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Protesting Capital Transit’s Jim Crow hiring policies: 1943 | by Washington Area Spark
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Protesting Capital Transit’s Jim Crow hiring policies: 1943

Part of a demonstration protesting Capital Transit’s refusal to hire African American operators passes a bus with a white driver May 7, 1943 on their way to a rally in Franklin Park. The placard reads, “200,000 Negro Riders Not 1 Negro Driver.”


A crowd estimated between 800 and 3,500 blacks and whites marched in the demonstration sponsored by the Committee on Jobs for Negroes in Public Utilities.


Some of the placards read, “No Shortage of Drivers if Negroes are Hired,” “Paving Workers Support Negro Streetcar and Bus Operators in Washington—CIO,” “UFWA (United Federal Workers of America).” Another partially obscured sign appears to read “200,000 Negroes in the Army and Not One Negro Bus Driver.”


Predominantly black labor unions and white allies in the CIO provided much of the organization for the committee. Their leadership was decimated and their unions weakened or destroyed in the post-World War II “red scare.”


Capital Transit did not begin to hire African American operators until 1955.


For a detailed blog post on desegregating Capital Transit, see


For more information and related images, see


The photographer is unknown. The image is an auction find.


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Taken on May 7, 1943