Women welders, 1943; from artstor.org.
1.) What effect did the World War II wartime experience have on African Americans? Did their experiences help or hinder the progress toward equality in America? How were they treated during World War II? Did the government take any steps to ease discrimination against African Americans in war industries?
2.) How did the war change African American attitudes towards their status in American society? How did it change their aspirations?
3.) How did the rhetoric of World War II bring the contradiction between the principle of equal freedom and the actual status of blacks to the forefront of national life? One black woman said about the war that it was Hitler that got blacks out of the white folks’ kitchen. How did they “move out of the kitchen” and what forces were behind those achievements?
4.) How did the Double V campaign spark a civil rights movement? How successful was the Double V campaign?
5.) Did World War II redraw the boundaries of American citizenship? Compare the experiences of blacks during World War I and during World War II.
6.) Franklin D. Roosevelt said that to be an American has always been a “matter of mind and heart,” and “never . . . a matter of race or ancestry.” Was this true for African Americans? How did the language of freedom and democracy help open doors of opportunity for African Americans? What obstacles remained for full success?
7.) Eric Foner wrote, “the language with which World War II was fought helped to lay the foundation for postwar ideals of human rights that extend to all mankind.” Do you agree with the statement as it pertains to African Americans? For African Americans, during World War II and the postwar era, what freedoms were extended or contracted?
Note: Sometime this week, in one of your posts, I want you to reflect on what, in all your required work, you learned new, surprising, and interesting. If you cannot clearly demonstrate you have learned from all the required work in one of those three posts, then write this fourth post summarizing what you have learned from the required work. This is your opportunity, if you have not had a chance in your various posts, to demonstrate that you have done all the required work for this week.