Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

October 28, 1944

On October 28, 1944, the Cleveland Call and Post reported that President Roosevelt approved a plan to accept African-American women into the WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) and SPARS, the Navy and Coast Guard women's auxiliaries. “The announcement came only after more than two years of persistent fighting on the part of the America’s Negro Press and national women’s groups for the inclusion of Negro women, a fight that has continued unabated since the inception of the Women’s Reserve,” the article noted. The Call and Post suggested that the the timing of the decision was a “last minute pre-election bid for America’s vitally significant Negro vote.”

This issue of the Call and Post also included an advertisement encouraging black voters to support President Franklin D. Roosevelt in the upcoming election. The ad pointed to “The Philadelphia Story” to argue that President Roosevelt would stand up for employment rights for black Americans. “When the transportation workers in Philadelphia struck against the up-grading of eight Negro workers last August, the rights of Negro workers all over America were threatened!,” the ad began. “To guarantee the economic rights of all the people and to enforce an order of the FEPC [Fair Employment Practices Commission], President Franklin Delano Roosevelt ordered the United States Army to seize the Philadelphia Transportation Company. He did this to enforce a national policy of non-discrimination which he inaugurated as President of the United States.”

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