I have written before about how African Americans have served in every war in our nation’s history and done so with bravery, skill, and distinction. This is yet another of those stories.
Prior to WWII, 57 Medals of Honor had been awarded to African Americans for their examples of undaunted courage in the face of the enemy. But the legal institution of segregation in the South and the less open feelings of prejudice in the rest of the country had truly become “institutionalized” and were a very real part of the military during WWII.
As we have seen, up to and including WWII, all Black military units were segregated. It was not until President Harry Truman desegregated the military on July 26, 1948, that those formerly segregated units no longer were a part of the United States military.
Because of that segregation and the prejudices behind it, no Medals of Honor were awarded to Black military personnel during WWII and in the years following. It was not until 50 years after WWII that seven African American heroes were finally awarded the Medal of Honor for their heroic actions during WWII.
The long-awaited awarding of these Medals of Honor has led to the creation of an exhibit at the National World War II Museum in New Orleans, Louisiana. If you have never been to this museum, it is a must-see if you are ever in the great city of New Orleans.
The Veterans Site offers its respect and thanks to the seven Americans who were finally able to receive the recognition that was due to them for their sacrifice and undaunted courage while fighting for America and the cause of freedom around the world during WWII. We send our thanks and respect to the families of these men as well. May your memories be honored for eternity. We will never forget your service and what you have done for this country.