Thank you Mr. Morris for your service to our country. While you may not have been honored then, because of racist policies your actions paved the way for so many others. We as a country are in your debt.
By Larry Shaughnessy, CNN Pentagon Producer
Washington (CNN) -- Thurgood Marshall, Hattie McDaniel, the Tuskegee Airmen and Walter Morris -- all African-Americans who made history breaking the color barrier. But while America's first black Supreme Court justice, the first African-American Oscar winner and the U.S. military's first African-American pilots are well known, you may never have heard of Walter Morris or his role in American history.
The War Department, as the Defense Department used to be called, wanted it that way. On Thursday, a ceremony at the Pentagon will undo that.
When Walter Morris first joined the Army just before World War II, he wasn't a "black" or "Negro" or "African-American" soldier -- he was "colored." And he was treated like all the other "colored" men who wanted to fight for their country.
"We were servants, we were not soldiers," Morris said. "Most of us had an inferiority complex and it was a result of what they had assigned us to do."