Desegregation of the Military 1948

In 1940, President Franklin Roosevelt upheld the segregation of “colored and white” soldiers into different regiments, believing integration would threaten military efficiency and increase racial tension. Throughout the war, African Americans pressured the Government to end this discriminatory policy. President Harry Truman eventually organized a Presidential committee on civil rights which declared that, “The injustice of calling men to fight for freedom while subjecting them to humiliating discrimination within the fighting forces is at once apparent.”

On July 26, 1948, President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 ending racial segregation in the U.S. armed forces. The order marked a significant step towards increased Government intervention in securing civil rights.