared the town of Gurdon off limits and directed that the battalion move its bivouac several miles distant. These decisions were communicated to town and police authorities on 12 August during the working day.
Nevertheless, on the evening of the 12th at about 10 p.m., Arkansas state police with drawn firearms approached the 94th's bivouac area and ordered the camp guard- armed with rifles but without ammunition- off the highway at the entrance to the camp, striking several of the sentries in the process. Troops visiting Prescott, another nearby town, were harassed by state police who followed their trucks into town, threatening the men upon arrival. On 14 August elements of the battalion, its men demoralized and its officers uncertain, began to move to their new bivouac area. State police, through misrepresentation, excitement, or misunderstanding, notified the provost marshal of the Second Army that a group of unsupervised and disorderly Negro soldiers was proceeding down the highway. The provost marshal, accepting the report as fact, requested the state authorities to take charge until military police arrived. Fully armed state police and deputies started for the reported scene of disorder. In the meantime, the provost marshal, with an assistant, proceeded to the scene and, upon observing the troops moving along in good order, assumed that the area of difficulty must be farther along the road toward Gurdon. He dropped his assistant and set out toward the town. Following his departure, a sergeant of state police arrived with state troopers and a deputized force. State troopers, using insulting epithets to both the troops and their officers, ordered the marching unit off the road and into a ditch lately filled with rain and into nearby woods, while armed deputies, in civilian clothes and therefore civilians as far as the troops could see, stood by. When one of the officers protested the police actions and epithets, a state policeman removed his glasses and struck the "Yankee nigger lover" in the face. Military police had by now arrived at the scene but, until the white lieutenant was struck, their commander, the provost marshal's assistant left at the scene earlier, made no move to interfere. Some of the Negro soldiers, observing that neither they nor their white officers apparently had police protection in

Arkansas, left their battalion and, hitch-hiking or by public transportation, made their way back to Fort Custer. At least one soldier, without money and feeling that moving north or east through the Gurdon area was too dangerous, went southwest through Texas into California. He picked cotton in Arizona and picked figs and cut grapes in Fresno for money for food; he then hopped trains to Fort Warren, Wyoming, where he intended to give himself up, hoping for transportation back to Fort Custer. On learning through rumor that "fugitives" from Arkansas were to be returned there, he left on a wine tank car for Omaha, rode other trains into Michigan, and eventually reached Detroit on 5 September.
The bewilderment and fear of the troops in the face of the Gurdon incident and its implications for morale and discipline among Negro troops in general were probably of greater import than the incident itself. A soldier's letter on the affair reveals to some extent the disorganization and demoralization it caused:
We are scared almost to death. Yesterday we went on a 10 mile hike alongside of the highway off the concrete. All of a sudden six truck loads of mobsters came sizzling down the highway in the other direction. They jumped out with guns and sub-machine guns and [revolvers] drawn, cursing, slapping and saying unheard of things. Sis it was awful. They took us off the highway into the woods. Daring anyone to say a word, they hit two of our white officers who try to say something back. But the bad part of it all, the military police were among them and against us. The State police passed out ammunition to the civilians. We are now about five miles down in the woods hoping that they don't come down here. No one has pitched a single tent today, nor yesterday, we are afraid to, half of our company has left for Michigan already, hoboing. Few have train fare, others went deeper into the woods.
We had a detail down here in a little town called Guidon [sic] working at the depot, when some of the officers went down there they had been stopped by a mob, threatened their lives if they did not leave town in five minutes-yet they could not go down the highway, the only way they know to go. Our officers are nearly all as afraid as we are. They call them "Yankee Nigger lovers," us black "Yankees."
We have guards, guarding a place and the State police deliberately came off the highway, took his gun (rifle) which was empty and beat Yankee Doodle on his head. These people are crazy, stone crazy. Or I am. Yesterday one of our trucks went to get some eats and they wouldn't let us get any. The officers asked that we all be sent back to Fort Custer. None of us can show our faces except in these woods, we can't be seen on or even near the highway. We are undecided now, we all want to know what we are going to do? 9
Many troops became certain that there was no protection available for them in the South and little understanding from the Army, especially after six of their number were tried by courts-martial and several of their officers whom the men considered to have aided them were relieved.10 Despite Hastie's recommendation that, to dispel the notion that the Army had viewed the disturbance with complacency, the War Department should issue a statement summarizing the facts in the case, announce the punitive steps taken toward

the military police officers as well as toward members of the battalion, and announce the referral of the record to the Department of Justice for such action as might be proper under federal statutes, it was decided that no useful purpose "so far as the best interests of the Army are concerned" would be served by so doing.11 Both informal and, later, formal requests for the opinion of the Attorney General in the matter resulted in the decision that, since state troopers interceded at the request of military police, there was no suitable basis for federal action.12
Months later the battalion had not regained normal morale and discipline, as evidenced by excessively high rates of company punishment, confinements, and arrests; excessive hospital, sick in quarters, and venereal rates; lax military courtesy; and general deficiencies in appearance and posture.13
Other incidents, all indicative of a more or less serious state of affairs, continued to occur during that last peacetime summer: in Galveston, a disturbance between Negro troops from Camp Wallace and Negro city policemen, at Camp Livingston, Louisiana, a disturbance following newspaper publication of photographs of a staff sergeant beaten during an arrest; rumors and reports of murders at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, and Camp Shelby, Mississippi; brawls between soldiers and military police at Camp Davis, North Carolina; and reports of unrest and a "difficult situation" at Camp Stewart, Georgia.14
Through all of these ran the common thread of friction between Negro soldiers and both city and military policemen. Where Negro military policemen were used, generally on a temporary basis in the Negro sections of towns, they were usually unarmed, increasing their difficulties in the control of troops. Most of the disturbances were followed by newspaper publicity, not always accurate-the papers could not always get facts from local or other public relations officers and took what they could find to support what became, in the Negro press, a campaign for armed Negro military police and, at times, in the local white press, a campaign for the removal of Negro military police embracing, in some instances, the removal of all Negro soldiers. Widely publicized incidents were followed by what amounted to avalanches of letters and petitions of protest or suggestions to the War Department, most of them coming from sincere persons and organizations but some of them from anti-preparedness, isolationist, far left, anti-Negro, and anti-Army sources.15

