Hardships and Opportunities
The outbreak of the Second World War brought many changes at home, and aboard for both minorities and white Americans. As men began to leave off to Europe and the Pacific, the nation was experiencing a large transition in social structure and demography. An overseas conflict made numerous industrial jobs available in the United States. Upon the war’s eruption, various minorities along with African Americans joined the city work force, all ultimately aiding themselves and the war effort. During this time, over five million African Americans relocated from the South to large cities in the North and West. The migration was spurred by the hopes of gaining economic opportunities, escaping harsh discrimination and the cycle of poverty, of which the South consisted of. This movement is known as the second great migration, the first large scale migration of African Americans took place during the First World War. In the 1940s, thousands of blacks demonstrated their binding loyalty to their nation as many enlisted in the military and fought overseas, where racial inequality and segregation continued to take place. The issue of race is seen early on in the war as the U.S. Marines and Army initially refused to accept African Americans, leaving the Navy to accept blacks as just as cooks and waiters. Although these men of color placed their wellbeing behind their nation’s security, discrimination continued to follow them, even aboard, as military training camps and blood plasma were also segregated. These difficult circumstances prompted Black leaders in America to fight for a “Double Victory”, victory for both democracies overseas and at home, for it was ironic that America was fighting against a racist dictator, while racism still entangled the country itself. Racial tensions slowly but surely declined throughout the war, as Asa Philip Randolph and other Black leaders, with help from the First Lady, met with President...
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