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Francis J. Menso collection

Identifier: aarl97-004

Scope and Content Note

The collection contains one (1) box with a total of four (4) letters and thirty-five (35) photographs from ca. 1940-1945. The collection has been arranged into two series: I. Personal Correspondence (1945); II. Photographs.


  • 1940-1945


Restrictions on Use

There are no restrictions on research use of this collection.

Restrictions on Use

Prior permission from the Research Library must be obtained in writing before any portion of this collection can be published or reproduced.

Historical Sketch

Francis J. Menso, Bombardier and Gunner served in the United States Navy during World War II. F. J. Menso was part of the Navy Air Crew and served with Bombing Squadron # 4.

After World War I, African Americans were prohibited from enlisting in the United States Navy. In 1932 Blacks was again allowed to enlist and train as cooks and messmen. During World War II, segregation was a way of life for the Negro sailor. Although segregated, almost 150,000 Blacks enlisted in the Navy during this period. However, few saw combat. Black sailors were trained as a separate unit and were excluded from most parts of naval life including the USO clubs. In 1942, the secretary of the Navy announced that the Navy would accept the enlistment of Negroes for general service and as noncommissioned officers. The enlistment began in June of 1942 with a class of two hundred and seventy-seven (277) men.


0.5 Linear feet




The collection contains four letters written in May and June of 1945 from "Frankie" Francis Menso stationed in Miami, Florida, to his girlfriend Selma M. Pooch of Jacksonville, Florida as well as 35 black and white photographs of pin-ups.


The collection is organized into two series
  1. Series I: Personal Correspondence
  2. Series II: Photographs


Purchased by the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History, Archives Division in 1997.

Processing Information

Processed by Anita Martin
Inventory of the Francis J. Menso Collection aarl97-004 aarl97-004
Finding aid prepared by Finding aid prepared by Auburn Avenue Research Library on African American Culture and History
2004 September 15
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Auburn Avenue Research Library on African-American Culture and History Repository

101 Auburn Avenue NE
Atlanta GA 30303