By Howard University

Blue Star Families (BSF) in partnership with Howard University and The Chamberlain Project, hosted a panel symposium titled “Freedom to Serve: Integrating the Armed Services,” on July 26. 

The event wove together the expertise, data, and action of Blue Star Families’ Campaign for Inclusion with Howard University’s deep history of military service and civil rights activism and the modern efforts of The Chamberlain Project to bridge the military-civilian gap within higher education. BSF, the nation’s largest nonprofit dedicated to supporting military families and strengthening communities across the United States, brought together these perspectives in order to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Executive Order 9981, a pivotal moment in American History that integrated the Armed Forces in 1948.

Howard University President Wayne A.I. Frederick gives opening remarks at Howard University’s commemoration of military desegregation in the United States. (Photo: Courtesy of Howard University)

The symposium witnessed a gathering of distinguished guests and historymakers, including Academy Award Winner, Air Force Veteran, and Howard University honorary degree recipient Morgan Freeman (D.H. ‘15), Denis McDonough, Secretary of Veterans Affairs, and Carlos Del Toro, Secretary of the Navy, who served as keynote speakers. Lloyd Austin, Secretary of Defense, also gave virtual remarks. 

“Civic responsibility and civic rights go hand in hand,” said Kathy Roth-Douquet, CEO of Blue Star Families. “By telling the story of how military service interrelates with civil rights and strengthens our country and home and abroad, we are telling a positive story of the people who serve and military service itself — which is particularly meaningful now, when recruiting is stumbling. We are excited to highlight many diverse heroes, and the way ahead.”

This article was originally published by Howard University.