The War Department dispatched investigators to the scenes of most of these disturbances, while local authorities made their own inquiries. Investigations and resulting recommendations, running into the hundreds, sometimes took months and seldom applied to more than the specific case at hand. They had general corrective application only insofar as they served as precedents for later cases. Nevertheless, it was obvious by 1942 that the relations between Negro soldiers and both military and civilian police had reached so unhealthy a point in many parts of the country that future disorders could be expected unless steps were taken to prevent them.16
As yet no major disturbances in which Negro troops were the mass aggressors had occurred. But the events of early 1942 left doubts that Negro troops, with access to ammunition and with increasing tensions growing out of their relations with town and military police, would long remain quiescent. The first of a new series of disturbances occurred on to January 1942 in Alexandria, Louisiana, the crowded camp town for Camps Polk, Livingston, Beauregard, and Claiborne and for three airfields: Alexandria, Pollock, and Esler. Alexandria, sometimes used by as many as 30,000 soldiers at the height of the war, was the scene of numerous tension-born incidents. The 1942 trouble reached riot proportions, involving hundreds of soldiers and civilians, after the clubbing of a Negro soldier by a military policeman in front of a theater in the heart of the Negro district. In March, large crowds gathered in Little Rock while military police attempted to arrest a Negro soldier. The soldier was finally shot by a civilian policeman. "I would not be surprised if this is not the Alexandria situation repeated, reason and methods both," the editor of the Kansas City Call wired to judge Hastie.17 On 1 April, at Tuskegee, Alabama, friction between armed Negro military police from the nearby airfield and townsfolk, brewing since January, came to a head. A Negro military policeman took a soldier from the custody of a white city policeman at gunpoint. City police, reinforced by a deputy sheriff, two Alabama state policemen, and about fifteen white civilians armed with shotguns, took the soldier back from military police in a scuffle, during which a military policeman who had drawn his pistol was beaten and the remainder of the military patrol disarmed. A large group of soldiers and civilians gathered. White officers from the post residing in the town rounded up most of the soldiers and returned them to camp, but not before soldiers on the post had become alarmed at the prospect that armed townsfolk might attack the airfield. At Fort Dix, New Jersey, on 2 April, a gun battle between white military police and Negro soldiers, developing out of an argument over the use of a telephone booth, resulted in the deaths of one white MP and two Negro soldiers. In May, a fight between two Negro soldiers from Mitchel Field developed into a free-for-all between civilian

police and colored civilians in Hempstead, New York.18 Moreover, inspectors and observers were reporting that smoldering resentments lay just under the surface in many other places, ready to burst forth on provocation.
First Correctives
After the disturbances of the summer of 1941, the first steps toward needed correctives were taken. Following the Fort Jackson incident, directions to adhere more closely to regulations on the protection of ammunition were issued.19 After Fort Bragg, closer attention to the selection and training of military policemen and provost marshals was recommended. The organization of temporary detachments of untrained military policemen, the failure to use Negro military policemen in camps and towns with large numbers of Negro soldiers, and the close liaison between civilian and military police in many towns, a condition tending to indoctrinate soldier police with the methods and points of view of local civilians, were all severely criticized. The improper training and conduct of military police as revealed during the summer of 1941 and the lack of a central agency to establish
doctrine, provide training, and supervise organization and procurement of personnel for military police units were remedied by the establishment of the Corps of Military Police under the Provost Marshal General on 26 September 1941. With the urging of judge Hastie and upon the recommendation of Maj. Gen. Allen W. Gullion, the new Provost Marshal General, the use of Negro military policemen by camps with sizable bodies of Negro troops was directed .20 Some local commanders and the Provost Marshal General resisted certain of the recommendations, especially those which directed that, for psychological reasons, town military police headquarters be divorced from city police stations.21 Townsfolk sometimes resisted the use of Negro military police, especially in cities where local Negroes had been exerting pressures for appointment of Negro civilian police.22 The seriousness of the situation was impressed upon local commanders not only by communications from the War Department and service commands but also by recurring incidents of friction.
A continuing problem was the quality of military policemen available for duty. Although personnel officers and the Corps of Military Police tried to obtain

high caliber men, the number of poorly qualified men gravitating to it remained large. "I am fully conscious of the importance of the primary war effort and the need for first-class fighting troops and I am willing that the military police units shall have their share of those who are morally and physically crippled," General Gullion protested in March 1942, "but I think I ought not to be required to take them all." 23
Between station complement and tactical units on the same post tense feelings were often common. With military police detachments a part of station complements this feeling was often heightened when tactical units were Negro. It was sometimes necessary for commanders to make strong remonstrances about the treatment of Negro soldiers by police under post control. In one instance, where a post reported that, since "the force employed by the Military Policeman was not excessive or unwarranted" no disciplinary action for beating a soldier need be taken, the division commander of the soldier involved sharply replied:
1. I do not concur with the conclusions reached by your investigating officer. The use of unwarranted force by members of your Military Police Detachment is becoming altogether too prevalent and I feel that some of your Military Police are going out of their way to look for instances.
2. In this particular case it seems to me that the Military Policeman went out of his way to find fault with a soldier who was complying with his orders. He was told to return to the Post and upon turning away to comply with the order he located the tie and put it on. It appears to me that the Military Policeman was beyond his rights in following the soldier and accusing him of lying.
3. I do not understand why it is necessary for two Military Policemen to use their clubs to subdue one man. The use of clubs should be rare indeed, and I feel that too many instances are being reported to this headquarters which are entirely unwarranted and which reveal a tendency on the part of your people to assume a bullying attitude unnecessarily.24
Ill feeling between troops and military police, founded on experiences of this type, was not uncommon nor was it confined to Negro troops and white police. At Fort Huachuca, where Negro police were used, it existed to some extent; a Thanksgiving Day 1942 disturbance in Phoenix, Arizona, was between members of a Negro infantry unit and Negro military police.25 But where both troops and police were of different colors, where both brought their civilian attitudes into the Army with them-the one a distrust of police conditioned by long experience and the other a disregard for Negroes conditioned by an equally long apprenticeship-special care in training, discipline, and supervision was necessary to prevent recurring irritations of old, still unhealed wounds.
In the average command, action designed to prevent physical friction consisted of more or less elaborate precautionary directives on the handling and use of ammunition in Negro units. To officers, the receipt of such precautionary directives often produced a new

burden to be added to the many others already required in duty with Negro units. One commander found his headquarters' precautionary orders somewhat baffling:
Colonel H--- stated that these secret orders grew out of the great concern of the higher command over the possibility of a negro riot or outbreak. He mentioned an incident with which I was unfamiliar purported to have taken place in 1940 in Brownsville, Texas. He mentioned a 1917 episode at Houston, Texas, and also a quite recent incident near Beaumont, Texas, where a negro soldier was shot by a civilian police officer. This action indicating concern of the higher command was somewhat surprising to me because my observation of my own battalion gave me no indication of the faintest possibility of such an occurrence. In fact those familiar with the newness of this organization and the inexperience of the personnel of this organization have complimented the battalion numerous times on the many different phases of its administration and training.26
Thereafter this battalion commander was visited by the executive officer of his training group and the incoming post commander, who personally repeated the instructions. Yet no indications of a tendency on the part of his men, either openly or surreptitiously, to collect ammunition had been noted. The commander explained the excessive caution of his check methods to his men by pointing out the necessity of saving their short supply of ammunition and by the necessity of guaranteeing individual safety.27
In many another unit no satisfactory explanation was possible. The detailed searches of barracks areas conducted on some posts, including the use of mine detectors to aid in the location of ammunition presumably buried under barracks, increased the apprehension of soldiers and bulwarked their distrust of headquarters' attitudes toward them. In some areas the unrelieved tenseness of units itself was responsible for incidents which might not have occurred otherwise. Normal precautions in the safeguarding of weapons, where followed in all units, could be productive of good results, but abnormal methods, especially when obviously centered on Negro units, often heightened rather than lessened the possibility of disturbances.
Reactions and Resolutions
Judge Hastie, attempting to find a positive solution to racial friction such as that at Fort Bragg, suggested to the Morale Branch of The Adjutant General's Office shortly after that disturbance that informal discussion groups among representative Negro and white soldiers on the same post might cause them to arrive at a "better understanding and more wholesome relationships. It is apparent, I believe," Hastie continued, "that we do not solve such problems by trying to keep colored and white soldiers away from each other." Brig. Gen. James A. Ulio, then chief of the Morale Branch, replied that any discussion of such a proposal would have to await the result of the investigation in progress at Fort Bragg.28 Hastie, citing the experience of the Sixth Corps Area

