Interview with Constance Baker Motley
QUESTION 4
INTERVIEWER:

AND THIS TREATMENT YOU THINK AFFECTED THE, THE COUNTRY YOU'RE SAYING? I JUST WANT TO MAKE SURE THAT I'VE GOTTEN THIS STRAIGHT, THAT THE TREATMENT OF THE BLACK VETERENS YOU THINK WAS A GENERAL EFFECT.

Judge Constance Baker Motley:

It pushed the whole question to the fore—that is the whole question of racial segregation—because here we were as a nation involved in a war to make the world safe for democracy and of course one of the embarrassing features of our effort was that blacks were segregated in our armed forces, and they resented it and here we were trying to represent ourselves to the world as a democratic nation. And so the issue of segregation loomed large during the war and the war effort. And the NAACP's membership almost doubled during that period from membership applications from black servicemen who recognized that the NAACP was the only organization that they could turn to for assistance with what they believed to be a very pressing problem for them. And that is that they received disproportionately sentences for any crime which they committed than white servicemen. And they felt this was a tremendous grievance that something had to be done about it.