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Social Impact of WWII: The African American Experience

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1 Social Impact of WWII: The African American Experience
IB History of the Americas

2 Mobilizing the Economy for War
Wartime production officially ended the Depression War Production Board: Established to coordinate production of war materials Halted production of nonessential materials Conservation of goods: Ex: Imposed national speed limit to conserve rubber

3 Mobilizing the Economy for War ctnd.
Office of Price Administration: To curb wartime inflation Set price ceilings Established rationing of critical goods (meat, butter) National War Labor Board: To keep workers in factories Imposed ceilings on wage increases Required 30 days notice before strike Many unhappy workers still went on strike

4 Building up troops 15 million men and 250,000 women enlisted
To keep production going, certain groups of workers eliminated from draft Still, drain on agricultural workers led government to create bracero program with Mexico. (we will get to this later)

Urbanization Migration to West, esp. California rapid industrialization of some western states (California) Population Shifts A Nation on the Move, ; American migration during the 1940s was the largest on record to that time. The farm population dropped dramatically as men, women, and children moved to war-production areas and to army and navy bases, particular on the West Coast. Well over 30 million Americans migrated during the war. Many returned to their rural homes after the war, but 12 million migrants stayed in their new locations. Notice the population increases on the West Coast, as well as in the Southwest and Florida. American Pageant 13e Wartime Bases: Faragher, Out of Many, 3rd Ed.; 5

6 African-Americans During War
Double Victory campaign: Victory against dictators abroad, and racism at home Some victories: more job opportunities, increased migration to North and West (esp. CA) Still, much racism: African Americans paid less, discriminated in housing, in public facilities

7 The Double V Campaign V for Victory- V for equality at home
African Americans started the Double V campaign They remained patriotic, yet pushed for civil rights for blacks. It was very important that the campaign show loyalty towards the war effort, since the black press had been criticized for pushing their own agenda ahead of the national agenda.

8 CORE The Congress of Racial Equality
CORE was founded in 1942 by James Farmer and others Precursor to Dr. King and movement in 1950s Used non-violent means to force equality Used sit-ins to force change The group's inspiration the book War Without Violence which outlined Mahatma Gandhi's step-by-step procedures for organizing people and mounting a nonviolent campaign.

9 African-American Resistance
African Americans begin organizing: 1941: A. Philip Randolph, a black labor leader, threatened to march on Washington to protest prejudice against African-American workers In response to threat, Roosevelt banned discrimination in government agencies. Established the Fair Employment Practices Commission to insure equal treatment for African-Americans and other minorities in war industries. Still, results limited. When GIs returned, blacks still first to lose jobs. All of this is an important precedent to Civil Rights movement.

10 Segregated Units Pojer 10 10

11 African Americans in the Armed Forces
African-American soldiers played a significant role in World War II Nearly 700,000 served in Europe and accounted for 20% of the military forces


13 Blacks were still forced to fight in all black units during WWII.
The Tuskegee Airmen were black fighter pilots who destroyed 400 enemy aircraft by the end of the war.

14 Racial Discrimination abroad…
Despite the numbers, they faced racial discrimination: Racially segregated forces African Americans were often classified as unfit for combat and were not allowed on the front lines Mostly given support duties No African Americans were given the Medal of Honor during either world war

15 African Americans on the Homefront
The Struggle for Justice continued on the home front as well as in the military In the South, segregation continued Civil rights still a struggle Unemployment was high for all segments of the black community Black migration – over 2 million migrated to the northern industrial cities Forced to live in crowded urban areas called ghettos Concentrated neighborhoods of minorities

16 Two Americas?? Attitudes of Americans in 1942
60% of whites thought blacks satisfied with their condition Most blacks disagreed Detroit riots – 34 people killed (1943) New York City riots (1943) FDR did not push Civil Rights as a priority “I doubt we can bring about perfection at this time.”

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