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African American Experience

The Depression Era was a contradiction in American History. The Stock Market crashed leaving the population out of work standing on Soup lines while it herald the decade as the new modern age on the road to the future. Both minority groups, white and African American was affected by the Depression. However, no one was affected more than the African Americans. By 1932, half of the African Americans were out of work. In Northern cities, the whites called for any employer to refuse any African American as long as any white man is out of work.

Racial violence exploded and became more common in the South. lynchings became commonplace, where it had declined to only eight in the year of 1932, it increased to an alarming rate to 28 in 1933. Most African Americans voted Republican, until the election of President Franklin Roosevelt changed their views. The African Americans believed President Roosevelt’s fervor in wanting to eliminate the Depression and create jobs. They felt a sense of belonging they had never felt before. Discrimination still existed despite the African Americans feeling as

if they belonged. Through Presidents Roosevelt’s New Deal and employment projects, Roosevelt for political reasons did not get behind all of the legislation which were favored by groups such as the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). World War II began, ending The Depression and labor leader A. Philip Randolph threatened to organize a march on Washington to protest discrimination in the military to the President Roosevelt. The President in response to this organized a march that was decided on an

Issue executive Order 8802, which states all persons, creed or race Order#31114115 HIS325 African American History Pg. 2 were allowed to participate in the defense of the United States. This attempt was to show integrated African Americans in the army which was far from accurate. It was far from the truth when African American forces were segregated and discrimination ran rampant during World War II. Thousands of African American soldiers who did not see battle were segregated despite, being a member of the United States Army.

The American government did nothing to abolish this discrimination. The army allegedly sent African American soldiers to the South so soldiers could train for year-round open weather, which translates to African American soldiers were sent to the worst possible place in America. Soldiers who were sent out throughout the states were discriminated against, denied entrance and service and were forced to eat outside while watching as [“German prisoners of war were seated in the restaurant eating hot food” (Time 65). The soldiers believed that

they were being treated worst than the enemies of war. There is a hidden truth in WWW II where it is said that Negro soldiers did not get to fight in the war. This is untrue, very few African Americans did get to fight, and were treated as experiments when they could participate. American Air Command hid the fact that they did not desire to have any “Negro Soldiers” in they’re regiment. The Air Command received negative press and were forced by the War Departments policy to permit “Negro soldiers, as “Experiments” (Wilson 93).

African Americans were not given the same opportunities as the other soldiers as well as not encouraged to join the Armed forces in future battles. This is disrespectful to the African Americans who risked their own lives for their country during World War II.

Works Cited-

Honor of Humiliation: The analysis of the African-American Soldier in War World II. African American soldiers in World War II index, Kevin Chernick, Jason Cherry, Paula Estock, Lindsay Smaron, and Garner Rogers. Rhetoric 105, Section Q10 February 23, 2004.

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