executive order 9981

Thank you for your service, transgender military members and veterans

President Truman issued Executive Order 9981 on July 26th, 1948 to desegregate the military.
President Obama lifted the ban on gay/lesbian service members in 2012 and lifted the ban on transgender people serving in the military in 2015.
Today, July 26th 2017, Trump took a giant step backwards and announced that the military will no longer accept transgender service members due to “the burden of tremendous medical costs and disruption.” There are an estimated 7-15 thousand transgender services members actively risking their lives to protect our rights, our freedom. Trump just disrespected all of us. He is denying us our rights. He needs to be resisted.
Let’s stand together against this harmful policy.
Remember you are valid and beautiful and deserve full human rights. I love you 💖💙 Love will win.

Black Americans in World War II

We call upon the president and congress to declare war on Japan and racial prejudice in our country. Certainly we should be strong enough to whip them both.The Pittsburgh Courier[38]

Despite a high enlistment rate in the U.S. Army, African Americans were not treated equally. At parades, church services, in transportation and canteens the races were kept separate. The Women’s Army Corps (WAC) changed its enlistment policies in January 1941, allowing for African American women to join the ranks of Army nurses to strengthen the war effort. Much like with male soldiers, Black women were given separate training, inferior living quarters, and rations. Black nurses were integrated into everyday life with their white colleagues and often felt the pain of discrimination and slander from the wounded soldiers they cared for and the leadership assigned to them.

The Navy did not follow suit in changing its policies to include women of color until January 25, 1945. The first African American woman sworn into the Navy was Phyllis Mae Dailey, a nurse and Columbia University student from New York. She was the first of only four African American women to serve in the navy during World War II.

Many soldiers of color served their country with distinction during World War II. There were 125,000 African Americans who were overseas in World War II. Famous segregated units, such as the Tuskegee Airmen and 761st Tank Battalion and the lesser-known but equally distinguished 452nd Anti-Aircraft Artillery Battalion, proved their value in combat, leading to desegregation of all U.S. armed forces by order of President Harry S. Truman in July 1948 via Executive Order 9981.”

More info here

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July 26th 1948: Desegregation of US military

On this day in 1948, President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981 to abolish racial discrimination in the military. The order established the President’s Committee on Equality of Treatment and Opportunity in the Armed Services, which committed the United States government to the desegregation of the military, and equality within the ranks. This came in the aftermath of the Second World War, where thousands of African-American men and women joined the armed forces. The discrimination faced by African-American soldiers while fighting for their country led to a ‘Double V’ campaign against fascism abroad and racism at home. Activists like A. Philip Randolph had pushed for integration of the armed forces for a long time before Truman’s action. President Truman aimed to implement limited civil rights legislation to protect African-Americans but was thwarted by the threat of Southern filibuster in Congress; he therefore resorted to executive action and by the end of the Korean War the US military was almost completely integrated. Full civil desegregation in the United States did not begin until after the 1954 Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka which ruled school segregation unconstitutional.

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The Tuskegee Airmen

Under domestic pressure to expand the available roles for African-Americans in military service, the US Army established a new unit, the 99th Pursuit Squadron, for the training of African-Americans for flying duties. However, they - and the later 332nd Fighter Group and 477th Medium Bombardment Group - would forever be better remembered as the Tuskegee Airmen, after Tuskegee, Alabama where their training was conducted.

In the segregated US military of the time, the black fliers were forced to prove themselves constantly, and numerous officers in the Army were openly contemptuous of the project, hoping to see it fail. Despite such institutional barriers, the Tuskegee Airmen continually exceeded expectations, and justifiably earned a name for themselves as one of the best fighter groups in the US Army Air Force during World War II.

