Jump to Page Content  The Library of Congress Veterans History Project Home  
"Equality of Treatment and Opportunity": Executive Order 9981 (Experiencing War, Stories from the Veterans History Project, Library of Congress)
On July 26, 1948, President Harry Truman signed Executive Order 9981, which mandated “equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin.” Though African Americans had been allowed to serve in all branches of the military during World War II, they had been relegated to service positions and segregated units, and in most cases, denied access to promotions and combat roles. While Executive Order 9981 abolished racial discrimination in the American military, the full integration of the Armed Services could not have been accomplished without the dedication, tenacity, and overwhelming patriotism of African American service personnel.

To commemorate the 70th anniversary of Executive Order 9981, the Veterans History Project presents this newest installment of Experiencing War, featuring the collections of fifteen African American veterans who served before, after or in the midst of desegregation. Their stories describe the struggles these men and women faced in serving their country—oftentimes, even as it discriminated against them—and the battles they fought to prove themselves worthy of full participation in the military.
Image: Julius Wesley Becton, Jr.Julius W. Becton, Jr.
ARMY
Cold War, Korean War, Vietnam War, World War II

Video Interview
Image: Odra W. BradleyOdra W. Bradley
ARMY
World War II

Video Interview, Photos, Memoir, Correspondence
Image: Harry William Brooks, Jr.Harry W. Brooks, Jr.
ARMY
Korean War, Vietnam War

Video Interview
Image: Prudence Burns BurrellPrudence B. Burrell
ARMY NURSE CORPS
World War II

Audio Interview
Image: Reby CaryReby Cary
COAST GUARD
World War II

Video Interview, Photos
Image: Walter Dowdy, Jr.Walter Dowdy, Jr.
ARMY
Korean War

Video Interview
Image: Stewart B. FulbrightStewart B. Fulbright
ARMY AIR CORPS
World War II

Video Interview, Photos
Image: Silas GrossSilas Gross
NAVY
World War II
Cold War


Video Interview, Photos
Image: William McDowellWilliam McDowell
MARINE CORPS
World War II, Korean War, Vietnam War

Video Interview
Image: Walter Harold RichardsonWalter H. Richardson
ARMY
Korean War, Vietnam War

Video Interview
Image: Ellis L. RossEllis L. Ross
ARMY
World War II

Photos, Maps
Image: Oneida Miller StuartOneida Miller Stuart
ARMY NURSE CORPS
World War II

Audio Interview
Image: Frances E. Wills ThorpeFrances Wills Thorpe
WAVES
World War II

Memoir
Image: Carl TuggleCarl Tuggle
NAVY
World War II

Video Interview
Image: Charles E. WarfordCharles E. Warford
NAVY
World War II

Video Interview
More Stories...

 Other Collections of Interest:

 Search the Veterans Database:

 View ALL Stories:

 

Playing the audio and video files - Building the digital collection - Copyright and restrictions - Credits

 
  The Library of Congress            Legal | External Link Disclaimer
  May 7, 2018
Veterans History Project Home
Contact Us