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Black Veterans Share World War II Military Service Memories

Georgia Burnette writes in the Buffalo News : “Most people don’t know about the executive order issued by President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1948, desegregating the armed forces. Prior to this, all military services were segregated and most African-Americans were not eligible for combat duty.”  

“When black men volunteered or were drafted after the Japanese attack at Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941, they were relegated to segregated divisions and combat support roles, such as cook, quartermaster and grave-digging duty. The military was as segregated as the Deep South, all because of skin color.”  

“Black men fought with little recognition in all of America’s conflicts. The stories that follow describe those of local World War II African-Americans interviewed for the Veterans History Project of the American Folklife Center. According to the center’s website, the project ‘collects, preserves and makes accessible the personal accounts of American war veterans so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war.’”

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