TEXT

Executive Order 9981

Executive Order 9981, signed by President Harry S . Truman on July 26, 1948, launched a committee to desegregate the armed forces.
Author
Harry S. Truman
Grade Level

Establishing the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity In the Armed Forces.

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, by the Constitution and the statutes 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 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 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 Truman

The White House

July 26, 1948

Planning a lesson or unit on the desegregation of the military? Try pairing this text with "Negro Hero."

Source
This text is in the public domain.
Text Dependent Questions
  1. Question
    Identify which parts of this text establish the “what,” the “why” and the “how” of Order 9981. You can cite the
    text by identifying sections, lines or sentences.
    Answer
    The “what” is established in section 1, where Truman orders the integration of the military. The “why” is stated in the second sentence of the order and says that the U.S. armed services must meet the highest standard of democracy by granting equality of treatment and opportunity to all who serve. Lastly, the “how” of the order is established in sections 2-6 and orders the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services to execute the integration of the armed services.
  2. Question
    Summarize sections 2-6, writing no more than four sentences.
    Answer
    Sections 2-6 establish the “President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services.” The role of the committee is to advise the president and leaders in the Defense Department with recommendations for how to effectively implement the order to integrate. Executive agencies and departments are ordered to follow the recommendations and requests of the committee, including to testify when called upon. The committee will continue to exist until ordered otherwise by the president.
  3. Question
    What groups or individuals are and are not included in the protections of this important piece of anti-
    discrimination policy?
    Answer
    Eisenhower calls for the equal treatment of all who serve in the military without regard to race, color, religion or national origin. He says nothing of protecting individuals based on gender or sexual orientation.
Reveal Answers