Tuesday, April 16, 2013

The Integrated Army

It's hard to believe, but it wasn't that long ago that the U.S. military was segregated.  White troops and black troops were not allowed to serve in the same unit.  It went beyond that.  African American sailors were only welcome as mess boys, and most black members of the Army were support personnel rather than combat troops.  Things began to change on July 26, 1948 when President Harry Truman signed executive order 9981 ending segregation in the armed forces.  It took awhile, though.  In 1949, Truman asked for the resignation of Secretary of the Army Kenneth Claiborne Royall for his refusal to carry out Truman's directive.  Royall did not live to see a black President.


  1. Good Old Harry! At the time, he was greatly maligned but turned out to be one honest son of a gun.

  2. The Army and the whole federal government (maybe not the Navy) was fairly integrated from the end of the Civil War until Woodrow Wilson became President. He introduced racial segregation to the federal government. Before Wilson, even in the deepest South, there was one integrated line at the post office; after Wilson, Southern postmasters could have separate White and Colored windows in the post offices.

    Wilson was a horrible, horrible man.