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Link the Past to the Present with the 2016 Essay Contest!

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Students can connect World War II history to today’s most pressing social justice issues through the Museum’s 2016 Essay Contest.

Drawing upon African Americans’ wartime experiences and a poignant letter written by twenty-six-year-old James G. Thompson in 1942, we are asking students to consider the availability of liberty and justice for all Americans seven decades after World War II.

In January 1942, Thompson was a 26-year-old cafeteria worker at an airplane factory in Wichita, Kansas. As a young black man, he wondered how World War II would affect African Americans, who faced significant discrimination on the Home Front and in the military. This situation led Thompson to express his feelings about America’s inequality at home and its war against fascism abroad in a letter to the Pittsburgh Courier, an influential black-owned newspaper.

In conjunction with its special exhibit, Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII, the Museum asks middle and high school students to respond to Thompson’s questions and concerns about the availability of liberty and justice for all Americans.

The contest is open to all middle school (grades 5–8) and high school students in the United States, US Territories, and US military bases, and the submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. CST March 15, 2016.

For complete eligibility and formatting guidelines, and to submit an essay, students should click here. Teachers can also download the middle and high school classroom guides for Fighting for the Right to Fight here.

Get more classroom resources and ideas by signing up for our free monthly e-newsletter Calling All Teachers and following us on Twitter @wwiieducation.

Post by Dr. Walter Stern, K-12 Curriculum Coordinator at The National WWII Museum. 


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