Black people served in the U.S. military as early as the 18th century, but it wasn’t until after World War II, 1948, that the troops were racially integrated. The military’s view toward African-Americans during World War II reflected that of the wider U.S. culture. According to PBS, a report commissioned by the Army War College considered African-Americans to be “careless, shiftless, irresponsible and secretive” and “unmoral and untruthful.” The accepted viewpoint of the day was that African-American soldiers were not equally capable and would require more intensive leadership than their white counterparts.
Today only 3 percent of white officers report racial discrimination in the military, compared to 27 percent of Black officers. According to a 2011 PBS article, a congressionally charted commission reported that while non-Hispanic whites make up 66 percent of the U.S. population, they comprise 77 percent of active-duty officers. Additionally, while Blacks account for 13 percent of the U.S. population, they only represent just over 8 percent of active-duty officers. In 2014, among the Army’s main combat units, there was not a single Black colonel among all 25 brigades, according to a September 2014 USA Today article.