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Black History Month at The National WWII Museum

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Group of recently appointed officers. Eleven of these men were appointed to the temporary rank of Ensign D-V(S), and one to Warrant Officer, USNR. February 1944.

Group of recently appointed African American officers. Eleven of these men were appointed to the temporary rank of Ensign D-V(S), and one to Warrant Officer, USNR. February 1944.

February is an important month in remembering the path to freedom and equality for African Americans. While the world was in turmoil with war in the 1940s, significant progress was made in the passage for equal rights for African Americans from the Home Front to the battlefields that further set the path towards the 1950s and 60s Civil Rights Movement.  It was the fight for Double Victory, the battle for freedom against the Axis powers abroad and for equality at home, that inspired African Americans to achieve excellence and persevere during their participation in the war effort.  Join us throughout the month of February both here at the Museum and online in revisiting the African American experience during World War II and celebrating the lives that still sacrificed and defended a country that often fought against them.



Lunchbox Lecture
“Fighting Hitler and Jim Crow: The Black Labor Movement During WWII” by Gemma Birnbaum
Wednesday, February 4, 2015
Mortimer Favrot Orientation Center

In honor of Black History Month, join Assistant Director of Education for Curriculum Gemma Birnbaum to learn more about the men and women on the Home Front who worked to industrialize the war abroad while fighting against racism at home. While unprecedented numbers of African American men and women found careers in war production, inequalities in opportunities, pay, and career mobility plagued the Arsenal of Democracy. See how ordinary workers in extraordinary circumstances became leaders in the fight for civil rights.


Panel: “African Americans in Military History” featuring Dr. Allan Millett, Dr. John Morrow and Dr. Adrian Lewis.
A partner program with University of New Orleans.
Thursday, February 26, 2015
4:00 pm Panel – Arizona/Missouri Room
5:30 pm Reception and Book Signing – US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Join us for this panel discussion featuring Dr Allan Millet, Ambrose Professor of History and Director of the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at the University of New Orleans, Dr Adrian Lewis, Professor of 20th Century Warfare at the University of Kansas, and Dr John H Morrow, Jr, Professor of Modern Europe and warfare and society at the University of Georgia. This program presented in partnership with the Eisenhower Center for American Studies at UNO.


Special Presentation: “African Americans in WWII”
Thursday, February 26, 2015
6:30 pm Presentation | 7:30 pm Book Signing
US Freedom Pavilion: The Boeing Center

Join us for a special presentation as Dr. John Morrow of the University of Georgia discusses how the experiences of WWI influenced both government policies and African American military service in WWII. Dr. Morrow will also discuss the long-lasting effects of African American service in WWII and what it means for our nation and its military today.


Discover more about African Americans serving in WWII:

Learn their stories:
In 1941, fewer than 4,000 African Americans were serving in the military. By 1945, more than 1.2 million African Americans would be serving in uniform on the Home Front, in Europe and in the Pacific. Dive into more stories of the African American Experience during World War II in The National WWII Museum’s online collections documenting their wartime lives.

Uncover Oral Histories and Photographs in our Digital Collections:

Explore African American High School experiences in our collection of High School Yearbooks from the WWII-Era:

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