What and to what extent did Civil rights issues become a prominent issue in the United States of America as a result of The Second World War?
The war increased black consciousness, making it obvious to African Americans they were owed a lot more than what they were getting. There is no doubt that the period of the Second World War speeded up some significant developments in the black and other communities. Civil rights which became prominent as a result of the war is the move to work in industry in northern and western cities, the issues of employment opportunities, housing and other social problems in the ghettos, racial tension in the northern areas as well as in the south, the widening of horizons for many black people, who now became more impatient with Jim Crow in the south, activity in civil rights organisation like the NAACP and CORE and civil rights issues raised in the case of a number of racial minorities. Black people would often find they were discriminated against when applying for employment, and even if they were successful, they would not usually receive equal pay. They were often ‘the last to be hired, the first to be fired’. However, this was not just the prejudice of middle class employers, the trade union bosses were not pleased to see them come and feared that they, like other migrants, would depress wages. Since they were used to low earning in the south, it was believed that black people would be prepared to settle for less money than white people was thought reasonable. When black people were promoted to positions of authority, white workers frequently walked out, as at Mobile, Alabama, in May 1943 when 12 black welders were promoted at a shipping company, fifty people were seriously injured in the riots that followed the storm out. As Migration to the north was great, for example the black population in Chicago 1940 was 277,000, this rose significantly to 491,000 in 1945.
The issues of housing and other social problems in the...
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