Talk Back: Featured Video

Desegregation of US Military 

“There shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin…” - Executive Order 9981 


Although African Americans have served on the frontlines of combat for the U.S. since the Revolutionary War, it took President Harry Truman’s 1948 Executive Order to address and order an end to racial discrimination within the ranks of every branch of the U.S. armed forces. One of the lesser known efforts to end discrimination was The Double V Campaign—a campaign mounted by African Americans during WWII to promote victory abroad against the nation’s enemies and at home from policies and practices that upheld discrimination.

Tavis Smiley interviews Rawn James Jr., author of “The Double V:  How Wars, Protest and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military” about the significance of Executive Order 9981, President Harry Truman’s political relationship with the African American community, and the experience of several generations of African Americans who served the armed forces without full recognition of their rights as citizens.

What kind of Double V strategies do you think are still being fought for today? 

James examines the importance of the integration of the military under President Truman.
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