Advancements for Minorities during World War II


10 Secondary Source Facts

  1. President Bill Clinton awarded the highest honor ( medal of honor) to seven black soldiers for their acts during World War II. They were congratulated for extraordinary leadership, courage and acting as a role model to other soldiers. These were the first African Americans to receive the award from the military.

  2. President Roosevelt issued the Executive Order 8802 which meant full equality in the defense program no matter what race, creed, color, or national origin.

  3. The Executive Order 9066 was issued by Roosevelt to remove all Japanese- Americans from the west coast and into "relocation centers." They were forced to sell or abandon their homes.( After Pearl Harbor)

  4. Native Americans supported the Nation's decision of involvement in World War II. In fact, many Native- Americans were in the military and experienced the front line combat.

  5. To make more room for war activities, congress moved the Bureau of Indian Affairs from Washington to Chicago, effecting Indian- Americans domestically. There they were able to find a surplus of jobs in industries with a higher pay.

  6. Indian Americans were very useful in the War. They sent messages to each other in a native tongue that the Germans could not understand or decode. They also did this in World War II

  7. Different women organizations formed including the Women's Auxiliary Ferrying Squadron ( WAFS), and the Women's Air force Service Pilots ( WASP) where women worked as air force service pilots.

  8. Women joined the workforce taking over the factory positions of men who joined the military. This allowed women to feel independent and strong.

  9. People of all races were able to find jobs with the Nation's involvement in War by ending the Great Depression.

  10. A. Philip Randolph organized the March of Washington that demanded that the government hire blacks in the defense plants. Shortly after, Roosevelt established the Fair Employment Practices Committee allowed blacks to be hired in the defense factories.



Primary Sources

The Key!! Cartoon
The Key!! Cartoon

This political cartoon demonstrates African American feelings after they contributed to the war effort. They felt like their act of patriotism and courtesy set an example that everyone should be equal. After ending discrimination in the defense programs, African Americans felt this was the key to end discrimination everywhere.


"...Whereas it is the policy of the United States to encourage full participation in the national defense program by all citizens of the United States, regardless of race, creed, color, or national origin, in the firm belief that the democratic way of life within the Nation can be defended successfully only with the help and support of all groups within its borders; and Whereas there is evidence that available and needed workers have been barred from employment in industries engaged in defense production solely because of considerations of race, creed, color, or national origin, to the detriment of workers' morale and of national unity:

Now, therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me by the Constitution and the statutes, and as a prerequisite to the successful conduct of our national defense production effort, I do hereby reaffirm the policy of the United States that there shall be no discrimination in the employment of workers in defense industries or government because of race, creed, color, or national origin, and I do hereby declare that it is the duty of employers and of labor organizations, in furtherance of said policy and of this order, to provide for the full and equitable participation of all workers in defense industries, without discrimination because of race, creed, color, or national origin;"


--This is a section from the Executive Order 8802 issued by President Roosevelt. He declares that there will be no discrimination against any race in the defense program. He felt like because of the discrimination of African American, the defense system was not working nearly as smoothly or equitably as it should. He also felt like he could not defend the Nation without out the help of all people.



"Whereas the successful prosecution of the war requires every possible protection against espionage and against sabotage to national-defense material, national-defense premises, and national-defense utilities... Now therefore, by virtue of the authority vested in me as President of the United States, and Commander in Chief of the Army and Navy, I hereby authorize and direct the Secretary of War, and the Military Commanders whom he may from time to time designate, whenever he or any designated Commander deems such action necessary or desirable, to prescribe military areas in such places and of such extent as the or the appropriate Military Commander may determine, from which any or all persons may be excluded, and with respect to which, the right of any person to enter, remain in, or leave shall be subject to whatever restrictions the Secretary of War or the appropriate Military Commander may impose in his discretion. The Secretary of War is hereby authorized to provide for residents of any such area who are excluded therefrom, such transportation, food, shelter, and other accommodations as may be necessary, in the judgment of the Secretary of War or the said Military Commander, and until other arrangements are made, to accomplish the purpose of this order."


--This is an excerpt from the Executive Order 9066 issued by Roosevelt. Japanese- Americans were forced to leave their homes and businesses. He states that his reason for the removal of all Japanese- Americans is to prevent any risk of espionage. After Pearl Harbor, Japanese - Americans were suspected of being spy's for Japan. To settle this, Roosevelt had all Japanese- Americans exported to military camps were they were watched over.