at its Savanna, Illinois, ordnance depot, had already suggested that camps with large Negro populations could make good use of Negro morale officers. At the same time that his soldier discussion proposal was returned, he was reminded that the assignment of morale officers, like morale itself, was a function of command and that the War Department would endeavor to supply morale officers only upon indication that they were not available within commands.29
The establishment in late 1941 of an autonomous War Department Special Service Branch, with General Osborn as director, provided a new vehicle for considering the general problem of military and civilian disorders and tensions affecting Negro-white relations. When inviting Dr. Donald Young, University of Pennsylvania and Social Science Research Council authority on minority problems, to attend a meeting of morale officers on 26-27 January 1942, General Osborn expressed himself "increasingly concerned" about the influence of the Negro press and intelligentsia on the Negro soldier. He was thinking, he wrote Young, of obtaining a Negro for his Planning Division.30 No War Department headquarters planning office, at this time, had a Negro, civilian or military, on its staff, and General Osborn wanted advice on this as well as on broader problems.
In February, Young and the chief of General Osborn's Planning Division discussed the contributions which the new branch and related agencies might make toward reducing tensions arising out of the increased use of Negro troops. Young suggested that two or three Negro officers be assigned to the Special Service Branch for general duties and to act as sources of information and liaison with the press, civilian groups, and individuals. Civilian consultants, as for example Negro physicians, might be used on special projects. The Negro press, Young cautioned, had limited circulation and an overestimated influence; if special information was sent to Negro papers, their approach might change. Neither the press nor Negroes in general expected major changes in policy, Young believed, but their news stories had to follow racial interests. To make Negro civilians feel that their interests were not being ignored, as was currently the case, unfavorable incidents could be countered by accounts of positive action taken on related matters. Both the Bureau of Public Relations and the Special Service Branch should provide more publicity-posters, movies, and news about Negro soldiers. Moreover, Young counseled, Negro troops should be used in a routine, matter-of-fact way wherever possible, at home and abroad, and news about them should be handled accordingly.31 No similar set of positive ameliorative recommendations was to reach the War Department during the war. Though each recommendation was eventually adopted in some form, in the winter of 1941-42 no one was ready to take action on any one of these measures. General Osborn inclined to the belief that too much discussion and

emotional emphasis on the problem had already proved harmful .32
In the meantime, Hastie continued his efforts to lessen growing tensions between white and Negro troops. After a visit to Fort Dix in the spring of 1942, he suggested two more ameliorative steps, the first of which, in different forms, was to be suggested many times from many sources before it was adopted: that the Bureau of Public Relations and the Special Service Branch co-operate on an educational program designed to influence the racial attitudes of both white and colored soldiers,33 and that the General Staff be urged to adopt a policy of assigning Negro special service officers to units whose tables of organization called for such an officer. The Negro officer, Hastie felt, would generally be more aware of the educational needs of Negro soldiers and would find such soldiers more responsive to him than to a white officer.34 Later in the month, the NAACP suggested to General Osborn that a series of lectures be prepared for troops by a committee consisting of persons like Mark Ethridge, Frank P. Graham, Hastie, Herbert Agar, and Charles Houston. General Osborn thought this proposal a good one.35 Under Secretary Patterson and his assistant, Howard C. Petersen, agreed that the Hastie proposals had "real merit." 36 Special Service was willing to undertake the job, but, it reminded the Under Secretary, assigning officers to field units was outside its powers. Nevertheless, it would encourage the selection of Negro officers for special service duties.37 In its educational film program, Special Service had already taken the first steps toward the preparation of a film on Negro soldiers "including a history of colored soldiers since Attucks of the Revolutionary War fame." 38 But neither this, the larger educational program, nor the program on the use of Negro morale officers in the field was to come to fruition for more than a year.
Surveying the situation in June 1942, the War Department's Intelligence Division emphasized the possibility of German and Japanese plus Communist and Negro press agitation as sources of disturbances. But, at the same time, the division reported that, after surveying investigations of previous disorders, no known subversive influences among Negro troops could be connected with dis-

orders that had occurred. "The investigators have been aware of the several types of subversive groups at work among the Negro population," G-2 reported, "but have been unable to discover evidence of action by these groups in the Armed forces, by actual agents." G-2 concluded that the location of troops, the lack of discipline, police-especially military police-methods, and lack of recreational facilities were all factors leading to disturbances among Negro troops. The division recommended that military police be more highly trained and more thoroughly supervised in localities with Negro troops; that more attention be paid to disciplinary training among Negro troops; that movement and stationing of Negro troops in areas differing from their home environments be kept at a minimum; that racial tolerance and respect for the uniform "irrespective of the race, color, or previous condition of servitude of the wearer" be increasingly emphasized in the initial training of all inductees and that it be insisted upon throughout the services; and that "all possible steps should be taken to reduce and control the publication of inflammatory and vituperative articles in the colored press." 39
While the G-2 paper was a comprehensive summary of the situation as it existed and of the types of correctives frequently proposed up to then, the other staff divisions and the major command headquarters to which it was circulated for comment were not too strongly impressed. G-3 informed G-2 that it was sending the study to other offices and "also that the recommendations were already covered by War Department policy.40 "It appears to contribute nothing very tangible," General McNair of Army Ground Forces noted when his G-3 suggested that the report be distributed to army and corps commanders.41 General Peterson, The Inspector General, who received the same survey later,42 replied by citing the findings and recommendations made by Col. Elliot D. Cooke on his special mission for the Chief of Staff completed in the late spring of 1942.43 Colonel Cooke had concluded that "Bi-racial incidents in the Army are not premeditated and most of them could have been avoided through proper education, leadership and discipline"; that "the colored soldier is loyal, but an increasing amount of propaganda is being promulgated by outside agencies in an effort to foster demands for post-war privileges in payment for present military services"; and that "racial prejudice exists to some extent in the Army itself. Many officers and men find it difficult to alter hereditary feelings and emotions." He had felt that his mission had focused the attention of commanders on the necessity of furnishing "all troops with equal facilities, of treating them justly, and enforcing like discipline." The Inspec-

