Documents: Executive Order 8802

"... I do hereby reaffirm the policy of the United States that there shall be no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or government because of race, creed, color, or national origin..."

Our Documents: Executive Order 8802 - Prohibition of Discrimination in the Defense Industry
June 25, 1941

As the nation prepared for war, African American leaders hoped that the rapidly growing defense industry would provide new opportunities for blacks. In September 1940, A. Philip Randolph, president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, met with President Roosevelt and urged the President to promote equal employment opportunities and to desegregate the armed forces. Although Randolph left the meeting with assurances that President Roosevelt was looking into the matter, no agreement was made. Having failed to secure the support of the Roosevelt administration, Randolph hoped to bring his cause to the American people. For months he planned a march on Washington and gathered the support of tens of thousands of African Americans. Worried about the impact of the march, Franklin Roosevelt met with Randolph two weeks before the march was scheduled to begin and urged him to call off the march. The only way he would stop the march, A. Philip Randolph told FDR, was if President Roosevelt issued an Executive Order. On June 25, 1941 President Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802 prohibiting discrimination in the defense industry and created the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) to monitor hiring practices. Although the military remained segregated, World War II brought about new jobs and opportunities for African Americans.

bullet Executive Order 8802, June 25 , 1941

Our Document List

FDR Library
Home Page