Post WWII-Korean War
Following World War II, President Harry S. Truman began the discussion to segregate the Armed Forces. Issuing Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948, Truman stated, "It is here by declared to be the policy of the President that there shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin." Amongst general imagery of African Americans serving during the Korean War, this portion also includes imagery of Wesley A. Brown, the first African American to graduate from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1949 and Ensign Jesse LeRoy Brown, the first designated African American Naval Aviator in October 1948. Aviator Brown was commissioned as an Ensign in April 1949 and was killed during the Korean War when his F4U-4 Corsair from USS Leyte (CV-32) was hit by enemy fire near the Chosin Reservoir on December 4, 1950.
Downloadable African American Pamphlet
NHHC African American Experience
A model of USS Leyte (CV-32) is exhibited in the In Harm's Way (Pacific Section) at the National Museum of the U.S. Navy in Building 76.
Image: LC-USZ62-131713: Naval Aviator Jesse LeRoy Brown, 1948. Brown is receiving his wings, with other naval aviators, at Naval Air Station, Jacksonville, Florida. Courtesy of the Library of Congress.