Photograph of the USS Sea Cloud. (U.S. Coast Guard photo)

The Long Blue Line: Cutters Sea Cloud and Hoquiam—Barrier-breaking ships in U.S. Desegregation

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.

The Long Blue Line: Coast Guard Officers Jenkins and Russell—Trailblazers of Ethnic Diversity in the American Sea services

African-Americans have served in the United States Coast Guard throughout its nearly 230-year history, but their participation in the service has been largely overlooked. So it is only fitting that we should document some of their participation by starting with the Coast Guard Academy, which pioneered the role of African-American officers in the U.S. sea services.

The Long Blue Line: African-Americans in the U.S. Coast Guard (Part 2)

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.

USS Sea Cloud and Joseph Jenkins

Mapping the way to equality

National African American History Month, celebrated in the U.S. during February, is an international annual observance for the remembrance of important people and events in the history of the African people living outside the continent of Africa. The Coast Guard honors those who have faced adversity and overcome not just this month, but every month as Coast Guardsmen face peril in emergency situations every day keeping our waters safe.

The Coast Guard Exhibit Center

Written by Arlyn Danielson, Coast Guard curator. The United States Coast Guard and its predecessor services have served our nation for more than 220 years. Starting with a small fleet of ships enforcing customs and tariffs, the service quickly established […]