Navy dismisses 20 African-Americans over “moral perversion”

The Navy announces that “20 Negro stewards and mess attendants” at the U.S. Naval Academy at Annapolis are being dismissed for “acts of moral perversion among themselves.”

According to the Navy’s spokesman, the stewards and attendants fell under the suspicion of a Navy officer, who called in naval intelligence to aid in the investigation.

The ousted men were among some 200 to 300 African-Americans assigned to work in officers’ quarters and elsewhere in the academy. Ten were given “undesirable discharges” immediately, and the other ten were expected to be given similar discharges in the next few days when the investigations by the Severn River Naval Command is completed.

A Navy spokesman stressed that no Midshipmen were involved in the scandal.

On the Timeline:

Jan 30, 1950: Navy dismisses 20 African-Americans over “moral perversion”.


For January 30, 1950:
President: Harry S. Truman (D)
Vice-President: Alben W. Barkley (D)
House: 263 (D) 167 (R) 2 (Other) 3 (Vacant)
Southern states: 103 (D) 2 (R)
Senate: 54 (D) 42 (R)
Southern states: 22 (D)
GDP growth: 7.3 % (Annual)
3.0 % (Quarterly)
Fed discount rate: 1½ %
Inflation: -2.1 %
Unemployment: 6.5 %

Headlines: East St. Louis schools integrate without incident. Boston City Council turn away 14 members of Japanese Diet who are touring to see “democracy in action.” Congressional pressure increases on Truman to give the go-ahead to develop a hydrogen bomb. Wildcat coal strike spreads, defying United Mine Workers union orders. To protect its dollar reserves, Britain extends its dollar oil embargo to the rest of the Commonwealth. Britain, Sweden, Norway and Denmark pledge closer economic cooperation; France and West Germany set aside their dispute over the Saar and sign an enlarged trade pact.

In the record stores: “I Can Dream It, Can’t I?” by the Andrew Sisters, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Bing Crosby, “There’s No Tomorrow” by Tony Martin, “Mule Train” by Frankie Lane, “The Old Master Painter” by Richard Hayes, “Slipping Around” by Margaret Whiting and Jimmy Wakely, “A Dreamer’s Holiday” by Perry Como, “Dear Hearts and Gentle People” by Dinah Shore, “Rag Mop” by the Ames Brothers, “Chattanoogie Shoe Shine Boy” by Red Foley.

Currently in theaters: Gun Crazy, starring Peggy Cummins and John Dall. Screenplay by Dalton Trumbo, but credited to Millard Kaufman because Trumbo is on the blacklist.

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On television: The Lone Range (ABC), Toast of the Town/Ed Sullivan (CBS), Studio One (CBS), Captain Video and his Video Rangers (DuMont), Kraft Television Theater (NBC), The Goldbergs (CBS), Arthur Godfrey’s Talent Scouts (CBS), Candid Camera (NBC), Texaco Star Theater/Milton Berle (NBC), Hopalong Cassidy (NBC), Cavalcade of Stars/Jackie Gleason (DuMont), Meet the Press (NBC), Roller Derby (ABC).

New York Times best sellers: Fiction: The Egyptian by Mika Waltari, Mary by Sholem Asch, The Parasites by Daphne du Maurier. Non-fiction: This I Remember by Eleanor Roosevelt, Home Sweet Zoo by Clare Barnes, Jr., White Collar Zoo by Clare Barnes, Jr.


Associated Press. “Morals charges remove 20 messmen at Academy.” Washington Evening Star (January 30, 1950): 3.

Associated Press. “Morals charges result in firing of 20 aides.” The Sun (Baltimore, MD: January 31, 1950): 11.

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