Is there a list of African American Navy personnel assigned to Sanford, FL in 1944-1946?

It is my understanding that the US Navy had a segregated base in Sanford, Florida during WWII.  Is there a list of black Navy enlisted men assigned to that base in 1944-1946?  If so, is there access to that list?  Thank you for any info anyone may have or a direction to point me into finding such a list.

  • Shenekia,

    An important part of your search is to find the name of the command to which naval personnel were assigned.  There is one naval facility associated with that locality—Naval Air Station Sanford, FL.  NAS Sanford was a training airfield during World War II, and a large number of naval aviators, who were primarily officers, would have been assigned to the base.  The NAS would have had African-Americans assigned as a part of the Naval Air Station organization to act as Stewards and Steward’s Mates for the officers’s messes needed to feed the base’s large Officer complement.  In keeping with Navy personnel practices at the time, the African-American sailors would have had segregated base facilities, perhaps what lead to your initial understanding of the base and its personnel.

    I have seen mention of a large fresh/frozen provisions storage facility at NAS Sanford during the war.  African-Americans could have served at such facility, but I have yet to discover a name for this command to further the search.

    I hope you find this information helpful.

    A. J.

  • Dear Shenekia Johnson,


    Thank you for posting your request on History Hub!


    The Muster Rolls of U.S. Navy Ships, Stations, and Other Naval Activities, 1/1/1939 - 1/1/1949 in the Records of the Bureau of Naval Personnel (Record Group 24) are the primary lists of Navy enlisted personnel that are available for research for World War II. As noted by Alex Daverede, these records are arranged by ship or command, rather than by base. Also, we generally do not see race directly indicated on muster rolls, however race can sometimes be guessed at because ratings are given and the US Navy restricted African Americans to certain ratings, such as Stewards Mate and Stevedore. You may also wish to review Records of Military Agencies Relating to African Americans from the Post-World War I Period to the Korean War. For more information about these records, please contact the National Archives at College Park - Textual Reference (RR2R) via email at RR2R may also be able to recommend additional records which could be relevant to this topic. 


    You may experience a delay in receiving an initial acknowledgment as well as a substantive response to your reference request. We apologize for this inconvenience and appreciate your understanding and patience.


    For an introduction to US Navy racial policies during World War II, see “The Negro in the Navy, United States Naval Administrative History of World War II #84” published in 1947 and made available online by the Naval History and Heritage Command.


    We hope this is helpful. Best of luck with your research!