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Welcome to the companion website for Freedom to Serve!

On the eve of America’s entry into World War II, African American leaders pushed for inclusion of more black soldiers in the war effort and, after the war, mounted a concerted effort to integrate the armed services. President Harry S. Truman’s decision to issue Executive Order 9981 in 1948, which resulted in the integration of the armed forces, was an important event in twentieth-century American history, and was an early victory on the road to black civil rights.

In Freedom to Serve, Jon E. Taylor shows that the issuing of EO 9981 was an event that forever changed the US armed forces, and set a political precedent for the burgeoning civil rights movement. Including press releases, newspaper articles, presidential speeches, and biographical sidebars, Freedom to Serve introduces students to an under-examined event while illuminating the post-war struggles of African Americans in a new way.