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This Day in History – September 2, 1945

Over a million black Americans are drafted into the U.S. armed services

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On this day in 1945, the history of the armed forces was forever changed. 1,154,720 African Americans were drafted into the United States armed services.

During the peak of the war, 3,902 black women were enlisted in the Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps (WACS) and 68 more were in the Navy auxiliary (WAVES). During this time, Major Harriet M. West and Major Charity E. Adams were the highest ranking black women in the armed forces. At an uneasy time in the country with World War II going on and racism a factor, the accomplishments and actions of over a million black citizens were noticed. Color of skin was put aside and the heroic practices of the American soldiers allowed our country to be where it is at right this moment.

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During the time many of the brave soldiers spent in the armed forces, many were recognized for their efforts and hard work that they set forth. There were not only individual people honored, but entire groups of soldiers recognized for their work. Distinguished Unit Citations were awarded to the 969th Field Artillery Battalion, the 614th Tank Destroyer Battalion, and the 332nd Fighter Group.

This events is identified as significant due to the amount of African Americans that were inducted into the armed services and the time in history that this occurred. About a decade after this even happened, the “Little Rock Nine” incident sparked national attention addressing segregation in schools. This day in history may have been the beginning of the shift from segregation to unity in the United States. Today, there is still controversy with those permitted to serve our country although not dealing with race.

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