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Thu, 10.19.1944

Black women admitted to Navy WAVES

Harriet Ida Pikens and Frances Wills

On this date in 1944, the Navy integrated their Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service better known as WAVES.

Up to that time, Black women were barred from the WAVES. The efforts of Mildred McAfee and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune helped the Secretary of the Navy push through the admittance of Black women into military service.

The first two Black WAVES officers, Harriet Ida Pickens and Frances Wills, were sworn in December 22 of that year. Of the 80,000 WAVES in the World War II, 72 Black women served, normally under integrated conditions.

Reference:
Library of Congress
101 Independence Avenue S.E.
Washington D.C. 20540

Reference:

History.Navy.mil

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