Last Thursday marked an eventful day for our country on several fronts. On July 26, 1948, the man from Independence signed Executive Order 9981 abolishing segregation in the Armed Services for all people of all races, religions or national origins.

Last Thursday marked an eventful day for our country on several fronts. On July 26, 1948, the man from Independence signed Executive Order 9981 abolishing segregation in the Armed Services for all people of all races, religions or national origins.

On Thursday it was revealed, in a deposition, that Florida’s former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer admitted that radical right members of his party are attempting to suppress the black vote.

Has Jim Crow returned? Under Jim Crow laws, whites and blacks in the South had separate water fountains, bathrooms, public transportation, hotels and restaurants. Many black voters had to pass literacy tests or pay poll taxes.

These far-right radical Republican efforts to suppress minorities and the poor from voting, under the guise of preventing voter fraud (not one case in Pennsylvania); have succeeded in establishing Jim Crow photo ID laws in eight states. Missouri will attempt to do so by the next general election. It remains to be seen if such laws violate the Constitution.

Jim Crow came tumbling down with the 1964 Civil Rights Act. However, President Truman was ahead of his time with his five-part executive order that hit home with the very first paragraph.

“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.”

But that didn’t stop civilian racists and bigots from denying minorities service off base. I witnessed that firsthand in 1959 when a Texas diner refused to serve two blacks and one Latino on our military baseball team traveling back to our base in New Mexico. We walked out as a team, including all of our Southern teammates.

The moderate Republican Party of 1948 would be astonished with their peers today.

Proof of that can be seen in one of their 1948 convention planks that proudly extolled:

“effective insistence on the personal dignity of the individual, and his right to complete justice without regard to race, creed or color, is a fundamental American principle.”

Voting is a fundamental American principle and a right for all Americans.

I give you President John Adams’ toast: Independence forever.