Date of Award

Winter 1-2023

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)


War and Society

First Advisor

Charissa Threat

Second Advisor

Jennifer Keene

Third Advisor

Kyndra Rotunda


This thesis outlines the Navy’s movement towards black inclusion from the beginning of World War I to the end of World War II through the lens of African American Seabees as well as the two integrated Seabee Battalions, 34th and 80th. While examining African American Seabees during World War II, one can see the injustices they were facing in the Navy. Seabees are one of the forgotten branches during World War II, but while examining the history of African Americans serving in the U.S. Navy and the Seabees, we start to understand how they were able to integrate blacks and how blacks were able to fight for their equality in the Seabees. This thesis argues that African American Seabees, frustrated with their treatment in the Navy, were the driving force behind the Navy changing its policies on the treatment of black seamen. Through the examination of materials including newspaper articles, military documents, cruise logs, letters, speeches from President Roosevelt and Secretary of the Navy Knox, dissertations, and books about the Navy’s integration policies and their overall operation during World War I and World War II this thesis pieced together African American Seabees’ fight for equal opportunity.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.



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