Just saw 'Proud" on a tape last night and didn't know that there was an all black enlisted man crew on a U.S. Navy ship during WWII. Maybe the acting and direction left something to be desired, but the message came across loud and clear.
I enlisted in the Marines at the age of 17, right after WWII was over. In the 3 years I served, I never saw a black Marine. I understood there were some black Marines that served in service and supply units, but they did not go through boot camp with white Marines and were completely segregated from us.
On the Navy ships I boarded, the only black sailors I ever saw were messmen and stewards in the galley and they kept pretty much to themselves. In 1948, when the armed forces were desegregated, I still didn't notice any difference in the racial makeup of our outfit. At the time I didn't think anything of it, but in hindsight, it was an awful way to treat black Americans. I'm glad that era is over.
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