JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
This image stabbed me right in the eyeball. It popped out while I was grazing in a heavy lap-busting volume of The Illustrated London News for 26 March 1949–the yearly volume resists being held in just one hand. Anyway it was first a photo of new tanks in an American cavalry regiment; beneath that, though, was this image:
Which is a detail from:
Removed from its context, this photograph looks very bad on the face of it; but it turns out to be one of many such images, made battalion-wide:
The photo comes about nine months after President Harry Truman issued Executive Order 9981 (26 July 1948), which fully and finally desegregated the U.S. military forces, top-to-bottom. As a matter of fact, speaking of the “top” part of that statement, the Secretary of the Army (the first Secretary of the Army and last Secretary of War), Kenneth Claiborne Royall (1894-1971) held on to the belief that the military should remain segregated always–and held on to that belief like grim death, and was dismissed (forced into retirement) for those views and for not carrying out Truman’s order in April ’49.
Source: Truman Library