Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II

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Winner of:
2014 Amelia Bloomer Top Ten List

“Allow all black nurses to enlist, and the draft won’t be necessary. . . . If nurses are needed so desperately, why isn’t the Army using colored nurses?”

“My arm gets a little sore slinging a shovel or a pick, but then I forget about it when I think about all those boys over in the Solomons.”

Double Victory tells the stories of ...

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Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II

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Overview

Winner of:
2014 Amelia Bloomer Top Ten List

“Allow all black nurses to enlist, and the draft won’t be necessary. . . . If nurses are needed so desperately, why isn’t the Army using colored nurses?”

“My arm gets a little sore slinging a shovel or a pick, but then I forget about it when I think about all those boys over in the Solomons.”

Double Victory tells the stories of African American women who did extraordinary things to help their country during World War II. In these pages young readers meet a range of remarkable women: war workers, political activists, military women, volunteers, and entertainers. Some, such as Mary McLeod Bethune and Lena Horne, were celebrated in their lifetimes and are well known today. But many others fought discrimination at home and abroad in order to contribute to the war effort yet were overlooked during those years and forgotten by later generations. Double Victory recovers the stories of these courageous women, such as Hazel Dixon Payne, the only woman to serve on the remote Alaska-Canadian Highway; Deverne Calloway, a Red Cross worker who led a protest at an army base in India; and Betty Murphy Phillips, the only black female overseas war correspondent. Offering a new and diverse perspective on the war and including source notes and a bibliography, Double Victory is an invaluable addition to any student’s or history buff’s bookshelf.

 

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Double Victory is a treasure trove of little-known African American history. Cheryl Mullenbach reveals the stories our parents and grandparents were too humble to tell. Read this book and, no matter how much you think you know, you will learn something new.”  —Sherri L. Smith, author, Flygirl

“Cheryl Mullenbach has done a great service in telling the stories of these determined black women who fought racial injustice two decades before the civil rights movement in order to win the right to fight fascism alongside their fellow Americans. Double Victory is at once heartbreaking and inspiring.” —Kathryn Atwood, author of Women Heroes of Word War II

Double Victory . . . spotlights the history of ordinary women who stepped up, spoke out, and defied the rules. These unforgettable African American women denied the America they had in favor of the America in which they hoped to live—and paved the way for the women who continue to create the America we have today.”  —Tanita S. Davis, author, Mare’s War

“In this important new book, Mullenbach demonstrates how black women experienced World War II as a watershed event that ultimately led to more freedoms and equality.”  —Maggi M. Morehouse, author, Fighting in the Jim Crow Army: Black Men and Women Remember World War II

“This is an excellent title for expanding students’ view of the Civil Rights Movement.”—School Library Journal

“A valuable asset.”  —Kirkus Reviews

“Archival photographs throughout the entire book add to the value of this book, which is indeed, a Double Victory in many ways and a new and valuable addition to women’s history, especially African American women.”—Reading.org

“A must read for anyone interested in WWII, Women's History, or African American History…an excellent resource for teachers who are interested in showing a different side of the war or the early Civil Rights Movement.” —Reading Lark

VOYA - Lindsay Grattan
Double Victory documents the heroic efforts of African-American women in the 1940s to show support for their troops in World War II while struggling with and overcoming barriers of race and gender. The contributions of minorities were often overlooked during that time. Mullenbach exposes these efforts by a range of African-American women, from well-known singer and actress Lena Horne, who performed for the troops to raise morale during the war, to lesser-known women like Hazel Dixon Payne, an American Red Cross worker who served along the remote Alaska-Canadian Highway. Mullenbach divides the book into sections, each one exploring the different roles women played throughout the war and on into the Civil Rights movement of the 1950s and ?60s. War workers, political activists, military women, volunteers, and entertainers all made courageous moves to support their country. An eye-opening read, Double Victory brings to light the amazing accomplishments of people who were inhibited not only by their race, but by their gender as well. African-American women had much to overcome and yet still went above and beyond to support a country that often went against them. Though well-written and simple to understand, the book would have benefited from a complete list of the women described as that would be useful to students doing reports or research. Overall, this is a very informative read and an important telling of an overlooked aspect of World War II; it will make a wonderful addition to school libraries and classrooms. Reviewer: Lindsay Grattan
School Library Journal
Gr 7 Up—This scholarly volume gives a comprehensive view of the efforts of African American women who integrated the workforce in both civilian and military positions during World War II. Providing personal accounts of women who worked on highways, as war correspondents, and as entertainers and political activists, five chapters, illustrated with black-and-white photographs and reproductions, look at advances in each of these areas. Though the personal stories help, the text is dense and detailed. Thus, it is a bit dry, making it most useful for research or as a report resource. That aside, this is an excellent title for expanding students' view of the Civil Rights Movement, showing just how many people it took to achieve even the legislative ends realized under President Lyndon Johnson. Additionally, by focusing on women, it gives background on an aspect of the Women's Movement that is often overlooked and on the course of the broader Civil Rights Movement.—Ann Welton, Grant Elementary School, Tacoma, WA
Kirkus Reviews
The role of African-American women in World War II, both at home and abroad, has not been explored as fully as other aspects of that war, and Mullenbach here addresses this deficit. The women who tried to participate struggled against multiple obstacles: prejudice against women, segregated institutions and deep-seated discrimination against blacks in the United States. Despite these realities, many African-American women were determined to have a role in the war effort and to use their struggles to push the country toward greater inclusion for all. This exploration makes clear how hard they fought on their own behalf and how resistant U.S. society was to change, even in wartime and even as its leaders sought to galvanize the country around "four essential human freedoms." Mullenbach effectively weaves this narrative by presenting a wide variety of individual stories of struggle, some victorious, others discouraging, many accompanied by period photographs. Whether she is describing a boycott of segregated Independence Day celebrations at an overseas Red Cross club or the indignities of Jim Crow travel for uniformed women, their dogged determination to fully engage is revealed. One of the many strengths of the book is the range of areas affected, including journalism, manufacturing, troop support, military nursing and many others. Ultimately, their unstinting efforts during World War II helped pave the way for the civil rights movement and major societal change. A valuable asset. (notes, bibliography, index) (Nonfiction 14 & up)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781569768082
  • Publisher: Chicago Review Press, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 1/1/2013
  • Series: Women of Action Series
  • Pages: 272
  • Sales rank: 637,527
  • Age range: 12 - 17 Years
  • Product dimensions: 8.40 (w) x 5.70 (h) x 1.10 (d)

Meet the Author

Cheryl Mullenbach is a former history teacher, librarian, and public television project manager and is currently a K–12 social studies consultant. She contributed several entries to Women in American Military History: An Encyclopedia.

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