February 1st marks two important occasions here at the Museum: the beginning of Black History Month and Digital Learning Day. Keeping with the national mission of the Museum, the education department strives to provide materials, lessons, and meaningful programs to students and teachers across the country. One way we accomplish this is through the digital platform of videoconferences and webinars.
Josh White, American folk singer
To commemorate the Black History Month, we’re hosting a special FREE webinar on February 16th for students called “Fighting for a Double Victory.” Classrooms around the nation will connect with us to hear about the acts of heroism, struggles, and triumphs of African Americans at home and abroad. We’ll explore the Double Victory campaign through the lens of blues singer Josh White’s “Uncle Sam Says” and “Defense Factory Blues.” Be sure to connect with us this month while we trace the historic path from segregation to integration in the military and beyond.
Register for our free Fighting for a Double Victory Webinar
View all of our Virtual Field Trips, including Iwo Jima and the Home Front
Learn more about the Tuskegee Airmen with our Focus On page, including oral histories, images, a fact sheet and more.
See a full schedule of events and other resources for Black History Month at The National WWII Museum.
Posted by Chrissy Gregg, Virtual Classroom Coordinator at The National WWII Museum.
Dr. King and his wife Coretta with Dr. Ralph Bunche, who worked as an analyst in the Office of Strategic Services during WWII.
While we often think of post-war America as a prosperous time, not all Americans benefited from the booming economy. In particular, despite achieving a number of successes during World War II, African American men and women found themselves once again on the outside of equality and prosperity. In 1941, fewer than 4,000 African Americans were serving in the military and only twelve African Americans had become officers. By 1945, more than 1.2 million African Americans would be serving in uniform on the Home Front, in Europe, and the Pacific (including thousands of African American women in the Women’s auxiliaries). Yet after WWII ended, many African Americans were either jobless or put in positions without room for promotion, often making only a fraction of what their white counterparts would make.
Though he was barely a teenager when World War II began, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. became an integral part of the post-war African American struggle for equality, working alongside veterans like Medger Evers, Nelson Peery, Louis Stokes and Oliver Brown (of Brown v. Board of Education). The movement itself was divided; black veterans involved in the movement had mixed views on how radical they were willing to be in their protest. Veteran Bill Payne once said, “A lot of the sixties movement came from some of the veterans who came back after World War II with radical ideas…. I wasn’t one of those people; I was never considered radical. But I say more power to those that were radical.”