In 1943, the Coast Guard-manned USS Sea Cloud had served as the federal government’s first deliberate test of desegregation aboard a U.S. ship. A year later, USS Hoquiam followed suit in barrier-breaking efforts allowing white and black crew members to serve in various capacities, share sleeping quarters and eat at the same mess table. This opened the door for black Coast Guard members to reach new heights including commanding cutters.
Tag: Clarence Samuels
In the second part of the history of African-Americans serving in the U.S. Coast Guard, we recognize several members who have made an impact on the Coast Guard and the many firsts they have accomplished.
Samuels’ Coast Guard career proved very unique not only because of the varied assignments he received, but also to the many ethnic barriers he broke. Samuels’ achievements seem all the more significant in light of the fact that the first African-American officer to command a U.S. Navy ship took charge in 1962, nearly 35 years after Samuels. Samuels was a minority trailblazer and a member of the long blue line; and his barrier-breaking achievements led the way for minorities in all of America’s military services.
As part of the Coast Guard Compass’ ongoing celebration of Black History Month, we bring you the following article by Coast Guard Atlantic Area Historian William H. Thiesen. Mr. Thiesen’s piece on the history of African American service is a reminder not only of how far we’ve come as a nation, but also of the