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July 26, 1948: President Harry Truman Signs Executive Order 9981

On this day in 1948, President Truman issued an executive order abolishing racial segregation in all branches of the armed forces and establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services. This major piece of legislation was a welcome victory for the African American soldiers’ “Double V” campaign, in which they fought both WWII abroad and racism at home.

Learn more about the importance of Truman’s order with a featured video from Tavis Smiley.

Photo: The Chicago Defender announces Executive Order 9981. Library of Congress Exhibition

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