tor General agreed then and later with these observations. But he felt in September 1942 that too little time had passed to permit a general judgment on progress achieved in adjusting racial relations. Reports of inspection, "particularly those of The Inspector General and Brigadier General B. O. Davis," showed satisfactory progress in the matter, General Peterson observed.44
Though there were no further large disturbances in the summer of 1942, signs of possible outbreaks continued. Developing "signs of growing tension and deliberate stimulation of racial antagonisms in the South," were worthy of closer attention, judge Hastie informed Under Secretary Patterson in August. The situation was serious enough, Hastie suggested, for the President to mention in a radio speech the importance of race relations at home and abroad as they affected global conflict. Secretary Stimson, he continued, might issue a statement concerning the seriousness of the military situation, pointing out that "Military authorities must and do rely upon public officials and private citizens to cooperate in the maintenance of amicable relationships between the military and civilian communities." Citing the experience of Houston, Texas, where military and civilian leaders had established a successful interracial citizens' committee to work on local tensions, Hastie suggested that local commanders and public relations officers "be enjoined to increase their efforts" to win local civilian co-operation in handling local problems. Military intelligence might be asked to channel information about organized efforts to stir up violence against Negro soldiers and defense workers so that the Department of justice might co-operate where advisable. Hastie again recommended that soldiers be indoctrinated with the necessity for inter racial co-operation:
Such a campaign might effectively be launched by a special order to be read simultaneously throughout the armed forces (as was done recently in tribute to our Chinese allies) pointing out the important role and essential service of Negro, Filipino, American Indian, foreign born, and other minorities in our Army, and calling for close cooperation based upon the mutual respect of men whose lives are dedicated to victory in a common cause. Of course, much of the effectiveness of such a proclamation would depend upon the follow-up of local commanders within their respective units.45
Under Secretary Patterson, after a discussion with Maj. Gen. Alexander D. Surles of the Bureau of Public Relations and Judge Hastie on the matter, suggested in the War Council that the problem had grown too large to be handled by the War Department alone and that perhaps Secretary Stimson should take it to the President or send "some discreet officer to talk with mayors and chiefs of police in the Southern States in the hope of obtaining cooperation." 46
Public Approaches
The War Department, answering most citizens' inquiries and complaints about racial violence involving soldiers, at first relied on precedent letters similar in tone to those of 1939-40, while continuing to deny that much was wrong.

The Negro press and organizations were indirectly accused of helping foment disturbances and of using them as leverage for greater demands. "It appears to the War Department," Under Secretary Patterson wrote to Fiorello La Guardia, the Director of Civilian Defense, "that, with respect to the isolated cases referred to, certain organizations and certain sections of the press are utilizing them to promote, in the Army, social gains which have not been attained in the country as a whole and [are] using the Army as a means of promoting such gains among the civilian population. I believe that you will agree with the War Department that such activities are most unfortunate, because they materially impede the War Department in its present desire to build promptly and efficiently an Army capable of defending the nation in the existing crisis and organized so that it will fit into the accepted social order of this country." He emphasized further that the vast majority of Negro men and units had been involved in no difficulties and that the press had ignored those "commendable conditions and the excellent relationship between a large part of our negro units and our white units and between negro soldiers and civilians." 47
Magazines and newspapers of varying points of view began to show concern over disorders as they grew more widespread. After the Alexandria riot, the magazine Common Sense, which had shown an interest in the military handling of racial matters before, suggested that the Army's difficulties were a part of a larger whole:
The incident, regardless of who was in the right, is a symptom. The leaders of the most responsible Negro organizations have said that the 13,000,000 Negroes in America are not "wholeheartedly and unreservedly" behind this war. It is not Hitler's fault that they are not. It is our fault. Negroes are discriminated against in our armed forces. They are discriminated against in defense industries. They are even discriminated against by many unions . . . .48
Commenting on the same disturbances, the Catholic journal, The Commonweal, observed that "The natural reaction of the colored population is to wonder just how much it is worth their while to join in a fight which is generally advertised as a fight for 'democracy' when their own share of democracy is at present so small and gives no promise of being much greater in the future." 49 After Fort Dix, Douglas Southall Freeman's Richmond News Leader editorialized:
If Negro soldiers are to be drafted into the army or are to be accepted as volunteers, they must be treated as fellow-soldiers and not as vassals or as racial inferiors. Those white Americans who prefer to put racial discrimination above national defense must justify their creed by their conduct. If they insist on having Negroes in the Army, they must themselves do more. As the decision has been to employ Negro troops of every type, those troops must not be the victim of any sort of discrimination. They are entitled to the same uniform, the same food, the same facilities that other soldiers enjoy. As the South well knows upon longer and closer experience than the North has had, this does not mean that either whites or Negroes are at their best in the same com-

pany, the same branch, the same mess. They are not . . . [but] boys can be brought to see that they must fight-together and not against each other.50
The New York Negro paper, the Amsterdam Star-News, like most other Negro journals, took a more trenchant view of matters:
They [Negro soldiers] cherish a deep resentment against the vicious race persecution which they and their forbears have long endured. They feel that they are soon to go overseas to fight for freedom over there. When their comparative new-found freedom is challenged by Southern military police and prejudiced superiors, they fight for freedom over here.51
Emergency agencies of the government, especially those whose job it was to deal with aspects of civilian morale and mobilization for the full wartime use of national human resources, began to show their own interest in the Army's racial problems. Archibald MacLeish's Office of Facts and Figures had found that from among the many grievances standing between full psychological support of the war by the Negro public in the first months after Pearl Harbor, the "fact of discrimination in the armed services of the United States is perhaps the most bitter."52 Fiorello La Guardia's Office of Civilian Defense was finding similar barriers to its work with civilian groups.53 From the point of view of their civilian interests, both offices wished to know what, in addition to its already announced policies, the War Department was planning to do to reduce existing tensions.
In the late summer of 1942, the Office of War Information, successor agency to the Office of Facts and Figures, and the Research Branch of Special Service began to plan joint surveys of camps and communities. The military agency was to study camps and quasi-military institutions, such as USO clubs, while the civilian agency worked with civilian communities on civilian attitudes, contents of local newspapers, and civilian institutions such as stores and dance halls. Their aim was to develop "a procedure which would enable us to deploy representatives of our branch and the Office of War Information to any tension area on a few days' notice, such that we can come back in a couple of weeks or less with a quick and reliable report."54 While such quickly deployable teams were not developed, both agencies subsequently directed general surveys with similar aims.
From civilian communities, renewed agitation for the immediate removal of Negro troops from certain locations and qualms about placing them in others followed in the wake of concern over disturbances. The reiterated order to keep northern Negroes North and southern Negroes South, found primarily impractical, was a product of this period.55 The difficulty in finding a camp location for the 92d Division was partially the result of this concern. When the "ex-

plosive" situation at Little Rock was advanced as a reason for not placing a combat team there, Army Ground Forces, citing Secretary Stimson's strictures against the exclusion of Negroes from maneuvers scheduled for Arkansas, and stating that disturbances had occurred in a number of other places, resignedly observed that "It is believed that racial difficulties will occur in almost all sections of the United States, and that some means of dealing with the problem, other than removing Negro troops from otherwise desirable stations will have to be found." 56
Renewal and Reassessment
In the spring of 1943 serious disorders began again. In the preceding months, though isolated skirmishes and incidents occurred at individual posts, becoming a common occurrence at some, no significant event which could be considered a general outbreak of racial friction had transpired. During these months the slow process of building toward an open flare-up had been aided by a steady downward drop of morale in many Negro units. By early summer, the harvest of racial antagonism was beginning to assume bumper proportions. Serious disorders occurred at Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi; Camp Stewart, Georgia; Lake Charles, Louisiana; March Field and Camp San Luis Obispo, California; Fort Bliss, Texas; Camp Phillips, Kansas; Camp Breckinriidge, Kentucky; and Camp Shenango, Pennsylvania. Other camps had lesser disorders and rumors of unrest.
The disorders of 1943 differed from those of preceding years. They involved, for the most part, a larger number of troops. They occurred more frequently in the camps themselves where the possibility of mass conflict between men of Negro and white units was greater. Negro troops were as likely to be the immediate aggressors as white troops and civilians. Two of the disorders, those at Camps Van Dorn and Stewart, were especially serious, both for their potentialities and for their effects on the revision of plans for the general employment of Negro troops. Both incidents involved combat troops of particular units, rather than anonymous groups of soldiers from several units, aided and abetted or provoked by civilians and police in the crowded centers of towns on pay nights. Often disorders symbolized the breaking point both of the patience of the troops involved and of the tolerance of the War Department and its higher commands.
Trouble at Camp Van Dorn in May, involving the 364th Infantry, had its beginnings months before. It was intimately entwined with the previous career of the regiment. The 364th had been activated as the '367th Infantry, one of the new Regular Army units, on 25 March 1941. Much of its training took place at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, during the period of the Columbia friction. Despite the usual low range of AGCT scores and lack of wide civilian experience among its men, it became, in its first year, a relatively well-trained unit. The 367th, less its first battalion, was selected to furnish the 24th Infantry with personnel qualified for foreign service when that regiment became the first Negro infantry unit to move overseas in

