One side felt that segregation was the way it should be, and even so civilian life was still segregated, why not the military. Some were so radical to believe that there was a better race. These beliefs still occurred years after the U.S. Supreme Court declared school segregation unconstitutional in Brown v. Board of Education in 1954.
However a change soon occurred after Brashear joined: "July 14, 1948: Delegates to the Democratic National Convention vote to overrule the platform committee and the Truman administration in favor of a liberal civil rights plank, one that called for, among other things, the desegregation of the armed forces." (Truman Library).
Slowly the integration process occurred in the Navy, and African-Americans were theoretically given the same rights as whites.
People With Disabilities
It was unheard of to have an amputee restored to full active duty especially as a diver.
On one side, it was felt that people with disabilities, especially amputees, were unable to do the necessary work. Some felt it was just economically inefficient. It was evident that Carl Brashear was expected not to return to active duty. People in society with disabilities sometimes were turned down jobs just because they were "handicapped".
The inspiration for Brashear was reading a magazine that someone sent to him in the hospital. In the magazine Brashear read about a Canadian Pilot that had lost both legs and was flying planes once again. The will power of reaching his goal was all that Brashear in his mind needed. Proving the disabled are people just like everyone else.
For example in his 1963 inaugural speech Governor Wallace of Alabama said :
"In the name of the greatest people that have ever trod this earth, I draw the line in the dust and toss the gauntlet before the feet of tyranny, and I say segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever." Obviously people had strong feelings about segregation long after Truman ordered it to be ended in the military in 1948.
Eventually a Disability Act was passed in 1990, granting the disabled with more rights