2. In 1917 Randolph founded a magazine, ‘The Messenger’ (later the ‘Black Worker’), which campaigned for black civil rights. During the First World War he was arrested for breaking the Espionage Act. It was claimed that Randolph and his co-editor, Chandler Owen was guilty of treason after opposing African Americans joining the army.
After the war Randolph lectured at the Rand School of Social Science. A member of the Socialist Party, Randolph made several unsuccessful attempts to be elected to political office in New York. He was involved in organizing black workers in laundries, clothes factories and cinemas and in 1929 became president of the Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (BSCP). Over the next few years he built it into the first successful black trade union.
The BSCP were members of the American Federation of Labor (AFL) but in protest against its failure to fight discrimination in its ranks, Randolph took his union into the Congress of Industrial Organizations (CIO).
Randolph emerged as one of the most visible spokesmen for African-American civil rights. In 1941, he, Bayard Rustin, and A. J. Muste proposed a march on Washington to protest racial discrimination in war industries and to propose the desegregation of the American Armed forces. The march was cancelled after President of the United States Franklin D. Roosevelt issued Executive Order 8802, or the Fair Employment Act. Some militants felt betrayed by the cancellation because Roosevelt's pronouncement only pertained to banning discrimination within industries and not the armed forces, however the Fair Employment Act is generally perceived as a success for African American rights. In 1942, an estimated 18,000 blacks gathered at Madison Square Garden to hear Randolph kick off a campaign against discrimination in the military, in war industries, in government agencies, and in labour union. An example of the success this act induced is in the Philadelphia Transit Strike of 1944 where the government backed African American workers against White labour. In 1947, Randolph, along with colleague Grant Reynolds, formed the Committee Against Jim Crow in Military Service, later renamed the League for Non-Violent Civil Disobedience. President Harry S. Truman abolished racial segregation in the armed forces through Executive Order 9981 on July 26, 1948.
Randolph was also notable in his support for restrictions on immigration. In 1950, along with Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary of the NAACP, and, Arnold Aronson a leader of the National Jewish Community Relations Advisory Council, Randolph founded the Leadership Conference on Civil Rights (LCCR). LCCR has since become the nation's premier civil rights coalition, and has coordinated the national legislative campaign on behalf of every major civil rights law since 1957.
3. The Great Migration was the movement of 7 million African-Americans out of the Southern United States to the North, Midwest and West from 1910 to 1970. Precise estimates of the number of migrants depend on the time frame. African Americans migrated to escape racism and seek employment opportunities in industrial cities.
When World War I halted immigration from Europe while stimulating orders for Chicago's manufactured goods, employers needed a new source of labor for jobs assumed to be “men's work.” Factories opened the doors to black workers, providing opportunities to black southerners eager to stake their claims to full citizenship through their role in the industrial economy. For black women the doors opened only slightly and temporarily, but even domestic work in Chicago offered higher wages and more personal autonomy than in the South. Information about these differences and about “the exodus” spread quickly through the South, partly because of the Chicago Defender newspaper, which was so influential that many black southerners going to other northern cities went with images of Chicago. Equally important were the correspondence and visits that established “migration chains,” linking Chicago with numerous southern communities, especially in Mississippi.
Migration ebbed and flowed for six decades, accelerating rapidly in the 1940s and 1950s. The expansion of industry during World War II again provided the stimulus. This time, however, the invention of the mechanical cotton picker toward the end of the 1940s provided a push from the South that outlasted the expansion of Chicago's job market. By the 1960s Chicago's packinghouses had closed and its steel mills were beginning to decline. What had once been envisioned as a “Promised Land” for anyone willing to work hard now offered opportunities mainly to educated men and women?
The Great Migration established the foundation of Chicago's African American industrial working class. Despite the tensions between newcomers and “old settlers,” related to differences in age, region of origin, and class, the Great Migration established the foundation for black political power, business enterprise, and union activism.
The Great Migration's impact on cultural life in Chicago is most evident in the southern influence on the Chicago Renaissance of the 1930s and 1940s, as well as blues music, cuisine, churches, and the numerous family and community associations that link Chicago with its southern hinterland—especially Mississippi.
4. In 1945, when the Second World War had ended, black Americans who had been fighting a war against discrimination and racism returned to a country that was overridden with discrimination and racism. Black Americans had neither prospered as independent farmers of the land nor become integrated into the mainstream of American society.
Many blacks had no land and as their main skill was farming they were unable to make a living. This was a major problem and the solution to this problem was crop sharing. This meant that black ex-slaves were given part of a white farmer's land to harvest crops. Part of the money generated from these crops would be given to the white farm owner and the black ex-slave and his family would keep what was left. This sounds like a just and fair solution however it was not because after a while black families ended up in debt. This happened because blacks could not work on the farm without equipment. Unfortunately for them they had no equipment or money to buy equipment with. This led to each plantation having one shop where blacks could buy what they needed for farming, they would pay back the white shop owner when they made money from the crops. This also sounds like a useful initiative. However the shop owners where dishonest and the rates of interest charged for blacks borrowing money was extortionately high. To some extent blacks were in a worse position now as to when they were slaves. This whole problem was due to the fact that they had not been compensated for slavery. If they had been given some compensation and had not been discriminated against then black people would not have found themselves in debt.
Away from farming blacks were losing out in all jobs they would be paid less and if someone had to be made redundant it would undoubtedly be a black man or woman. As blacks had less money they would live on the cheaper side of town in the smaller houses whereas whites would live in bigger houses on the other side of town. This meant one side of the town would be for one race and the other for the other race this led to racial tension.
There were other factors in black people ending up in debt and they were that in the north blacks owned 50% of the land (that was fair) however in the south blacks owned only 2% of land. Another problem was that at the end of the civil war 1865 five out of seven craftsmen were black but in 1920 one in twenty were black, this meant that many blacks did not have a craft. All of these factors led to black Americans in 1945 having horrendous financial trouble.
Separation of races was still a big part of American life in 1945. It had started in education and the Plessy vs. Ferguson ruling in the Supreme Court made it constitutional however it stated that they should be separate but equal. Inevitably however, in the southern states it was separate but conditions for black people were far from equal.
Black schools opened for shorter hours and terms and the facilities were much worse. The availability of black colleges was also a problem as in the south there were only one college for black people per state. As college was where skills were learnt blacks where getting a particularly harsh deal. In every aspect of life blacks where discriminated against for example on buses where they would either have to sit at the back or give up there seat to a white person.
Discrimination in politics was normal in America in 1940 as only two percent of black Americans were allowed to vote. However by 1947, as a result of the Supreme Court decision that outlawed the white primary in Texas, twelve percent of black Americans were allowed to vote. A few black people actually managed to get elected as state legislatures and in New York Adam Clayton Powell went further and was elected to the federal House of Representatives. However, this was still unfair and until discrimination in politics ended blacks could not seriously expect to gain equal rights.
So, it is clear that in 1945 blacks faced all kinds of discrimination in their everyday life. However, after the war there was an increase in black consciousness as blacks came together and discussed possible solutions to racism. A number of black newspapers were set up and the 'double V' campaign was launched. The NAACP grew from having 50,000 members to having 450,000 members and finally now blacks were starting to make them heard.
In conclusion blacks faced social, economic and political discrimination in 1945 that was arguably worse than when they were slaves. Many black men had fought in the Second World War for America and they were still not considered as equals when they returned home. However, blacks wanted equality now more than ever and although progress was limited they were still, at least, making progress.