Executive Order 9981
is an executive order issued on July 26, 1948 by U.S. President
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....
Harry S. Truman
Harry S. Truman was the 33rd President of the United States . As President Franklin D. Roosevelt's third vice president and the 34th Vice President of the United States , he succeeded to the presidency on April 12, 1945, when President Roosevelt died less than three months after beginning his...
. It expanded on Executive Order 8802
Executive Order 8802 was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 25, 1941, to prohibit racial discrimination in the national defense industry...
by establishing equality of treatment and opportunity in the Armed Services
The United States Armed Forces are the military forces of the United States. They consist of the Army, Navy, Marine Corps, Air Force, and Coast Guard.The United States has a strong tradition of civilian control of the military...
for people of all races, religions, or national origins.
"In 1947, Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, renewed efforts to end discrimination in the armed services, forming the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. On July 26, 1948, President Harry S. Truman abolished racial segregation in the armed forces through Executive Order 9981." Taken from.
The 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 realize the policy.
Among the order's effects was the elimination of Montford Point as a segregated Marine boot camp
Recruit training, more commonly known as Basic Training and colloquially called Boot Camp, is the initial indoctrination and instruction given to new military personnel, enlisted and officer...
(the camp became a satellite facility of Camp Lejeune
Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune is a United States military training facility in North Carolina. The base's of beaches make it a major area for amphibious assault training, and its location between two deep-water ports allows for fast deployments.The main base is supplemented by five satellite...
). The last of the all-black units in the United States military
The military history of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day...
was abolished in September 1954.
The Secretary of the Army
The Secretary of the Army is a civilian official within the Department of Defense of the United States of America with statutory responsibility for all matters relating to the United States Army: manpower, personnel, reserve affairs, installations, environmental issues, weapons systems and...
from 1947, Kenneth Claiborne Royall
Kenneth Claiborne Royall was a United States Army general and the last person to hold the office of Secretary of War...
was forced into retirement in April 1949 for continuing to refuse to desegregate the Army even nearly a year after President Truman promulgated the order.
Fifteen years after Truman's order, on July 26, 1963 Robert S. McNamara issued Directive 5120.36
Department of Defense Directive 5120.36 was issued in July 1963 by Robert S. McNamara, then Secretary of Defense of the United States. This directive dealt directly with the issue of racism in areas surrounding military communities. The directive declared:...
obligating military commanders to utilize the economic might of the military against facilities used by soldiers or their families that discriminated based upon sex or race.
Executive order in its entirety
EXECUTIVE ORDER 9981
Whereas it is essential that there be maintained in the armed services of the United States the highest standards of democracy, with equality of treatment and opportunity for all those who serve in our country's defense:
Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and as Commander in Chief of the armed services, it is hereby ordered as follows:
1. 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.
2. There shall be created in the National Military Establishment an advisory committee to be known as the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which shall be composed of seven members to be designated by the President.
3. The Committee is authorized on behalf of the President to examine into the rules, procedures and practices of the armed services in order to determine in what respect such rules, procedures and practices may be altered or improved with a view to carrying out the policy of this order. The Committee shall confer and advise with the Secretary of Defense, the Secretary of the Army, the Secretary of the Navy, and the Secretary of the Air Force, and shall make such recommendations to the President and to said Secretaries as in the judgment of the Committee will effectuate the policy hereof.
4. All executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government are authorized and directed to cooperate with the Committee in its work, and to furnish the Committee such information or the services of such persons as the Committee may require in the performance of its duties.
5. When requested by the Committee to do so, persons in the armed services or in any of the executive departments and agencies of the Federal Government shall testify before the Committee and shall make available for the use of the Committee such documents and other information as the Committee may require.
6. The Committee shall continue to exist until such time as the President shall terminate its existence by Executive Order.
HARRY S. TRUMAN
The White House
July 26, 1948
- Alan L. Gropman, Air Force Integrates 1949-64 (1986)
- Morris J. MacGregor, Jr., Integration of the Armed Forces, 1940-1965 (Washington, 1981)