We, Too, Are Americans: African American Women in Detroit and Richmond, 1940-54

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Overview

"During World War II, factories across America retooled for wartime production, and unprecedented labor opportunities opened up for women and minorities. In "We, Too, Are Americans," Megan Taylor Shockley examines the experiences of the African American women who worked in two capitals of industry - Detroit, Michigan, and Richmond, Virginia - during the war and the decade that followed it, making a compelling case for viewing World War II as the crucible of the civil rights movement." "As demands on them intensified, the women working to provide American troops with clothing, medical supplies, and support services became increasingly aware of their key role in the war effort. Middle-class African Americans worked to desegregate voluntary associations (such as the Red Cross and the USO) and institute a policy of respectability that would undercut pernicious racial stereotypes. Working-class black women began to use their indispensability in industry to leverage demands for equal employment, welfare and citizenship benefits, fair treatment on factory floors, good working conditions, and other considerations previously denied them." Shockley shows that in the decade and a half preceding Brown v. Topeka Board of Education, as these women strove to redefine citizenship, backing their claims to equality with lawsuits, sit-ins, and other forms of activism, they were forging tools that civil rights activists would continue to use in the years to come.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780252028632
  • Publisher: University of Illinois Press
  • Publication date: 10/28/2003
  • Series: Women in American History Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 272
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments
Introduction 1
1 Engaging with the State: Middle-Class Women and Responsible Patriotism, 1940-45 29
2 Working for Democracy: Working-Class Women and Wartime Opportunities, 1940-45 63
3 Looking Ahead: Middle-Class Women's Activities in the Postwar World 103
4 Trying to Hold On: Working-Class Women's Activities in the Postwar Era 137
5 Claiming Space: African American Women and Public Protests against Inequality, 1940-54 170
Conclusion 205
Notes 209
Bibliography 241
Index 255
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