Despite his troubling prejudices and private racist jokes, Truman was troubled by the constant news of black veterans returning home from World War II to a country that didn’t treat them as equals despite risking their lives to protect it. Reports of lynching and increased racial violence led to Truman issuing Executive Order 9981, that banned segregation in the armed services, 70 years ago on July 26, 1948.

And although it wouldn’t be fully implemented until the Korean War, it was a small step towards setting the stage for the Civil Rights Movement. To Truman’s credit, please read over his “Special Message to the Congress on Civil Rights” from February 2, 1948 ( ) where he even goes so far as to call for national anti-lynching legislation (something that, to this day, still doesn’t exist)