One of the most courageous and principled actions of any President occurred 75 years ago today, when President Harry Truman issued Executive Orders 9980 and 9981, ordering desegregation of all US government employment and the US Military Forces.
Harry Truman came from a Confederate heritage background, and had a record of using nasty terms about African Americans in his earlier years, but as President, he took the courageous action to move forward on the important issue of human rights.
It alienated many Southerners, and the Dixiecrats (States Rights) Party challenged Truman in the Presidential Election Of 1948, with South Carolina Governor Strom Thurmond as their Presidential candidate, winning four states and 39 electoral votes.
This was the second best third party total up to that point in American history, behind Theodore Roosevelt and the Progressive (Bull Moose) party of 1912, which won six states and 88 electoral votes.
Later, George Wallace won five states and 46 electoral votes as the American Independent party nominee in 1968.
Truman’s decision to take action promoted the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement, aided within six years by the Warren Court decision in Brown V Board of Education (1954), and then by courageous actions by Dwight D. Eisenhower, John F. Kennedy, and Lyndon B. Johnson over the next 15 years!