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On April 12, 1945, the United States Army Air Force arrested 101 of its African American officers. They were charged with disobeying a direct order from a superior officer—a charge that could carry the death penalty upon conviction. They were accused of refusing to sign an order that would have placed them in segregated housing and recreational facilities. Their plight was virtually ignored by the press at the time, and books written about the subject did not detail the struggle these aviators underwent to win recognition of their civil rights. The central theme of Double V is the promise held out to African American military personnel that service in World War II would deliver to them a double victory—a "double V"—over tyranny abroad and racial prejudice at home. The book's authors, Lawrence P. Scott and William M. Womack Sr., chronicle for the first time, in detail, one of America's most dramatic failures to deliver on that promise. In the course of their narrative, the authors demonstrate how the Tuskegee airmen suffered as second-class citizens while risking their lives to serve their country. Among the contributions made by this work is a detailed examination of how 101 Tuskegee airmen, by refusing to live in segregated quarters, triggered one of the most significant judicial proceedings in U.S. military history. Double V uses oral accounts and heretofore unused government documents to portray this little-known struggle by one of America's most celebrated flying units. In addition to providing background material about African American aviators before World War II. the authors also demonstrate how the Tuskegee airmen's struggle foretold dilemmas faced by the civil rights movement in the second half of the 20th century. Double V is destined to become an important contribution in the rapidly growing body of civil rights literature.
This book is a multifaceted approach to understanding the central developments in African American history since 1939. It combines a historical overview of key personalities and movements with essays by leading scholars on specific facets of the African American experience, a chronology of events, and a guide to further study. Marian Anderson's famous 1939 concert in front of the Lincoln Memorial was a watershed moment in the struggle for racial justice. Beginning with this event, the editors chart the historical efforts of African Americans to address racism and inequality. They explore the rise of the Civil Rights and Black Power movements and the national and international contexts that shaped their ideologies and methods; consider how changes in immigration patterns have complicated the conventional "black/white" dichotomy in U.S. society; discuss the often uneasy coexistence between a growing African American middle class and a persistent and sizable underclass; and address the complexity of the contemporary African American experience. Contributors consider specific issues in African American life, including the effects of the postindustrial economy and the influence of music, military service, sports, literature, culture, business, and the politics of self-designation, e.g.,"Colored" vs. "Negro," "Black" vs. "African American". While emphasizing political and social developments, this volume also illuminates important economic, military, and cultural themes. An invaluable resource, The Columbia Guide to African American History Since 1939 provides a thorough understanding of a crucial historical period.
Chronicles America's first African American military pilots, who fought againt two enemies, the Axis powers of World War II and Jim Crow racism in the United States.
The century-long struggle to achieve equality for America's black soldiers and sailors, in a stirring narrative history by the author of Root and Branch
Drawing on more than thirty years of teaching and research, Neil A. Wynn combines narrative history and primary sources as he locates the World War II years within the long-term struggle for African Americans' equal rights. It is now widely accepted that these years were crucial in the development of the emerging Civil Rights movement through the economic and social impact of the war, as well as the military service itself. Wynn examines the period within the broader context of the New Deal era of the 1930s and the Cold War of the 1950s, concluding that the war years were neither simply a continuation of earlier developments nor a prelude to later change. Rather, this period was characterized by an intense transformation of black hopes and expectations, encouraged by real socio-economic shifts and departures in federal policy. Black self consciousness at a national level found powerful expression in new movements, from the demand for equality in the military service to changes in the shop floor to the "Double V" campaign that linked the fight for democracy at home for the fight for democracy abroad. As the nation played a new world role in the developing Cold War, the tensions between America's stated beliefs and actual practices emphasized these issues and brought new forces into play. More than a half century later, this book presents a much-needed up-to-date, short and readable interpretation of existing scholarship. Accessible to general and student readers, it tells the story without jargon or theory while including the historiography and debate on particular issues.
Prudence Crandall was a schoolteacher who fought to integrate her school in Canterbury, Connecticut, and educate black women in the early nineteenth century. When Crandall accepted a black woman as a student, she unleashed a storm of controversy that catapulted her to national notoriety, and drew the attention of the most significant pro- and anti-slavery activists of the day. The Connecticut state legislature passed its infamous Black Law in an attempt to close down her school. Arrested and jailed, Crandall’s legal legacy had a lasting impact—Crandall v. State was the first full-throated civil rights case in U.S. history. The arguments by attorneys in Crandall played a role in two of the most fateful Supreme Court decisions, Dred Scott v. Sandford, and the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. In Prudence Crandall’s Legacy, author and lawyer Donald E. Williams Jr. marshals a wealth of detail concerning the life and work of Prudence Crandall, her unique role in the fight for civil rights, and her influence on legal arguments for equality in America.
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