As the U.S. readied to enter World War I, politicians amended Jim Crow-era laws, allowing minorities to boost the military ranks.
The practice continued through to World War II. One such piece of legislation was the Selective Training and Service Act of 1940, which stated “Provided, That in the selection and training of men under this Act … there shall be no discrimination against any person on account of race or color.”
Historian Jonathan Bernstein says this forced integration led to the U.S. military naming bases after Confederate heroes as a way to placate disgruntled Southerners.
Watch CQ Roll Call’s interview with Bernstein on bases named after Confederate generals.