On this day in 1948 President Harry S Truman signed an executive order de-segregating the U.S. Military. There had been Black fighting units since the Civil War but they were all Black units segregated from other units. The Tuskegee Airmen, for example.
As late as 1963 when I first joined the Navy Blacks were not required to be ward room stewards’ mates, but only Blacks and Filipinos were allowed to have that rate. Whites were not allowed to become stewards mates. Filipinos were still required to be stewards’ mates, but I’m not sure whether that applied only to Filipinos who were citizens of the Philippines but not citizens of the U.S., or whether it included Filipinos who were U.S. citizens. Since 2003 Filipinos are allowed to have dual citizenship in the U.S. and the Philippines.
There are many cases where Blacks and Filipinos who were formerly stewards’ mates in the Navy, or whatever the equivalent is in the other branches, rose to high rank in other rates after 1948, and some became commissioned officers. Thus, some Black or Filipino sailors, soldiers or marines who formerly served dinner and coffee to officers and tended officers’ uniforms ended up having others serve them their dinner and coffee and tending their uniforms.
But as we are constantly told by Barack Obama, America is still a deeply racist country. As of now, we still have 1,275 days of this crap to go.