April 1942. Its 1st Battalion was alerted for duty with the Liberia Task Force in March 1942, separating from the regiment and proceeding to the Charleston port the following month. Not until January 1943 did it sail from New York. In the meantime, the remainder of the regiment, not knowing that its 1st Battalion had been re-designated the 367th Infantry Battalion (Separate) , waited either to refill or to rejoin its 1st Battalion. Necessarily, because of the secrecy of wartime movements, it could not be informed of the destination of its 1st Battalion nor of its future relations with it. Requests on the part of the regiment to be allowed to refill its 1st Battalion could not be met, for there was no provision in the troop basis for an additional battalion in a regiment all of whose battalions were already active. Because the 1st Battalion had been shipped, with all equipment marked as belonging to the 367th Infantry, the regiment, minus its 1st Battalion, was finally redesignated the 364th Infantry. A new 1st Battalion was formed, for by now it was clear that the remainder of the regiment would not join the detached battalion.57 The regiment, by now refilled with a considerable proportion of new men and faced with retraining, was assigned to the Western Defense Command's Southern Land Frontier Sector for protective guard duty.
While stationed in Phoenix, Arizona, the regiment became involved in two serious disturbances. In the first of these about 500 men of the unit refused to disperse when ordered to do so by the regimental commander. In the second, occurring on Thanksgiving night of 1942, approximately 100 men of the regiment engaged in a shooting affray with a detachment of Negro military police in Phoenix, with the result that one officer, one enlisted man, and one civilian were killed and twelve enlisted men were seriously wounded. As a result of this disturbance, sixteen members of the regiment were tried by general court-martial, each receiving a sentence of fifty years. The regiment received a new commander and executive officer. These officers tried to eliminate individuals who might be a source of future difficulties. About fifty men were transferred from the regiment during this process. To overcome some of the basic causes of friction within the regiment, a new camp with improved recreational facilities was provided. The new commander was certain that the regiment had returned to a normal state of discipline. The men of the unit, according to intelligence operatives, were equally certain that they had profited from the changes following the clashes.
The Western Defense Command now began to recommend that the regiment be put to other use, and, specifically, that it be considered for employment overseas since "its long retention at this station is likely to produce a deterioration in its present efficiency." 58 In May 1943 the regiment was ordered to Camp Van Dorn, Mississippi, for retraining by Army Ground Forces, a procedure generally followed for units from the defense commands before shipment overseas.
Camp Van Dorn was not only in Mississippi, a fact which members of the 

regiment, arriving from Phoenix, viewed as a change distinctly for the worse; it was also one of the more isolated of the larger camps located in that state. The nearest town, Centreville, had a normal population of less than 1,200. The nearest sizable towns, McComb, Baton Rouge, and Natchez, were from forty to fifty miles away. Centreville had little to offer any troops in the way of recreation or entertainment, and the prevailing segregation laws and absence of compensating facilities on the post made the men of the 364th especially resentful. Some viewed the change in location as punishment for their continuing difficulties in Phoenix, which had grown distinctly cooler toward their presence as the months passed.59
The 364th arrived at Van Dorn in two groups, the first on 26 May and the second on 28 May. The first group, bragging that they were going to "take over" the camp, the town of Centreville, and, if necessary, the state of Mississippi, began to show their resentment to the area to which they had been transferred the day after their arrival. A number of 364th men, visiting the Negro area service club, refused to obey the rules of the club. They arrived in various states of partial uniform, refused to doff caps, used indecent language to the hostesses, and brought beer into the club from a post exchange in violation of camp rules. An hour after the regular closing time, the hostess and the noncommissioned officers in charge were still attempting to clear men of the unit from the building. The following night, after the arrival of the second contingent of the regiment, an exchange manager closed his building because of the threatening conduct of men who insisted that exchange employees had been rude and uncivil to them. Later, several hundred men, most of them from the 364th, broke into the exchange, rifling the stock and damaging equipment. On the next night, a Saturday, a group of about 75 men from the unit visited Centreville and roamed about the town, reportedly using indecent and profane language. The group was accosted by the town chief of police and a number of deputized townsfolk armed with shotguns. Upon arrival of a military police officer, the group dispersed and returned to camp.
On Sunday evening, 30 May, the incident occurred which, considering the rising temper of the regiment, the town, and the remainder of the camp, could have caused a general outbreak. A private from the regiment was accosted outside the reservation by a military policeman and questioned about his improper uniform and lack of a pass. During a fight which followed, the county sheriff arrived. The soldier, attempting to flee, was shot and killed by the sheriff. The commanding officer of the regiment, informed of his soldier's death, dispatched all officers to their respective units and proceeded, with the regimental staff, to the barracks area of the company to which the soldier belonged. There he found the entire company milling around in an uproar, threatening to break into the supply room for rifles and ammunition. He ordered firing pins removed from all rifles and placed an officer guard over the supply room. While this company was being quieted, men of another company

stormed their supply room and obtained a number of rifles. Shortly thereafter a crowd of several hundred soldiers gathered near the regimental exchange. A riot squad, made up of Negro military policemen, fired into the crowd when it attempted to rush them. One soldier was wounded by this volley. The regimental commander and his chaplain arrived at this point. After talking and pleading with the men, the commander quieted the group, assembled his battalions, and marched the regiment to its barracks area where the entire unit was confined. It took several days of constant searching, which itself served to keep tension high, to locate and recover all missing rifles. Citizens of the nearby town and county began to arm themselves and to call for an immediate transfer of the regiment.
When apprised of the situation the commander of Army Ground Forces, General McNair, whose command in the past had been faced frequently with demands for the removal of Negro troops from specific communities, determined that to transfer the 364th Infantry to another station would be the worst possible solution, since it was not only what the local citizens wanted but also a possible motive for the unit's actions. He proposed that the regiment be confined to its own area until it disclosed "its real troublemakers" and that it be deprived of all its privileges until it "demonstrated its worthiness." He proposed further that the citizens of Centreville and other nearby communities be assured that no member of the unit would be permitted to enter these towns until the citizens themselves asked that the ban be lifted. In the meantime, using extra officers if necessary, a training program would be provided which would keep the regiment too busy to allow time for any further demonstrations.60
The Inspector General agreed that the proposed action, though "drastic and yet untried," might be valuable under the circumstances. Citizens of the area would probably protest the retention of the regiment at its station, and Negroes would probably protest the disciplinary action taken, but, nevertheless, except for giving the local citizenry control of the future policy of permitting troops to visit surrounding towns-military authorities should be left to determine, on the basis of future developments, when the regiment should return to a normal status-General Peterson recommended that the action proposed be tried. The War Department approved.61
Though restrictive disciplinary measures, plus command efforts, brought an outward calm to the regiment, the resentment and disturbed morale of the unit did not alter significantly. Men of the regiment were now aware that they were to be retained at Camp Van Dorn and that over their unit lay the stigma of unusual punishment. A month after the initial Van Dorn disturbances, the unit became embroiled again in an on-post demonstration of near-riot proportions. On the evening of 3 July 1943, a large number of girls had been brought in from neighboring towns for a dance. To help pay their transportation costs, tickets to the dance were sold to soldiers at fifty cents each. Before the dance could start, soldiers, most of them from

