Desegregation of Armed Forces

Timeline created by cweltman
In History
  • Executive Order 8802

    President Franklin issued Executive Order 8802 to end discrimination in the defense industries in order to appease A. Philip Randolph and halt the March on Washington.
  • Gilmen Board Report Published

    The first report of the Gilmen Board, "Utilization of Negro Manpower in the Postwar Army Policy," is published. The report states that the new Army policies should "eliminate, at the earliest practicable moment, any special consideration based on race." The concept of segregation, however, is still upheld.
  • "To Secure These Rights" is issued.

    The Committee on Civil Rights (established by Truman) issues a report entitled "To Secure These Rights." The Committee opposes all forms of segregation, especially in the armed forces. Within the report it is suggested that action is taken to end all forms of discrimination in each branch of the army.
  • Truman address Congress

    When Truman address Congress on topics concerning civil rights, he informs them that, under his orders, the Secretary of Defense is working to end all forms of discrimination in the Armed Forces.
  • Leaders Take Action

    "African-American leaders meet with President Truman and urge him to insist on antisegregation amendments in the legislation being considered in Congress that would reinstitute the draft.."
  • A Meeting of the Organizations

    "Twenty African-American organizations meeting in New York City issue the "Declaration of Negro Voters," which demands, among other things, "that every vestige of segregation and discrimination in the armed forces be forthwith abolished.""
  • A. Philip Randolph Testifies

    "A. Philip Randolph, representing the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service and Training, testifies to the Senate Armed Services Committee that African-Americans would refuse to serve in the armed forces if a proposed new draft law does not forbid segregation."
  • African American Leaderse Speak Up

    "Sixteen African-American leaders tell Secretary of Defense James V. Forrestal that African-Americans will react strongly unless the armed forces end segregation."
  • Randolph Threatens for an Executive Order

    "A. Philip Randolph announces the formation of the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation. Randolph informed President Truman on June 29, 1948 that unless the President issued an executive order ending segregation in the armed forces, African-American youth would resist the draft law."
  • Abolition of Segregation is Rejected

    "The platform committee at the Democratic National Convention rejects a recommendation put forward by Mayor Hubert H. Humphrey of Minneapolis calling for abolition of segregation in the armed forces. President Truman and his advisors support and the platform committee approves a moderate platform plank on civil rights intended to placate the South."
  • Rejection is Overruled

    "Delegates to the Democratic National Convention vote to overrule the platform committee and the Truman administration in favor of a liberal civil rights plank, one that called for, among other things, the desegregation of the armed forces."
  • Executive Order 9981

    President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 to end discrimination in the armed forces and to establish President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services.
  • Executive Order has a Loop Hole

    "Army staff officers state anonymously to the press that Executive Order 9981 does not specifically forbid segregation in the Army."
  • Executive Order is Questioned by Army Chief of Staff

    "Army Chief of Staff General Omar N. Bradley states that desegregation will come to the Army only when it becomes a fact in the rest of American society."
  • Randolph Ends Campaign for Desegregation

    "Democratic National Committee chairman J. Howard McGrath meets with A. Philip Randolph and other leaders representing an organization called the League for Non-violent Civil Disobedience Against Military Segregation and assures them that the President's Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services would seek to end segregation in the armed forces. A short time after this meeting, Randolph announced that his organization's civil disobedience campaign had ended."
  • Navy Extends Integration

    "The Navy announces that it is extending the policy of integration that it had begun in the closing months of World War II."
  • Presidential Committee Holds First Hearings

    "The Fahy Committee holds its first hearings. Representatives of the Army defend segregation of African-Americans. The Marine Corps also defends its segregation policy and admits that only one of its 8,200 officers is African-American. The Navy and Air Force both indicate they will integrate their units. The Navy admits that only five of its 45,000 officers are African-American."
  • Air Force Reveals Plans for Integration

    "The Air Force tells the press it has completed plans for full integration of its units."
  • Hearings for the Committee Continue

