This morning I was listening to a BBC World Service podcast called the BBC Documentary Podcast: Fighting Together in Korea. It is a 51-minute episode detailing some of the struggles to desegregate the United States military after President Harry Truman ordered in July 1948 that all of the military service branches must offer equal opportunities to all persons serving in the military regardless of race, national origin, religion, etc.
The effect of Truman’s order was to permit racial integration within the military for the first time in U.S. history. Thus despite the fact that African heritage soldiers had served in every American military conflict since the War for Independence, Truman’s order created the first opportunity for blacks to serve side by side with white soldiers and soldiers of other ethnicities (e.g., Native American, Asian heritage, etc.) and to be promoted when that was merited.
The link to the podcast is below for anyone who might be interested.