the 364th Infantry, 62 began pouring into the service club where the dance was to be held. Coming through side doors and windows as well as through the main entrance, they overran the club. The club assistants, with the help of a number of first sergeants of the regiment, tried to get the building cleared, but the crowd refused to leave. As fast as a few departed through doors, others poured in through windows. The regimental guard and a detachment of Negro military police were called. The field officer of the day, a lieutenant colonel, arrived and, using the public address system set up for the dance, explained the rules for the dance and directed all soldiers to leave the building. The crowd remained. The officer of the day then called for assistance from an alerted white unit, a battalion of the 99th Infantry Division. This battalion arrived, cleared the hall, and dispersed the crowd, now grown to about 2,000.63
With the approach of the departure date of the alerted 99th Division, the retention of the 364th Infantry at Van Dorn as the largest single infantry unit on the post took on new significance. Although no ammunition had been issued the unit and the bolts of all rifles had been removed, The Inspector General felt that, "due to the attitude of civilians in this locality relative to racial matters and to the presence of large numbers of northern Negroes, there exists considerable danger of racial disturbances in the general vicinity of this camp." The inspecting officer recommended that the unit be transferred overseas.64
The Third Army, however, was now convinced that the unit would not be ready until 7 March 1944.65 No active theater required a separate infantry regiment. The Operations Division, requested to prevent further deferment of the regiment beyond 7 March, finally arranged for it to replace a white separate regiment in the Aleutians. There it performed garrison duties for the rest of the war.
Decision on the 364th Infantry was complicated by events of the few days following its initial difficulties at Camp Van Dorn. At Camp Stewart, Georgia, near Savannah, in the first week of June, another and larger disturbance involving units of the Antiaircraft Training Command occurred.
The disturbance at Camp Stewart had been brewing for some time. Adverse conditions on this post and in Savannah had been brought to the attention of the War Department as early as 1941.66 Savannah was a war-crowded town. In addition to its normal population of about 95,000, there were two shipyards close to the city employing about 75,000 people. Camp Stewart had a normal strength of between forty and fifty thousand men. The Savannah Army Air Base at Hunter Field had approximately 9,000 men. In addition, Marine Corps men from Parris Island and Navy and Coast Guard men on liberty used Savan-

nah for recreation. On Saturday nights, shipyard workers, marines, sailors, airmen, and soldiers all came to town. Camp Stewart sent weekly into the city a convoy of about 100 trucks, carrying between 1,200 and 1,500 men, sometimes 75 percent of them Negroes. Neither city nor military police, neither civilians nor volunteer organizations were able to do a great deal to provide adequately for such an influx.67 Negro troops had been complaining for months about the treatment they received from white civilians and military personnel in Savannah and at Camp Stewart. In the spring of 1943 the situation grew rapidly worse.
At this time there were fourteen Negro antiaircraft units at Camp Stewart.68 Some of these were old battalions, recently reorganized from regiments being re-formed as groups; others were newly organized battalions, three of them formed with cadres from the 369th AAA Regiment returned from Hawaii. Another of the units was the tooth AAA Gun Battalion, which had been tactically deployed at Fort Brady, Michigan, as part of the defenses of the Sault Ste. Marie area. Just before the outbreak at Camp Stewart, General Davis and Lt. Col. Davis G. Arnold had completed an investigation arising out of the receipt in the War Department of anonymous letters, petitions from civilian organizations, and others concerning conditions at the camp.69
General Davis found that dissatisfaction in the 100th Battalion and in the cadre from the 369th was general. These men, mainly from the North, many of them well educated, and fresh from service in areas where civilian customs were more favorable to them, were joined by other units in objections to the designation of latrines and other facilities by race in violation of War Department orders. They reported the usual difficulties with white military police in entering and leaving camp on pass, dissatisfaction with recreational facilities on post, with bus transportation, with treatment by military and civilian police, and with the lack of overnight lodging and meals at reasonable prices in Savannah in comparison with those available for white soldiers. The enlisted cadremen were considered quite capable-the commanding officer at the training center said, "They have the snappiest gun crews that I have ever seen in this whole place, and I go out everyday." But, in presenting their grievances to General Davis, including complaints that their officers, whom they unabashedly referred to as ninety-day wonders, did not have sufficient experience and training, they spoke so rebelliously and so recklessly that General Davis had to caution them on the demeanor expected from disciplined soldiers.
On the basis of the Davis-Arnold report, General Peterson recommended that attempts be made to improve the recreational situation in Savannah, that pass privileges be staggered to prevent overcrowding of both buses and the available facilities, that more Negro military police be employed at entrucking points, and that closer co-ordination be

developed among the proper staff and command agencies to prevent serious consequences from the existing unrest.70
Before General Peterson's recommendations could start on their way, violence flared at Camp Stewart. The central unit involved was neither the tooth Battalion nor any of the units with returnee cadres, but a unit which, approaching the end of its training, was alerted for overseas movement.
On the evening of 9 June the rumor spread through the Negro area at Camp Stewart-four of the battalion areas were empty, save for guards, because their units were on a field exercise-that a Negro woman had been raped and murdered by white soldiers after they had killed her husband. One version included military policemen among the murderers. The rumor, which was later determined to have been false, was heightened in effect by actual occurrences of the preceding few days: military policemen in vehicles with machine guns had been used to disperse a crowd gathered outside a service club during a dance, and a Negro soldier, asking for a drink of water at an ice plant in nearby Hinesville, had received a blow on the head with ice tongs instead. At about 8:3o nearly a hundred soldiers, some armed with rifles, gathered in the Negro area. Officers sought to halt the growing mob. A wild shot was fired. Military police and vehicles were ordered to the area. The first crowd moved back and broke up but a second mob, tense with excitement and anger, formed later. Gun racks and supply rooms of several Negro battalions were broken into and ammunition, rifles, and submachine guns
were removed. Some troops, bent on revenge, joined the mob; some went into the nearby woods in fear; others remained to "fight it out" and to defend their areas. To add to the confusion of the evening, gas alarms rang out in nearly every battalion area.
At about ten o'clock an approaching military police vehicle was fired on from the area of the 458th Battalion. General firing then started from this and several other battalion areas, continuing for the next two hours. Four military policemen were wounded, one seriously; a civilian bus driver, fired on as he approached the area, was slightly wounded. Shortly before midnight, a military police detail crossing a small parade ground on foot was fired on; one military policeman was killed. At 12:30 members of two white battalions moved into the area in half-tracks. The firing ceased shortly thereafter.
In the aftermath of the riot, which had not involved actual fighting between Negro and white troops, a board of officers appointed at Camp Stewart to investigate determined that the disturbance was essentially an outgrowth of long pent-up emotions and resentments. The majority of the Negro soldiers were convinced that justice and fair treatment were not to be had by them in neighboring communities and that the influence of these communities was strongly reflected in the racial policies of the command at Camp Stewart. Many Negro troops feared for their personal safety. Others, gripped by a feeling of desperation, had determined to fight back against existing abuses without regard to consequences. While frequent rumors circulated rapidly throughout the Negro units, no evidence of an organized cam-