    "The three service secretaries testify before the Fahy Committee. Secretary of the Air Force Stuart Symington and Secretary of the Navy John L. Sullivan both testify that they are opposed to segregation and are pursuing policies to integrate their services. Secretary of the Army Kenneth Royall argues in favor of maintaining segregation, saying that the Army "was not an instrument for social evolution.""
  • Secretary of Defense Endorses Integration

    "Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson issues a directive to the Secretaries of the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force which says it is the Department of Defense's policy that there should be equality of treatment and opportunity for all in the armed services, and that "qualified Negro personnel shall be assigned to fill any type of position...without regard to race.""
  • Some Integration Plans are Rejected

    "Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson approves the integration plans of the Air Force, but rejects those of the Army and the Navy."
  • Suggestions for the Army

    "The Fahy Committee makes recommendations to the Army and Navy regarding changes in their integration plans. The committee recommended to the Army, among other things, that it desegregate its units and abolish its 10% enlistment quota for African-American recruits."
  • Compromise over Army Revisions

    After submitting to the White House's request to not follow through with the threat, "The Fahy Committee submits to the White House its recommendations for modifications to the Army's integration plan, including the elimination of segregated units and the 10% recruitment quota for African-Americans."
  • Navy Integration Plans are Accepts

    The revised plans for Navy integration are accepted by the Secretary of Defense.
  • Army Revisions Rejected

    The Army's revision plans are rejected and they are advised to follow the advice of the Fahy Committee (a.k.a. the Presidential Committee).
  • The Army Doesn't Get It

    The Army presents another revised plan that completely ignore the suggestions of the Fahy Committee (presented by Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray and Army Chief of Staff General Omar N. Bradley).
  • Army is not Complying with Order 9981

    "Charles Fahy advises President Truman, Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson, and Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray that the proposed Army integration policy should not be accepted as fulfilling the provisions of Executive Order 9981."
  • Army Does not Include Fahy Committee in New Revisions

    "The Army informs the Fahy Committee that it is sending its revised integration plan to the Secretary of Defense. A copy of the plan was not provided to the Fahy Committee."
  • Army Revisions Approved

    "Secretary of Defense Louis Johnson approves the Army's integration plan, which would maintain segregated units and the 10% enlistment quota for African-Americans."
  • Fahy Writes to the President

    "Charles Fahy writes President Truman that the Army's integration plan would in fact maintain segregation."
  • Fahy Sends a Warning

    After yet another revision that enforces segregation, "Charles Fahy warns the Army that the Fahy Committee will not approve the Army's revised integration plan and will release a statement to the press condemning it."
  • Army Revisions Approved by Fahy Committee

    After meeting in December to discuss revision plans and gradual integration, "The Fahy Committee approves the Army's integration plan, despite the issue of the 10% recruitment quota for African-Americans being still unresolved."
  • Army Quota Abolished

    "The Army agrees to abolish its 10% recruitment quota for African-Americans, effective in April 1950," although, "Secretary of the Army Gordon Gray informs President Truman that, based on earlier conversations, he understands that if the Army abandons its 10% recruitment quota for African-Americans, and if a disproportional number of African-Americans enters the Army as a result, then the Army has the President's approval to reinstate the 10% quota."
  • Final Report of the Fahy Committee

    "The Fahy Committee submits its final report, "Freedom to Serve," to the President, who says in receiving it that he is confident the committee's recommendations will be carried out and that "within the reasonably near future, equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons within the armed services would be accomplished.""
  • Korean War

    African Americans fought in the Korean War as full soldiers.
  • Fahy Committee is Disbanded

    "President Truman informs the Fahy Committee that, against the wishes of most of its members, it is being discontinued. "The necessary programs [to integrate the armed forces] having been adopted," Truman wrote the committee, "I feel that the Armed Services should now have an opportunity to work out in detail the procedures which will complete the steps so carefully initiated by the Committee.""
  • Training is Integrated

    "The Department of Defense announces that all basic training within the United States has been integrated."
  • End of Black Units

    The last all-African-American army unit, the 24th Infantry, was deactivated by Congress.
  • Most of the Army is Integrated

    "The Army announces that 95% of African-American soldiers are serving in integrated units."
  • First African American Air Force General

    General Benjamin O. Davis, Jr. is inducted as the first African American general in the Air Force.