Civil Rights

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Executive Order 9981

A position piece on a key event of the Civil Rights Movement

After the war, President Harry Truman, Roosevelt's successor, was faced with countless discrimination issues and problems; many directly caused by the issuance of Executive Order 8802 in 1941. To alleviate the stress and to appease the general consensus on discriminatory issues, Truman allowed Congress to terminate the FEPC; Fair Employment Practices Commission issued by his predecessor Roosevelt “directing that blacks be accepted into job-training programs” (Yon, NP). Shortly following this decision, in 1946, Truman formed a panel to serve as the President's Commission on Civil Rights. The new appointed panel duties included establishing "more adequate means and procedures for the protection of the civil rights of the people of the United States” (Truman, NP). Initial proposals generated by the panel included “anti-lynching”, “anti-poll tax laws”, making the FEPC a permanent staple of the Department of Justice and civil rights era. February 1948 consisted of immense, overwhelming opposition to Truman’s elected panel’s recommendations, none of which increased disparity of ideals from opposing sides as Truman’s decision to issue Executive Order 9981 aimed at promoting equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed forces without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin” (Truman, NP). Currently, nearly sixty five years after Executive Order 9981 was issued by Harry S. Truman in the aftermath of World War II, though ideally a positive historical move towards equality, the actualization of the orders instatement legitimized the increasing opposition by the general public (Levy, NP). Truman’s decision to issue the order undoubtedly paints a picture of true leadership and fortitude in the fact that the order was faced with strong opposition from the masses; especially those most affected by the order, service members. The idea of ceasing racial...
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