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Separate and UnequalBlack Americans and the US Federal Government$

Desmond King

Print publication date: 1997

Print ISBN-13: 9780198292494

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2003

DOI: 10.1093/019829249X.001.0001

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(p.220) Appendix 2: Segregation in Government

(p.220) Appendix 2: Segregation in Government

Source:
Separate and Unequal
Publisher:
Oxford University Press

The data in Appendix 2 is less than complete. This reflects the material available and its standard. Segregation by race was a category never officially compiled by the Federal government or Civil Service Commission. Rather, our knowledge about its incidence and diffusion depends upon either individual administrators' diligence or outside groups such as the NAACP documenting trends or incidental material collected for other purposes. Likewise, in respect of Federal government employment by race, official data is haphazard before the 1970s, generally compiled by agencies established—such as the FEPC—to monitor discrimination, and which often failed to win the full cooperation of individual departments. These points should be borne in mind when examining the ensuing tables. (p.221)

Table A2.1. Black Employment in the Federal Government 1893

Department

No.

Total Salaries ($)

Executive Mansion

5

5,880

Public Buildings and Grounds:

the Commissioner employs

53

21,234

State:

consuls

4

5,500

messengers

5

3,660

labourers

7

4,620

Treasury:

Total (excluding below)

168

Bureau of Engraving and Printing

146

Coast Survey

17

Collectors of custom

3

229,219

Interior:

354

284,208

Recorder of Deeds in DC (Hon. Blanche Bruce)

18,000

War

174

116,340

Navy

8

6,040

Post Office:

70

49,540

Mail‐bag repair

42

18,480

Agriculture

37

19,760

Smithsonian Institute

29

14,880

Public Printing Office:

The Public Printer

204

138,831

United States Senate

36

27,175

House of Representatives:

Capitol police and architect's office

27

820

Librarian of the House

1

2,000

Library of Congress

4

4,120

Commissioners of the District:

Labourers, clerks, teachers, superintendents, assessors, etc.

1,000

304,428

Office of Recorder of deeds, DC:

permanent

14

temporary

5

Washington City post office

68

40,900

Total in executive depts. and other branches of govt.

2,393

1,370,623

Source: US Civil Service Commission, Ninth Report of the U.S. Civil Service Commission July 1 1891 to June 30 1892 (Washington: Government Printing Office 1893), 236–7. The text begins: ‘the Commission is indebted for the following statement to Hon. John M. Langston: “I find much on which to congratulate the colored race when I consider the advances they have been making during the last several years. Some time ago I began the collection of data showing the number of colored people employed in the public service . . . The figures I have gotten are as follows.’ ”

(p.222) (p.223)

Table A2.2. Segregation in Government Departments (Selected) 1928

Separate rooms occupied by Black employees:

  1. 1. Registrar's Office, Room 308, Liberty Loan checking Division, 15 Black clerks under a Black section chief.

  2. 2. US Veterans Bureau, Room 219, 15 Black clerks under a Black section chief.

  3. 3. GAO, Room 427, 4 Black clerks.

  4. 4. Division of Statistics, Room 614, 2 Black men.

  5. 5. Navy Dept., Room 3747–50, 11 Black clerks who are a part of the Enlisted Personnel Division of the Bureau of Navigation. The grouping here is distinct, the races being separated by large filing cabinets.

  6. 6. Dept. of the Interior, Miss Gretchen McRae, Black stenographer, is the sole occupant of a room on the 1st floor, 3rd wing.

  7. 7. Government Post Office Building, Room 720, 8 Black Women. Room 728, 5 Blacks. In section including rooms 721–31, 6 Black men operating punching and tabulating machines.

  8. 8. Treasury Dept., Room 341, 5 Black male clerks.

Black employees and White employees working in the same room in racially divided groups:

  1. 1. Government Printing Office, North Wing, Column 503, Black Women working as punchers; North Wing, Column 520, separate groups doing the same work. North Wing, Column 416, Black Women grouped as stitchers; White girls in same vicinity doing the same work.

  2. 2. Dept. of the Interior, 5th floor, 3rd wing, 5 Black male clerks are grouped at the south end of one of the rooms while White clerks occupy the rest of the rooms. 6th floor, 3rd wing, 2 Black male clerks have desks at the south end of the room, the balance of the room being used by White clerks.

Govt. depts. where segregation is practised in cafeteria service:

  1. 1. Cooperative cafeterias:

    • (a) Bureau of Engraving and Printing: tables in rear of room used solely by Blacks. Same steam tables and both races stand in line together.

    • (b) Government Printing Office, Blacks assigned separate tables; also separate steam tables.

