Segregated Shower Sign 12, Shower Sign, Racism.jpeg

A metal sign used by the U.S. Army to direct white and colored officers to segregated showers, c. 1940.

A rectangular, metal sign with white lettering used by the U.S. Army to direct white and colored officers to segregated showers. This sign belonged to World War II veteran Vernon Shay of Salisbury. During World War II, the U.S. military enforced Jim Crow laws, even attempting to extend these laws to Black service members stationed in countries that weren’t segregated. For example, the military insisted that some British businesses refuse service to Black American soldiers. In 1948, President Truman instated Executive Order 9981, which initiated a policy toward desegregation of the armed forces.

Segregated Shower Sign