Racism in U.S. Military

4 April 2015
Examines major examples of racial bias in 1940s & legal, political & ethical pressures leading to President Truman’s 1948 order to desegregate armed forces.

The desegregation of the United States armed forces was directed by Executive Order No. 9981 issued by President Harry S. Truman on 26 July 1948. Harry Truman, however, was not a good fairy and Executive Order No. 9981 was not a magic wand. The desegregation of the armed forces in the United States did not occur in an instant. In fact, years were to pass before widespread integration, the obverse side of the coin on which segregation is the reverse, was the rule in the armed forces.

The issuance of Executive Order No. 9981, as was true of the pressures for the desegregation of the armed forces in the United States, did not occur in political and social vacuums. Each was the product of events and environments that long pre-dated..

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