Executive Order 9981
Executive Order 9981 was an executive order issued on July 26, 1948, by President Harry S. Truman. It abolished racial discrimination in the United States Armed Forces and eventually led to the end of segregation in the services.
In 1947, A. Philip Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation.
Truman's Order expanded on Executive Order 8802 by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the military for people of all races, religions, or national origins.
The order's operative statement is:
It is hereby declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.
The order also established a committee to investigate and make recommendations to the civilian leadership of the military to implement the policy.
Most of the actual enforcement of the order was accomplished by President Dwight D. Eisenhower's administration (1953-1961), including the desegregation of military schools, hospitals, and bases. The last of the all-black units in the United States military was abolished in September 1954.
Fifteen years after Truman's order, on July 26, 1963, Secretary of Defense Robert S. McNamara issued Directive 5120.36 obligating military commanders to employ their financial resources against facilities used by soldiers or their families that discriminated based upon sex or race.
- "Executive Order 9981". Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Retrieved December 24, 2011.
- Susan M. Glisson, The Human Tradition in the Civil Rights Movement (Rowman & Littlefield, 2006), 91
- Nichols, David A. (2007). A Matter of Justice: Eisenhower and the Beginning of the Civil Rights Revolution. New York: Simon and Schuster. pp. 42–50.
- Robert B. Edgerton, Hidden Heroism: Black Soldiers in America's Wars, (Barnes & Noble 2009), 165
- Alan L. Gropman, The Air Force Integrates, 1949-1964 (Office of Air Force History, 1986)
- Morris J. MacGregor, Jr., Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 (US Government Printing Office, 1981)
- Jon E. Taylor, Freedom to Serve: Truman, Civil Rights, and Executive Order 9981 (Routledge, 2013)
- Full text of Executive Order 9981 from the Harry S. Truman Presidential Library and Museum
- Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 (Defense Studies Series) by Morris J. MacGregor, Jr., from the United States Army Center of Military History