paign fostering discontent was uncovered. The arrival of the men and officers from the tooth Battalion and 369th Regiment may have aroused "latent resentment" existing in the minds of soldiers already stationed at the camp, but the board found no evidence that the men of these units were responsible for the dissatisfaction leading to the disturbances. The one unit with all Negro officers, commanded by Lt. Col. DeMaurice Moses, was called into formation by its commander and his staff after the start of the disturbance and remained calm throughout the period. The board, despite its own findings, nevertheless fell back on older formulas, ascribing the difficulties to the stationing of Northern Negroes in the South and to the "average negro soldier's meager education, superstition, imagination and excitability" which, coupled with regimentation, made him "easily misled" and developed a "mass state of mind." It therefore recommended that charges be placed against any individuals involved against whom concrete evidence of criminal activities existed; that better machinery for getting rid of "deliberate agitators" be supplied; that special training for military police in "handling Negro soldiers" be devised; that an educational program be planned for Negro troops to "teach dangers of rumor mongering, acceptance of rumors as truth, avoidance of `chip on shoulders' attitude," and attempting to take the law into their own hands; and that the 458th Battalion be disbanded, with its enlisted men distributed to other organizations.71
These recommendations did not reach to the heart of the board's own findings. The commanding general of the Antiaircraft Command therefore did not concur with the recommendation that the chief offending unit be disbanded. Any guilty noncommissioned officers could be reduced and punished in due course; new men could be transferred into the unit. Army Ground Forces agreed with the command, saying that "This unit appears to have had an excellent record of accomplishment prior to the riot" and the time, money, and effort invested in it could still be utilized. 72 All necessary disciplinary action was already provided for in Army Regulations; the matter of indoctrinating troops was a local problem that required no sanction from higher headquarters.
In the early summer of 1943 events of a similar nature continued to come to the attention of higher headquarters. Before Camp Stewart, there were disturbances at the Fort Bliss, Texas, Antiaircraft Training Center, followed by another later in June on the local celebration of Texas' Emancipation Day (19 June, "Juneteenth"), both of which were accompanied by "isolated incidents of beating of negro troops, rock throwing, and chasing of negroes (by white troops) ." 73 At Lake Charles, Louisiana, in May a pre-embarkation disturbance arose from "last fling" activities of soldiers on pass, the arrest of a Negro soldier by a white military policeman despite the local ground rule that only Negro MP's would arrest Negro soldiers,

and a failure of other military police, including officers, to function properly.74 Angered by rough treatment of their fellows in Starkville on the Fourth of July, about fifteen Negro soldiers from Camp McCain, Mississippi, set out with arms and ammunition on the next night, heading for Starkville, seventy miles away. At nearby Duck Hill, along the Illinois Central tracks, they stopped and fired into the nearer town in retaliation. At Camp Claiborne, Louisiana, where there were approximately 8,500 Negro and 40,000 white troops, a chain of disturbances indicating low morale and poor discipline occurred during the late spring and summer, including mass raids on exchanges, involving loss of merchandise and damage to equipment; attempts by soldiers to overturn buses; and a near riot in a service club when an angry crowd, protesting the mistreatment of a soldier by a white officer, dispersed only after a tear gas candle was used.75 At the Shenango (Pennsylvania) Replacement Depot, on the evening of 14 July 1943, an altercation between Negro and white soldiers in a post exchange expanded until it involved large numbers of troops in the exchange area. This first disturbance, brought under control by white and Negro military police, was followed by another when two new prisoners, picked up for a pass violation, spread news of the earlier fracas to men in the guardhouse. Negro prisoners broke out of the guardhouse and, joined by other soldiers, seized firearms and ammunition from supply rooms. Military police, again white and Negro, killed one and wounded five other soldiers in quelling the second disturbance.76
Individual Violence
Not all of the violence and disorder in which Negro troops became involved resulted from racial friction or mass grievances. Much of it was of a purely indigenous nature, sometimes growing out of cultural traits and patterns of behavior brought into the Army from civilian life and sometimes growing out of contacts between soldiers and civilians whose lives were enmeshed in the semi underworld of the honky-tonk sections of many camp towns. Throughout the war these provided backdrop and counterpoint to racial violence sometimes difficult to distinguish from the main action and theme. In the prevailing atmosphere of alertness and sensitivity to potential racial disorders, many a street squabble or local fight, normal in war-crowded towns and camps, received attention out of proportion to its importance, for none could draw the line between a minor disorder and one that might portend a major outbreak of violence.
Sometimes civilian crowds, opposed to law enforcement in any form or conditioned to suspect that Negro soldiers

would receive less than fair treatment from police officers, came close to precipitating mass violence. In Louisville, Kentucky, in June 1943, street crowds became disorderly when white and Negro military police arrested Negro soldiers. The crowd, seeing soldiers bleeding-they had been fighting among themselves-and concluding that they had been beaten by arresting police, heaped imprecations upon the military police, calling the Negro MP's "mouthpieces for the white people." 77 When an arrested soldier refused to enter a police car in Tampa, Florida, a crowd of civilians gathered, urging other soldiers to take him away from military police. Not until an armored car arrived did the crowd disperse. Persons in the upper stories of houses continued to hurl bottles, flowerpots, and other objects into the street and upon the armored car below.78 In another type of disorder not involving racial friction, a feud between two units over the success of one soldier in dating "a much-sought-after colored girl," erupted into disorder in the Quartermaster service area at Camp Rucker, Alabama, following a beer party in one of the units.79 General disorder at a USO dance at Fort Dix, New Jersey, resulted in the death of one soldier, the wounding of two others, and the beating of one military policeman after Negro military police were called.80 
In some units, where a high state of discipline had never been achieved, acts of violence were a commonplace. Soldiers of one battalion, while on a recreation trip to Las Vegas, Nevada, became involved in an altercation with civilian and military police, colored and white, in a bar just a short distance from the truck park where their accompanying officers were asleep. One soldier was killed and three others were injured in the ensuing fight. Within the organization itself, during the training period, several men were shot accidentally or by guards while "kidding around." Shortly before the unit moved to a port of embarkation one of its mess sergeants was hacked to death in his kitchen with a cleaver by a technician fifth grade and two accomplices bent on robbing him.81 In 1944, after three years of dispersed duty in and around New York City, the 372d Infantry was removed to Camp Breckinridge, Kentucky, for retraining. There, in process of reorganization and swollen to nearly twice its normal size by new men-"infantry volunteers" who were often culls from other units-it became the victim of rapidly deteriorating discipline accompanied by continuing breeches of decorum and by acts of violence. The camp commander, as support for a request for additional military police, listed one . general and twenty-five specific examples of disorder and breeches of discipline occurring on the post between 24