During their time in the war, the 332nd (the 477th was not deployed, still in training when the war ended) found themselves fighting in North Africa, and then Italy. The first squadron deployed, the 99th PS was armed with the P-40 Warhawk (top left), and later squadrons deployed with the P-39 Airacobra (top right) and P-47 Lightning (bottom left). But it was the P-51 which would be the mount of most of the Tuskegee Airmen once they began to be equipped with them in mid-1944, and the plane they are most associated with. Beginning with the issuance of the P-47s onwards, the Fighter Group painted their aircraft with the distinctive red job, giving them the nickname of “Red Tails”.

With the end of World War II, operations at Tuskegee Army Air Field continued, but with Executive Order 9981, signed by President Truman in 1948, the US military was to be integrated. The newly separate US Air Force was the first branch to fully integrate, in no small part due to the high quality pilots of the Tuskegee Airmen, and specifically the work of their commander, then Lt. Col. Davis, Jr., who assisted in drafting the plan for Air Force integration. 

(Art by Jim Laurier; Photo from the Tuskegee Airmen Museum)

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“…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..”

 Executive Order 9981, July 26, 1948, in which President Harry S. Truman bans the segregation of the Armed Forces

As one of several actions taken to meet the recommendations of the President’s Commission on Civil Rights, President Harry S. Truman issued an executive order on July 26, 1948, abolishing segregation in the armed forces and ordering full integration of all the services. Executive Order 9981 stated that “there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin.” The order also established an advisory committee to examine the rules, practices, and procedures of the armed services and recommend ways to make desegregation a reality. There was considerable resistance to the executive order from the military, but by the end of the Korean conflict, almost all the military was integrated.

via Our Documents

I figure this has been done before, but…sometimes I like to imagine what the world have been like if Steve survived the war.

Steve travelling to ground zero in Hiroshima and openly weeping because of the devastation he sees there, the picture becoming one of the most iconic photographs of WW2 and making it impossible to deny the threat of nuclear weapons and erase their existence in the media.

Steve, standing behind Henry Truman as he signs Executive order 9981 abolishing racial segregation in the army, and insisting that Gabe Jones and Jim Morita stand next to him for every possible photograph.

Steve on the first lines to protest the Vietnam War, because he’s never had problems defying “Stupid-ass orders, Mr. President.”. The US government admits defeat and brings back the troops after a few months. The hippies are reportedly disappointed that weed has no effect on him. He does look very fetching in a flower crown.

Steve deflecting the bullet meant for Kennedy with his shield after spotting the gunman from where he’d been chatting with Jackie.

Steve Rogers embracing Rosa Parks, shaking hands with Martin Luther King Jr. and being seen listening intently to Ella Baker, making it clear to the white supremacists that America would have none of their shit. Steve removing the smoldering crosses from the lawns of African Americans with his bare hands, angry and defiant, traces of soot on his face.

Graffiti of Captain America’s shield on the Berlin Wall and Steve encountering a Soviet assassin with a familiar face while on a diplomatic visit to Moscow. The US-Russia relations mysteriously improving after a few hours in a closed room with Captain America. An extra seat booked on the flight back to DC.

Steve waiting on the USS Hornet and being the first to welcome home the crew of Apollo 11, prompting Neil Armstrong to describe the view from space again and again, because he never tires of it.

Steve on the front cover of Time magazine, blushing as Harvey Milk presses a kiss to his cheek. Steve quietly coming out as bisexual, fighting against discrimination and encouraging thousands of young people across the globe to accept themselves as they are.

A tall, dark haired man starts accompanying Steve everywhere he goes. Howard Stark introduces the first line of bionic metal prosthetics.

Steve Rogers spending three months in a coma after 9/11, because of the noxious fumes he inhales while trying to save as many lives as possible with the firemen, paramedics and volunteers.  

Howard and Tony Stark refusing to manufacture weapons to invade Afghanistan and Osama Bin Laden’s body turning up in front of the White House, only the shine of metal visible on the cameras.

Imagine what it would mean to wake up in the morning, knowing that somewhere in the world Steve Rogers is doing good things and helping people and existing. Wouldn’t that inspire you to be a better person as well?

I think about this a lot and then I do my best to be a person Steve Rogers would be proud of.