African American had fought in the US military from colonial times, with an African American being one of the victims of the Boston Massacre. However, the US military was largely segregated with African American units fighting separately from White units. Attempts were often made to hold back African Americans from attaining coveted position like pilots, but eventually, the skills of individual overcame the bias, and thus units like the Tuskgekee airman were formed. After the war, it was largely accepted that African American had performed as well as anyone else in the war. Civil Rights activists led by A. Philip Randolph led the call to desegregate the armed forces.
President Harry Truman agreed and on July 26, 1948, he signed Executive Order 9981 which desegregated the military. It stated:
It would take a few years until all of the institutions of the Armed Forces became desegregated.