May and 16 August 1944. Most of these he attributed to this unit.82 These were purely disciplinary cases, to be handled as other violations of law and order. But the line between them and racially based violence was often vague, especially in the minds of those involved as participants or as immediately responsible commanders.
Civilian Disorders
Complementing and complicating the tenseness and disorder within the military establishment were civilian racial disorders. During the summer of 1943 serious disturbances occurred in Los Angeles, Detroit, Beaumont, and New York. Rumors of riots in the offing appeared in other cities: In Houston for "Juneteenth," in Charleston for the last week in June, in Richmond over the Fourth of July weekend, in Washington on the evening chosen for a mass meeting of Negroes protesting the refusal of the local street car company to employ Negro operators, in Pittsburgh over the weekend of 10 July when 300 Negroes stormed a police station to protest the arrest of two men who refused to "move on" when ordered to do so by the police.83 That civilian and military disorders had connecting links could not be overlooked. Soldiers and sailors were involved in the Detroit and Los Angeles riots. In the Harlem riot of 1943, the precipitating event involved a Negro soldier and a white city policeman, with the policeman accusing the soldier of attempting to interfere with the arrest of a disorderly Negro woman. The rumor spread quickly that the soldier had been killed by the policeman. Rioting, most of it against property rather than against whites themselves, followed, resulting in at least five deaths and several hundred injured. 84 The possibility of further repercussions from these disturbances within the Army was viewed as a real danger.85 In Harlem, Negro and white soldiers sent into the area to clear the streets and restore order were greeted with cheers. In Detroit, however, the action of the service command in using 2,000 white soldiers only for riot duty brought immediate repercussions in Negro units. Eighty Negro soldiers at nearby Oscoda Army Air Base, mainly members of the 332d Fighter Group and the 96th Service Group, protested to the President that they, too, should have been called for this duty, charging that white soldiers helped white rioters against Negroes and saying that the

handling of the riot brought out in bold relief the helpless physical position of Negro soldiers and civilians.86 The greater fear arising from these continuing disturbances in both the civilian and military spheres was that, with all their interacting potentialities, they would interfere seriously not only with training but also with war production, handing at the same time free copy to enemy propagandists. With the political campaigns of 1944 approaching, attempts to make political capital of the increasingly serious problem were on the horizon. It would therefore behoove the Army, its legislative experts felt, to "keep its skirts clean in the matter" and avoid involvement in the coming campaign.87
Army Service Forces, which had primary responsibility for service commands and, through them, for posts, acquired after the middle of 1943 direct responsibility for increasing percentages of Negro troops. ASF began to place prevention of racial friction high on its list of problems toward the end of 1943. There was still a tendency to place the major blame for disturbances upon inadequate recreational facilities, inadequate command, and outside agitation. A representative of The Inspector General, addressing a conference of commanding generals of service commands in midsummer 1943, summed up the situation and the War Department's view of both its origin and its importance
In my opinion the toughest problem confronting service commanders today is the one of preventing disturbances involving colored troops, since it involves some matters which are not under your control. The number of such disturbances has materially increased in the last few months. High officials of the War Department are not so much concerned as to how commanders functioned in quelling the disturbances, but rather what had they done to learn that a riot or disturbance was probable and what action had they taken to prevent it.
General Peterson's information indicates that in too many instances commanding officers are too far removed from their colored troops; they are not sufficiently interested in their day-to-day welfare in providing them with reasonable recreational facilities within the post and in seeing that reasonable transportation is provided to and from recreational areas off the post; they are not enough concerned about the discrimination that may be practiced against Negroes in the surrounding country and in the lack of recreational facilities therein; they permit on their own posts discriminations which are contrary to the War Department policies and instructions; they fail to maintain appropriate standards of discipline in Negro units; they grudgingly accept Negro officers assigned to their commands and thereafter spend a good deal of time griping about the unfitness of a Negro to be an officer, rather than requiring him to meet officer standards.
In stations where conditions exist as I have just described, there grows up the feeling of unrest and resentment, which is flamed by troublemakers within the organization until it gets to the point that only a spark, which is ordinarily a false rumor,

converts an organization into a riotous mob. Some officials in Washington believe that some of the disturbances that have occurred could have been prevented had the commanders concerned functioned appropriately. I do not want to give the impression that disturbances are the fault of the commanders, but by failing to act appropriately, they facilitate the work of groups or individuals who are attempting to create unrest and later riots among Negro troops.88
As more and more Negro troops came under its direct control, Army Service Forces and its agencies explored ways and means of improving the control of racial tensions within camps and stations. Early in 1944, the continuing examination of policy concerning Negro troops was placed at the top of Army Service Forces' Classified Checklist of Current Policies, with the director of its Military Personnel Division made responsible for close observation of matters arising under these policies.89 The Inspector General, from mid-summer 1943 to the end of the year, made a series of comprehensive surveys of conditions in several camps and groups of camps. Nine specific recommendations were forwarded by him for War Department consideration. Many of these had been covered before, but from the findings of inspectors they were considered to be in need of further attention. Moreover, The Inspector General, from past reports and observations, viewed the situation as a complex of many strands which, singly or in combination, led to unrest and eventual disorder. The corrective recommendations included: (1) directives "by appropriate authority" to commanders concerned for the purpose of stressing, in the training programs of Negro troops, the necessity of "their accepting and striving to attain the proper standards of military discipline"; (2) utilization of additional Negro military police to provide more adequate and centralized control; (3) the establishment of an "active, attractive, interesting and fully coordinated recreational and entertainment program, including additional facilities therefor;" (4) the necessity of affording Negro officers "the same privileges and opportunities for advancement as those granted white officers" with the requirement that they "be held to the same high degree of leadership, efficiency, performance of duty and discipline"; (5) a clear statement of War Department policy to correct "an unwillingness of commanding officers to bring offenders to trial when the seriousness of the offense manifestly indicated the need therefor"; (6) attainment of closer co-operation of federal and state authorities toward control of venereal diseases; ('7) directives to local public relations officers requiring them to gather information on Negro personnel at posts, camps, and stations, to furnish releases to Negro papers and encouragement to the papers to use such releases "with a view to elimination from their publications of erroneous, distorted or inflammatory articles," failing which, "drastic steps" should be taken by appropriate government authorities "in cases of publication of articles which adversely affect the War effort;" (8) recommendations to commanding officers that "when there is reason to believe or suspect that there is racial unrest or that

racial disturbance is imminent within their commands, they should exercise, in such situations as may warrant it, the military censorship of postal matter authorized by the provisions of paragraph 3d, War Department Training Circular 15, dated 16 February 1943, using the utmost care and secrecy in so doing;" and (9) bringing to the attention of appropriate agencies, with a view to correction "where practicable," the lack of established eating and lodging facilities for Negro personnel traveling in the South.90
All of the matters in this portmanteau recommendation had previously come to the attention of one or another of the agencies concerned. Many of them had reminiscent overtones of the recommendations made by judge Hastie in his pre-Pearl Harbor survey.91 Much had been done to carry out certain of them. That they were still unfinished business midway of the war was an indication of the difficulty which the War Department had had with them. The degree of relationship which the areas of recommended action bore to the problem of violence and discipline differed considerably; that all were contributing to the general problem of the employment of Negro troops could not be denied.


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