Clipped From The Daily Telegram
NEGROES IN THE NAVY When the Navy announced the other day that Negroes would be enlisted for general service and would be promoted on merit non-commissioned officers it shattered a precedent of long standing. It was time that it be shattered. Race prejudice has no place in a nation fighting to preserve democracy. Until now the American navy has accepted Negroes for duty only as mess attendants or cooks and has denied them the right to participate in the operation and fighting of the ships. The explanation, for the Navy's attitude has been that life on board ship is especially intimate and that probable friction between white and Negro sailors would complicate discipline. Under the new order the Negroes are to be formed into separate units. No discrimination can be charged against that procedure. The army for years has had separate Negro regiments and their records have been high. Not long ago the 99th Pursuit Squadron, an all-Negro flying unit, graduated at Tuskegee institute and its members became instructors for n units. A complete Negro infantry division is being formed and in one of the southern camps a Negro tank battalion is under training. What the Negro units accomplish for the army they can do'also for the navy. All they need is the opportunity and now the navy is giving it The Navy's shattering of precedent is a step forward. Sometimes precedents represent only indefensible customs. When they are that and when they also defy the spirit of the American Constitution and statutes as well they should be discarded.