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African Americans in the 1930 ’ s and 1940 ’ s. The Forgotten Years Of The Civil Rights Movement. ESSAY QUESTION.

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african americans in the 1930 s and 1940 s

African Americans in the 1930’s and 1940’s

The Forgotten Years


The Civil Rights Movement

essay question

The 1930’s and 1940’s are often called the Forgotten Years of the Civil Rights Movement. Analyze how African Americans challenged racism and discrimination during these two decades.

the great depression
The Great Depression
  • Hits African Americans particularly hard
  • In Pittsburgh, Black unemployment is 48% compared to 31% for whites
  • Black sharecroppers face even worse conditions
continued oppression
Continued Oppression
  • Lynchings increase from 7 in 1929 to 24 in 1933
  • Scottsboro Boys, 1931
  • Jim Crow laws continue to limit opportunities
new deal programs
New Deal Programs
  • New Deal programs provide assistance to African Americans such as the CCC
  • Most benefits still provided under Jim Crow traditions and laws
the black cabinet
The Black Cabinet
  • FDR appoints several African Americans to political positions
  • Mary McCleod Bethune, head of Negro Affairs for NYA
  • Robert Weaver, will be first Cabinet appointee in 1960’s
eleanor roosevelt and marian anderson
Eleanor Roosevelt and Marian Anderson
  • The President’s wife, an advocate for racial justice, resigns from DAR when it discriminates against Marian Anderson
  • Marian Anderson’s Easter concert at Lincoln Memorial in 1939 becomes a significant symbol for tolerance
  • First song is “America”
african americans move to the democratic party
African Americans Move to the Democratic Party
  • Because of New Deal Programs, the Black cabinet, and actions like Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Mostly African Americans in northern cities
  • Democrats in South remain racist and linked to Jim Crow
  • African Americans challenge “white only primaries” in 30’s and 40’s
a philip randolph
A. Philip Randolph
  • One of most important African American leaders of 20th century
  • Focus on economic rights as central to civil rights
  • Head of Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters: 10,000 members
  • Editor of The Messenger
  • Entertainers make breakthroughs, challenge traditions
  • Hattie McDaniel wins best supporting actress Oscar for Gone with the Wind
  • Paul Robeson, lawyer, actor, singer, athlete and radical civil rights activist,
billie holiday s strange fruit
Billie Holiday’s Strange Fruit
  • 1939 recording, protest against lynching
  • Became a best selling song
  • Southerners tried to ban the song from the radio
  • Joe Louis, Heavyweight Champion, two fights with Max Schmelling, victory in 1938 has international significance
  • Jackie Robinson, Integrates Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947
the arts
The Arts
  • Jacob Lawrence
  • Harlem resident, studied at Harlem Community Art Center (funded by New Deal program)
  • Painted in modernist style
  • Particularly noted for series on Black History (Migration Series, Toussaint L’Overture, and Harriet Tubman)
legal challenges to segregation
Legal Challenges to Segregation
  • NAACP led by lawyer Charles Houston
  • Missouri ex rel. Gaines v Canada, 1938
  • Shelley v Kramer, 1948, ends restrictive covenants
  • 1950, Sweatt v Painter, separate graduate
  • 1950 McLaurin v Oklahoma separate seating unconstitutional
wwii and american values
WWII and American Values
  • Nazi Propaganda exploits racism in United States
  • Uses images of KKK and Blacks in a Cage
double v march on washington
Double V/March on Washington
  • Demand victory at home and abroad
  • A Philip Randolph threatens a march on Washington
  • FDR creates FEPC IN 1941
  • Various groups like CORE start sit-ins
african americans in the military
African Americans in the Military
  • Still face discrimination, segregated units
  • Benjamin Davis is first black general
  • Tuskegee Airmen
  • 761st Tank Battalion (Black Panthers)
  • Red Ball Express, support troops at Battle of Bulge
myrdal s american dilemma
Myrdal’s American Dilemma
  • Gunnar Myrdal was a Swedish economist, publishes book in 1944
  • Clearly presents that segregation is a contradiction of American ideals
  • Highly influential with white intellectuals
integration of the military
Integration of the Military
  • Civil Rights Commission in 1947 publishes To Secure These Rights
  • Convinces President Harry Truman to integrate the military in 1948 (an election year risk)