A. Phillip Randolph threatens a massive march on Washington unless the Roosevelt administration takes measures to insure black employment in defense industries; Roosevelt agrees to establish the Fair Employment Practices Committee.

The United States enters World War II; about 1 million African-Americans served in the armed forces in segregated units.

Following considerable protest, the War Department forms the all-black 99th Pursuit Squadron of the U.S. Army Air corps, later known as the Tuskegee Airmen , commanded by Benjamin O. Davis, Jr.

Charles Drew, developer and director of blood plasma programs during World War II, resigns as the armed forces begins to accept the blood of blacks but declares it will racially segregate the blood supply.

President Roosevelt declares a state of emergency and dispatches 6,000 troops to Detroit following race riots in the city.

The U.S. Supreme Court rules in "Smith vs Allwright" that blacks can not be excluded from primary elections.