FORT BELVOIR, Va - Following the directives of the Secretary of Defense, the Army has initiated a comprehensive redesignation plan. This plan aims to align with the recommendations put forth by the Naming Commission, which call for the removal of names, symbols, displays, monuments, and paraphernalia from all Army assets that honor or commemorate the Confederate States of America (also known as 'the Confederacy') or any individual who willingly served with the Confederate States of America.
As part of this commitment to upholding the recommendations of the Naming Commission, Fort Belvoir has taken decisive action to rename the first of four streets on the installation. The objective is to replace those names that previously memorialized willing participants from the Confederacy.
What was once Lee Road, next to Woodlawn Chapel, named for Confederate General Robert E. Lee, is now EO 9981 Road, celebrating the 75th anniversary of President Harry Truman signing Executive Orders 9980, which integrated the federal workforce, and then 9981, which integrated the armed services. July 26, 1948, Truman - with a stroke of his pen - integrated the armed forces for the first time in our nation's history.
The order states, “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 IN EFFECT AS RAPIDLY AS POSSIBLE HAVING DUE REGARD TO THE TIME REQUIRED TO EFFECTUATE ANY NECESSARY CHANGES WITHOUT IMPAIRING EFFICIENCY OR MORALE.”
These new designations reflect the spirit of inclusivity, diversity, and unity that the Army strives to foster within its installations. By embracing these changes, Fort Belvoir aims to create an environment that is respectful, representative, and welcoming to all who serve within its grounds.
The implementation of this redesignation plan serves as a significant step toward honoring our shared values and promoting a more inclusive future. Fort Belvoir remains committed to upholding the principles of equality, diversity, and respect as it moves forward with these necessary changes.
Rohulamin Quander, a native Washingtonian, is a retired Senior Administrative Law Judge for the District of Columbia. A member of the Quander Family whose distinguished history in the Washington, D.C. area is traced to the 1670s, which legacy includes Mount Vernon Plantation ancestors Sukey Bay, Nancy Carter Quander, and West Ford, among others, all of whom were in involuntary service to George Washington. Judge Quander periodically serves as an advisor to Mount Vernon, most recently in the exhibit, Lives Bound Together, Slavery at George Washington’s Mount Vernon, and still maintains close ties. He often serves as a guest lecturer on African American History. He returns to us today as our keynote speaker, having been the Black History Month 2023 here at Fort Belvoir for the Army Analysis office last February. As well, he served as the keynote speaker for the 82nd annual Tuskegee Airmen’s Commemoration Day program in March 2023, which was held at the U.S. Air Force Memorial.
Educated in the Catholic school system of the District of Columbia, he graduated from John Carroll High School, Class of 1961. He is a double graduate from Howard University (BA, 1966; JD, 1969). His professional career includes employment in the Neighborhood Legal Services program, and federal and D.C. employment as an attorney, and private practice. He founded the Quander Historical and Educational Society, Inc., a 501 (c)(3) foundation in 1985, to document, preserve, protect, and share the history of the Quander Family, a product widely recognized as an educational tool.
His continued years of service include addressing human and civil rights inequities among the Dalit (Untouchable) population of India, one of his ancestral homelands. To date, the author of four books, Judge Quander’s newest book is titled, The Quanders – Since 1684, An Enduring African American Legacy. He is also a licensed and certified District of Columbia tour guide. His tours feature traditional Monuments and Memorials, African American History and Culture, or tailored to your personal needs.
Married to Carmen Torruella Quander, internationally acclaimed artist, they have three adult children and one grandchild. They reside in Washington, D.C.
Chairman Jeffrey C. McKay is a lifelong Fairfax County resident, born and raised on the historic Route One Corridor in Franconia District.
From kindergarten to eighth grade, he attended two of Fairfax County’s world-class public schools, Woodlawn Elementary School and Walt Whitman Middle School, before graduating from Bishop Ireton High School. Jeff also graduated with a B.S. in Public Administration and Political Science from James Madison University and is a graduate of the University of Virginia’s Sorensen Institute for Political Leadership.
Jeff has more than 20 years of experience working on behalf of the residents of Fairfax County. First serving for 12 years as then-Supervisor Dana Kauffman’s chief of staff before running and winning the election as Franconia District Supervisor in November 2007. He was elected Chairman in 2019.
Since joining the Board, Jeff has been a champion for equity, education, affordable housing, transportation, revitalization, and the environment in Fairfax County. His commitment to these issues has been demonstrated on the Board as former Chair of the Legislative and Transportation committees and current Chair of the Budget Committee.
Jeff is also a regional leader. Currently, he is Chair of the Dulles Corridor Advisory Committee and serves on both the Northern Virginia Transportation Authority and the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments. He was twice the Chair of the Northern Virginia Transportation Commission; a member of the Northern Virginia Regional Commission; and on the Board of Directors for the Virginia Association of Counties where he is a past president. Jeff’s work has been recognized by the Mount-Vernon Springfield Chamber of Commerce as Citizen of the Year in 2019, by the Faith Alliance for Climate Solutions as the recipient of the 2020 Sustainability Champion Legacy Award, and by the Fairfax County Park Authority Board as the recipient of the 2021 Chairman’s Choice Award.
EO 9981 75th Anniversary: Promise of Integration
"There shall be equality of treatment and opportunities for all persons in the Armed Services without regard to race, creed, or color."
-President Harry S. Truman, 1948
The new signage will support current Army values and celebrate the 75th anniversary of Executive Order 9981 (EO 9981), a historic decree that forever transformed the landscape of equality and integration within the United States Armed Forces.
Signed by President Harry S. Truman on July 26, 1948, EO 9981 marked a significant milestone in the ongoing struggle for civil rights. This groundbreaking order abolished racial discrimination and segregation within the military, paving the way for a more inclusive and diverse armed forces. It proclaimed, "There shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion, or national origin."
The impact of EO 9981 cannot be overstated. By removing barriers based on race and fostering a merit-based system, it opened doors for countless men and women, regardless of their racial or ethnic background, to serve their country with dignity, honor, and equal opportunities. It set a powerful precedent for future civil rights advancements within the United States and inspired similar reforms in other sectors of society.
As we reflect on the 75th anniversary of EO 9981, we celebrate the progress made in achieving a more inclusive military and acknowledge the ongoing work needed to ensure equality for all service members. This anniversary serves as a reminder of the unwavering commitment to justice, diversity, and unity within our armed forces.
Let us honor the courage and determination of those who fought against discrimination and segregation, and let us renew our commitment to upholding the principles of equality and inclusivity that EO 9981 embodies. Together, we continue to build a stronger, more united military and a better future for all.