• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

To What Extent was the Second World War a Watershed for African Americans

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

To What Extent was the Second World War a Watershed for African Americans African Americans suffered profoundly during the great depression. They were at the bottom of the economic ladder when it began and the war only reinforced their poverty Black unemployment was twice as great as white employment with Black families earning only a third of what white families earned and 2/3 of black Americans had unskilled jobs. Competition over the few jobs that remained during the depression motivated racial violence during the 1930's and the help that New Deal agencies offered did little to aid the special circumstances that African Americans faced. However, the Second World War presented a number of opportunities for African Americans to gain an equal place in politics and society. Unlike the First World War there were no closed ranks, as the Americans wanted to portray a united front. This essay examinees whether or not the Second World War represented a break away from the past for African Americans- a 'watershed'. ...read more.

Middle

Nevertheless, by 1943, 8% of those in defence jobs were African American. Other improvements for African Americans included the fact that they were able to work in positions earning higher pay, thus narrowing the gap between white and black workers. As the war progressed, 700'000 African Americans immigrated from the South to the North and West to take up defence jobs. However, this lead to an increase of racial tension in key cities, shown in the race riot of Detroit, resulting in the deaths of 34, hundreds of casualties as well as $2million in property damages. In these riots, police reportedly arrested and injured African Americans at a much higher rate than white rioters. Though warned about the threat to key cities, Roosevelt did nothing to recognize the factors that caused these riots. However, following the riots, several cities established interracial commissions to prevent similar incidents as these addressed the core root of the conflicts. On the military front, African Americans still pursued their equal rights. ...read more.

Conclusion

Examples of violence used against African Americans continued during World War II and thus questions the actual 'progress' for African Americans. The Second World War period held a number of contradictions for African Americans. For one, although African Americans were able to serve in the military, they still suffered from racial violence and unites were segregated. The institutions set up to help them achieve equality were limited in power. And while Blacks fought abroad against Hitler, oppression was still used against them in America. However, despite this, the Second world war can still be referred to as a 'watershed', as it brought about the further political action of the NAACP and brought about the beginning of significant civil right groups such as CORE. African Americans in the military gained access in training for new jobs, education and were granted greater freedom in other countries such as England. African Americans on the home front were able to learn new jobs and improved their quality of life by fleeing the South and the Jim Crow segregation. Furthermore, even after the war, African Americans continued campaigning for 'victory' on the home front, igniting a new spark in their hearts in their call for equality. ...read more.

The above preview is unformatted text

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE USA 1941-80 section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE USA 1941-80 essays

  1. social stratification of african americans

    This was a major victory for the black community as this law finally gave them most of the civil rights that they had demanded. Chicago strike played an important role in this connection. (Graham, pp. 334-335). Civil rights movement did grant blacks many rights they had been hitherto denied but

  2. The USA 1941 - 80 : The Divided Union.

    Ralph Abernathy * King and others held nightly meeting to keep up morale amongst the local black population. * The bus boycott was a huge success. Local black people used car-sharing to beat the boycott. * The bus company lost 65% of its income in nine months.

  1. the role of women in the second world war.

    It could of been her own experience. It's an unwitting source as it's a private letter to her boyfriend and wasn't meant to be seen by other people. She's being honest describing her own experience and the letter was produced at the time.

  2. Describe the disadvantages that black Americans faced in the early 50's.

    9 children walked there way to school, when they arrived they were met by hundreds of hostile whites in a huge mob, and also the Arkansas paratroopers all making sure they could not get in. Elizabeth Ekcford who was one of the nine children said "I turned around.

  1. "Religion's are notorious for promoting Racial Segregation". Discuss with reference to one specific historical ...

    In 1957, king joined with the Reverend Ralph David Abernathy and Bayard Rustin to form the "Southern Christian leadership conference (SCLC). This was a Christian organisation aimed at ending Racial Segregation. This is evidence showing Christians were actively working Against Racial Segregation and so suggests Racial Segrega- -tion was not promoted by religion.

  2. How united were African Americans in the struggle for Civil Rights in the period ...

    This then led to state government overruling the 14th Amendment and segregation began in the 1880's. More devastatingly than this, was the revival of lynching in the 1890's. To protect themselves, African-Americans started to move away and settle in their own ghettos.

  1. Racism in the Unites States.

    In L.A there was great tension and anxiety between the Blacks and the Koreans, especially over the competition for work. White people preferred to employ Koreas as their skin is fairer than a Black persons. Koreans disliked Blacks as they where given more federal money even tough there were more Koreans living in L.A.

  2. The impact of the Second World War on distinguished groups of the American people

    There were prospects of acquiring jobs in the armed forces, where innovative jobs such as testing warplanes and welding jobs were propounded; over 350,000 served in the armed forces, 80,000 of which assisted overseas. Moreover, prevalent female organisations were also established, for instance WAVES and WAC, the latter having 150,000 women serving for it after its instigation in May 1942.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work