  2. 2. Cafeteria operated by govt. depts.:

    • (a) Navy Dept., cafeteria is operated by Bureau of Supplies and Accounts. Blacks assigned three tables in rear of room. Other tables in immediate vicinity used exclusively by White employees who because of their dirty clothes do not care to go to other part of room.

  3. 3. Cafeterias operated by concessionaries:

    • (a) Dept. of the Interior: separate room assigned to Blacks with a separate steam table.

    • (b) Washington City Post Office: separate tables assigned to Black clerks and carriers.

    • (c) US Post Office Building: separate tables assigned and separate steam tables.

    • (d) GAO: separate tables assigned.

Separate lockers:

  1. 1. For Women:

    • (a) Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

  2. 2. For Men:

    • (a) Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

    • (b) Washington City Post Office.

Separate toilets:

  1. 1. For Women:

    • (a) Bureau of Engraving and Printing.

Source: LC NAACP, Group I, Box C403, File: Segregation—Federal Service, 6 Mar. 1928–21 Feb. 1929: ‘Segregation in Government Departments’, reports of investigations made by W. T. Andrews & W. White NAACP (1928).

(p.224) (p.225)

Table A2.3. Black Employees in the US Department of Agriculture 1914 (By Bureau)

Bureau

Black employees and position

Washington office

Field

Accounts and Disbursements

Animal Industry

43 unskilled labourers

6 veterinary inspectors

7 charwomen

5 meat inspectors

34 inspectors' assistants

4 stock examiners

2 clerks

2 messengers

1 cement finisher

1 laboratory helper

3 charwomen

Biological Survey

1 charwoman

Chemistry

11 unskilled labourers

8 laboratory helpers

9 laboratory helpers

1 messenger

1 laboratory technician

7 charwomen

Chief Clerk

2 clerks

1 messenger

32 labourers

7 firemen

6 elevator conductors

8 watchmen

1 carriage driver

9 charwomen

Crop Estimates

2 labourers

2 charwomen

Division of Publications

1 skilled labourer

2 labourers

5 charwomen

Entomology

1 unskilled labourer

1 mechanic

4 charwomen

2 unskilled labourers

Experimental Stations

3 unskilled labourers

1 charwoman

Federal Horticultural Board

Forest Service

3 clerks

1 packer

3 minor clerks

2 unskilled labourers

3 messengers

2 messenger

2 messenger boys

1 janitor

2 watchmen

1 messenger boy

5 unskilled labourers

1 charwoman

12 charwomen

Insecticide and Fungicide

Board

1 labourer

Library

1 messenger

2 charwomen

Office of Markets

Office of Rural Organization

Office of the Solicitor

Plant Industrya

1 gardener

2 clerks

3 skilled labourer

55 unskilled labourers

32 agents

23 charwomen

11 collaborators

1 collaborating clerk

Public Roads

1 assistant chemist

1 laboratory helper

4 unskilled labourers

1 charwoman

Soils

2 laboratory helpers

5 unskilled labourers

1 labourer

Weather

3 skilled artisans

2 assistant observers

2 watchmen

2 messengers

2 firemen

1 messenger boy

11 unskilled labourer

1 unskilled labourer

1 skilled labourer

2 charwomen

Note: Several of these categories, particularly ‘labourer’ and ‘unskilled labourer’, for convenience combine a number of subgroups divided according to salary.

(a) The Bureau of Plant Industry did not distinguish their employees by field or Washington offices.

Source: NA RG 16, Office of the Sec. of Agriculture, General Correspondence, Negroes 1909–23, Box 1, Folder: Negroes 1914.

(p.226)

Table A2.4. Black Employees in the Department of Agriculture 1914 (By Position)

Position

Number

Veterinary inspector

6

Agent

32

Assistant Chemist

1

Assistant Observer

2

Collaborator

11

Meat Inspector

5

Stock examiner

4

Clerk

6

Minor clerk

3

Collaborating clerk

1

Laboratory helper

21

Laboratory technician

1

Skilled labourer

17

Classified labourer

1

Messenger

12

Messenger boy

4

Watchman

12

Fireman

9

Carriage driver

1

Packer

1

Janitor

1

Gardener

1

Elevator conductor

6

Mechanic

1

Skilled artisan

3

Cement finisher

1

Unskilled labourer

130

Labourer

39

Charwoman

79

TOTAL

447a

(a) By 1923 the total had risen to 806 (529 Washington, 277 field) (NA RG 16, Office of the Sec. of Agriculture, General Correspondence, Negroes 1909–23, Box 1, Folder Negroes 1923).

Source: NA RG 16, Office of the Sec. of Agriculture, General Correspondence, Negroes 1909–23, Box 1, Folder Negroes 1914.