Racial Diversity, Integration and Equal Opportunity in US Army; A Proud History of Progress
Table of Contents
Certificate of Authorship1
Table of Contents3
Minority Service to the US Army - A Proud History5
The Revolutionary War5
The Civil War6
World War I and World War II6
The Korean Conflict7
Vietnam and the Mandatory Draft7
The All-Volunteer Army8
Equal Opportunity and Sexual Harassment Complaints10
The Army has a long-standing tradition providing opportunities for service to our country without regard to national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Minority soldiers have served proudly in every conflict that America has fought. This paper discusses a brief history of the racial integration in the United States Army and examines the demographics of the Army in fiscal year 2004. The Army has been overall very successful in its racial diversity, equal opportunity, and sexual harassment programs.
Racial Diversity, Integration and Equal Opportunity in the US Army
On 26 July 1948 President Harry S. Truman signed Executive Order 9981, calling on the armed forces to provide equal treatment and opportunity for black servicemen. (MacGregor, 1985, chap. 12) This was truly a historic event in American history and promised a future of equality not just for black servicemen in the military, but paved the way for further progress in the Civil Rights movement and more equal treatment for all minorities.
Has our military met the challenge to provide equal treatment and opportunity for all? The path has been rough and slow going at times; and clearly a distance is left on our journey, but the overwhelming body of evidence plainly shows that today's Army is an excellent example of a successful racially diverse workforce that provides opportunities for Americans to serve their country regardless of national origin, race, gender, sexual orientation, or religion. Although there were many examples of heroic service by other minority groups, this paper concentrates mainly on the integration of black soldiers in the military.
Minority Service to the US Army - A Proud History
Minority soldiers in general and black soldiers in particular have fought and contributed in every war and conflict that has called on the sacrifice of our American fighting men and women. Black soldiers fought side by side with white soldiers in the Revolutionary War. In subsequent wars through World War II, blacks would serve in segregated combat units. It would not be until the Korean Conflict that America would once again see an integrated Army.
The Revolutionary War
During the Revolutionary War, the British actively recruited blacks into the British Army. In June 1772, Lord Mansfield, Chief Justice of the King's Bench, outlawed slavery in England but not in the colonies. (Selig, 1997) The British promised freedom to slaves that fled their slaveholders and in 1775, Lord Dunmore, the last Royal Governor of Virginia, issued a proclamation of freedom that encouraged many blacks to join his Army (Rommel-Ruiz, n.d.). The response to this proclamation was overwhelming and some 300 former slaves (making up roughly half of Dunmore's strength), fought at the Battle of the Great Bridge in 1775 (Selig, 1997). Mostly out of military necessity and to a lesser extent, colonial idealism, blacks were allowed to serve in the American forces - and in many cases were promised freedom and pay in exchange for their service. Despite colonial fears of revolt, some 5,000 blacks, the majority from New England would serve mostly in integrated units - the majority as infantrymen or as laborers, a minority as artillerymen, musicians, and cooks. (MacGregor, 1985,...