Desegregation of Troops, 1944. Picture courtesy of

In July 1944, the U.S. Army started desegregating its training camp facilities.


Black platoons were assigned to white companies in a first step toward battlefield integration.

Sadly, this didn’t go over as smoothly with the troops as leaders had hoped. But we all know that part of history, right?

The official order for integrating the armed forces didn’t actually come until four years later in 1948, signed by Harry Truman.

Before this, black platoons date back to the Civil War. Although African Americans fought in the wars predating the Civil War, they actually were included in integrated militias and so forth.

I guess at this point it should come as no shock that our country was behind on this. During WWI, many African Americans went overseas to join because they wanted a chance. For example, Eugene Jacques Ballard graduated his flight training in 1917. The Georgia native had to go to France to become a pilot at the time. To read more, follow this link.

WWII also brought about African American troops and pilots. The most famous of these were known as the Tuskegee Airmen, who were the first African-American military aviators. There are many books, and at least one movie, dedicated to these brave men. To read more, check out Wikipedia or Amazon (for a list of books and movies).