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Pentagon Orders Integration in Reserve Units

Apr. 20, 1962 - The Pentagon has directed that all-Negro and all-white Reserve units be integrated “as rapidly as is consistent with military effectiveness.” The directive, it disclosed today, does not apply to the National Guard, which the Defense Department said “is an organization of volunteers under the command of the respective Governors.” While side-stepping a possible clash with Southern Governors and Southern Congressmen, the Defense Department indicated it hoped to make progress in Guard integration “through consultation and persuasion.” The Reserve integration was ordered by Deputy Secretary of Defense Roswell L. Gilpatric in a memorandum to the Army, Navy, and Air Force dated April 3. Mr. Gilpatric said it was aimed at assuring compliance with a 1948 Executive Order by President Harry S. Truman banning racial segregation in the armed forces.

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