Like Truman’s Military Desegregation Order, Leadership Against Racism Starts at the Top

Articles | July 29 2019
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By John R. Allen

Inspiration around issues of race and civility in America is in short supply. Racist, xenophobic language coming from social media platforms to the White House has corroded public discourse and widened the longstanding divides in the body politic. Rather than despair, I prefer to recall a previous commander-in-chief: President Harry S. Truman, who, on July 26, 1948, issued Executive Order 9981 to abolish discrimination on the basis of “race, color, religion or national origin” in the U.S. armed forces. This morally courageous act, by a president who served his country as a young artillery officer in World War I, would eventually lead to the desegregation of the American military.

I can only imagine what our honored veterans of President Truman’s era must think of this current moment. Now grown gray from too many wars and the relentless passage of time, these Americans are living examples of what this country can become when we are truly led from the White House, instead of battered by shrill vitriol. (Read more)