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To What Extent Did the Ww2 Change the Lives of Black Americans?

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To what extent did the WWII change the lives of Black Americans?

The Second World War has caused many changes in America. The fight against Nazis in Europe demonstrated that US suffered from the same problem of racism and the white supremacy and that something had to be done.

During the wartime many African Americans had to move from Southern farms to Northern and Western cities, as there was a lack of jobs because of the increase of machinery in farming industry. At the same time, new factories that produced war equipment needed more labourers as most white men had left America to fight in WWII and it gave Black Americans an opportunity to find new jobs in those spheres, but some companies like Railroads refused to employ black people. Still, new workplaces allowed them to receive higher pay so it was a pull factor for them, however they had a little perspective to get a better job in future that required higher skills. The migration flow during wartime led to development of black communities and cultural life in cities such as New York and Chicago as the migrant workers lived close to the factories they worked in so it means closer to each other. There still were racial tension and conflicts, but not as bad as back at South, so eventually, black people felt comfortable to stay there and their new economical state and political influence allowed them to do so as they were important part of war economy.

By the end of the Second World War approximately 1 million of African Americans had served in the armed forces. However, initially there was a problem of discrimination in army as in 1941 they refused to train black officers and pilots. They only could be employed as kitchen staff because whites refused to fight alongside with black people. As the war went on and more people were needed, armed forces started to recruit Black Americans, but still only whites could get to the highest positions, so we can say that army still was segregated. Yet, in Tuskegee there were blacks trained as pilots and around 600 of them had served by 1945. Unfortunately, black soldiers returning from the war were treated with disrespect and it was very hard for them to find a job after they quit service, but there still were some great changes in the attitude towards African Americans. Firstly, these opportunities of going abroad allowed Black Americans to see the lack of segregation there and it inspired them to defeat racism in US as well. Black newspapers widely campaigned for a Double Victory over fascism in Europe and racism in US, so many people were aware as it was announced in media. Secondly, it forced all armed forces to move towards equal treatment. No one rejected separation though, but in 1948 Truman ordered the final desegregation and it was the end of discrimination in army.

World War Two affected civil rights campaigns a lot. Considering unsuccessful experience in WWI when black people had suspended all their campaigns believing in improvements but getting nothing, they continued to work in campaigns against discrimination. The NAACP continued to fight for equality in courthouses and schools. In 1944 the NAACP won a major case in Smith vs. Allwright, which outlawed the white primacy. It inspired other African Americans to take a part in the NAACP actions so by the end of WWII the number of the members increased from 50,000 to 450,000 and percentage of voting registered from black people increased from 7% to 12%. It wasn’t the only civil rights organization to come to prominence after the war. The CORE is the campaign founded by James Farmer in 1942 and their aim was to challenge segregation peacefully. Unlike the NAACP, CORE strongly advocated direct actions, but using only marches and sit-ins, refusing to put any violence in their action to prevent other racial tensions. In 1941 black socialist Philip Randolph threatened the President Roosevelt with 100,000 protest march on Washington, demanding equal rights for jobs in war industries. Roosevelt responded with executive order creating FEPC to control unfair employers. It was only partly successful as it didn’t solve problem of discrimination with work places but it provided a lesson about how threat of protest could result to civil rights.

Education is another sphere where African Americans got improvements after WWII. Black soldiers that served in armed forces got GI Bills that allowed them to go to university and get proper education that would let them get better social status and therefore their children could grow in better conditions and it’s a major change for Black Americans’ lives. However, segregation in schools and universities excited until Brown vs. Board case in 1954 after which Supreme Court finally refused the principle of ‘separate but equal’.

So in conclusion I would like to say that WWII led to some great improvements for African Americans, but major problem continued to exist. There still was a low percentage of votes from black people and education still was really poor for their children. As well, they faced racial discrimination in industries as company refused to employ them and after migration blacks still couldn’t settle down whenever they wanted as white people refused to live next to them despite their significance in war economy and the part they took in war actions, protecting United States.…...

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