Black Quotidian: Everyday History in African-American Newspapers

August 22, 1950

On August 22, 1950, the Atlanta Daily World reported on the performance of black combat troops in the Korean War. After President Truman signed Executive Order 9981 in 1948, which desegregated the armed forces, the Korean War was the first conflict in which black and white troops fought together on a regular basis. “Reports from the fighting in South Korea indicate that colored combat soldiers are proving their mettle in the Korean campaign,” the article noted, before highlighting the 24th Infantry Regiment, one of the original “Buffalo Solider” regiments. “[The 24th Infantry Regiment] has been in the front line for 35 consecutive days. It attacked three times and captured Yechon in July when towns captured by American forces in Korea were few and far between.” After the victory at Yechon, however, the 24th Infantry Regiment’s performance in combat became a source of controversy. The unit was disbanded on October 1, 1950 after Major General William B. Kean argued that the 24th was “untrustworthy and incapable of carrying out missions expected of an infantry regiment.” Black veterans of the 24th Infantry Regiment, however, contended that racial prejudice in military limited the unit’s performance.  

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