Chapter 30

Chapter 30: The Second World War

Research Topics

The March on Washington (1941)


How did African Americans secure economic opportunity during World War II?

The outbreak of World War II revived the U.S. economy as American workers produced wartime goods for the Allies. African Americans hoped that they too would share in the return to prosperity by finding employment in the defense industries, just as they had during World War I. A. Philip Randolph asked President Roosevelt to ban racial discrimination in defense industries. Fearing that the issue of race might lead to divisions with in American society even as he was trying to unite Americans in preparation for war, Roosevelt declined. Randolph shrewdly planned a March on Washington, a move that would bring the nation's racial inequities public attention. Roosevelt backed down and issued an executive order that ensured African Americans access to defense industry jobs.


Choose from the following titles:

  1. The Call to Negro America to March on Washington (1941)
  2. Painting: Asa Philip Randolph
  3. Flyer: "Why Should We March?"
  4. Executive Order 8802 (25 June 1941)
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