Author: Harry S. Truman


“Executive Order 9981” (July 26, 1948)

On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed this executive order committing the government to integrating the segregated military. This executive order comes after World War II (1939–1945) when Black service members returned home and began organizing to demand their rights under the U.S. Constitution, buoyed by Black workers who had demonstrated for labor equality at the start of the war. Although the Army officers resisted the executive order, by the end of the Korean War (1950–1953), the military was almost fully integrated.