Saturday, July 26, 2008

On July 26

On this day in ...
... 1847, Joseph Jenkins Roberts proclaimed Liberia to be an independent republic. Roberts, an African-American man born in Virginia, had moved to Liberia in 1829. The West African land had been purchased from indigenous West Africans in 1822 and maintained as a colony by a U.S.-based group known as the American Colonization Society. The new republic's 1st Constitution was proclaimed in September 1847, and soon after Roberts became its 1st President. The Library of Congress' website observes: "Still a country today, Liberia deals with conflict between descendants of African Americans and indigenous tribes." (credit for photo of 1862 Liberian dollar)
... 1948 (60 years ago today), President Harry S. Truman issued Executive Order 9981, which desegregated the U.S. armed forces. The Order began:

1. It is hereby 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. This policy shall be put into effect as rapidly as possible, having due regard to the time required to effectuate any necessary changes without impairing efficiency or morale.

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