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Confronting Work Place Discrimination on the World War II Home Front

Weighing the Evidence

All documents and text associated with this activity are printed below, followed by a worksheet for student responses.

Introduction

In 1941, A. Philip Randolph threatened a "March on Washington" unless African Americans had opportunities for war industry jobs. To prevent the march, FDR created the Fair Employment Practices Commission (FEPC). But was the commission effective, especially in the South?

A riot erupted at a Liberty Ship factory in Mobile, Alabama, after black welders were stationed alongside white workers in May 1943. The FEPC negotiated an end to the riot with an agreement allowing black welders to work in separate areas. Prior to this time, blacks only held non-skilled positions such as janitors at the factory.

Place the documents on the scale according to whether they show Civil Rights advances or that the FEPC was ineffective in improving conditions.


Name:
Class:

Worksheet

Confronting Work Place Discrimination on the World War II Home Front

Weighing the Evidence

Examine the documents and text included in this activity. Consider how each document does or does not support two opposing interpretations or conclusions. Fill in the topic or interpretations if they are not provided. To show how the documents support the different interpretations, enter the corresponding document number into the boxes near the interpretation. Write your conclusion response in the space provided.

Interpretation 1
The FEPC did improve economic opportunity and lay a foundation for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.

What effect, if any, did the Fair Employment Practices Committee (FEPC) of World War II have on the Civil Rights Movement?
Interpretation 2
The FEPC did not improve economic conditions for African Americans and did not effect the coming Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s.



1

Activity Element

Telegram relaying the announcement regarding pay discrepancies

Page 1



2

Activity Element

Executive Order 8802 dated June 25, 1941, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt prohibits discrimination in the defense program

Page 1



3

Activity Element

Statement from Dr. B.F. Ashe, Regional Director of the War Manpower Commission, concerning the recent race and labor disturbances at the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Corporation in Mobile, Alabama

Page 1



4

Activity Element

Resolution of the Committee statement from Monseignor Francis J. Haas, Chairman of the reorganized Fair Employment Practices Committee

Page 1



5

Activity Element

United Press release relating to the walkout of white welders at the Pinto Island shipyards at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 2



6

Activity Element

Associated Press news release relating to the white shipyard workers strike at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 2



7

Activity Element

Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 1



8

Activity Element

Newspaper clipping relating to the disturbance at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. between white and negro employees

Page 1



Conclusion

Confronting Work Place Discrimination on the World War II Home Front

Weighing the Evidence

Many historians think that the FEPC had no effect on the coming Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960s . Yet it gave jobs, and sometimes good jobs, to African Americans that had even less opportunity only years before. Think about how you placed the documents on the scale and develop your own answer to the question "What effect, if any, did the FEPC have on the coming Civil Rights Movement?"

Write a paper with an introductory paragraph stating your opinion, two or three paragraphs supporting your opinion based on the documents, and a concluding paragraph restating your point. Your opinion should be based on the results of the activity.

Your Response




Document

Telegram relaying the announcement regarding pay discrepancies

6/4/1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Manpower Commission.
National Archives Identifier: 281521
Full Citation: Telegram relaying the announcement regarding pay discrepancies; 6/4/1943; Records of the War Manpower Commission, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/telegram-relaying-the-announcement-regarding-pay-discrepancies, September 24, 2017]


Telegram relaying the announcement regarding pay discrepancies

Page 1



Document

Executive Order 8802 dated June 25, 1941, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt prohibits discrimination in the defense program

6/25/1941

In Executive Order 8802 dated June 25, 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt prohibits discrimination in the defense program.

Transcript

Executive Order

Reaffirming Policy Of Full Participation In The Defense Program By All Persons, Regardless Of Race, Creed, Color, Or National Origin, And Directing Certain Action In Furtherance Of Said Policy

June 25, 1941

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;

And it is hereby ordered as follows:

1. All departments and agencies of the Government of the United States concerned with vocational and training programs for defense production shall take special measures appropriate to assure that such programs are administered without discrimination because of race, creed, color, or national origin;

2. All contracting agencies of the Government of the United States shall include in all defense contracts hereafter negotiated by them a provision obligating the contractor not to discriminate against any worker because of race, creed, color, or national origin;

3. There is established in the Office of Production Management a Committee on Fair Employment Practice, which shall consist of a chairman and four other members to be appointed by the President. The Chairman and members of the Committee shall serve as such without compensation but shall be entitled to actual and necessary transportation, subsistence and other expenses incidental to performance of their duties. The Committee shall receive and investigate complaints of discrimination in violation of the provisions of this order and shall take appropriate steps to redress grievances which it finds to be valid. The Committee shall also recommend to the several departments and agencies of the Government of the United States and to the President all measures which may be deemed by it necessary or proper to effectuate the provisions of this order.

Franklin D. Roosevelt
The White House,
June 25, 1941.
This primary source comes from the General Records of the United States Government.
National Archives Identifier: 300005
Full Citation: Executive Order 8802 dated June 25, 1941, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt prohibits discrimination in the defense program; 6/25/1941; Executive Orders, 1862 - 2011; General Records of the United States Government, ; National Archives Building, Washington, DC. [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/executive-order-8802, September 24, 2017]


Executive Order 8802 dated June 25, 1941, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt prohibits discrimination in the defense program

Page 1



Executive Order 8802 dated June 25, 1941, in which President Franklin D. Roosevelt prohibits discrimination in the defense program

Page 2



Document

Statement from Dr. B.F. Ashe, Regional Director of the War Manpower Commission, concerning the recent race and labor disturbances at the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Corporation in Mobile, Alabama

6/1/1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Manpower Commission.
National Archives Identifier: 281520
Full Citation: Statement from Dr. B.F. Ashe, Regional Director of the War Manpower Commission, concerning the recent race and labor disturbances at the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Corporation in Mobile, Alabama; 6/1/1943; Records of the War Manpower Commission, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/statement-from-dr-bf-ashe-regional-director-of-the-war-manpower-commission-concerning-the-recent-race-and-labor-disturbances-at-the-alabama-drydock-and-shipbuilding-corporation-in-mobile-alabama, September 24, 2017]


Statement from Dr. B.F. Ashe, Regional Director of the War Manpower Commission, concerning the recent race and labor disturbances at the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Corporation in Mobile, Alabama

Page 1



Statement from Dr. B.F. Ashe, Regional Director of the War Manpower Commission, concerning the recent race and labor disturbances at the Alabama Drydock and Shipbuilding Corporation in Mobile, Alabama

Page 2



Document

Resolution of the Committee statement from Monseignor Francis J. Haas, Chairman of the reorganized Fair Employment Practices Committee

7/8/1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Manpower Commission.
National Archives Identifier: 281523
Full Citation: Resolution of the Committee statement from Monseignor Francis J. Haas, Chairman of the reorganized Fair Employment Practices Committee; 7/8/1943; Records of the War Manpower Commission, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/resolution-of-the-committee-statement-from-monseignor-francis-j-haas-chairman-of-the-reorganized-fair-employment-practices-committee, September 24, 2017]


Resolution of the Committee statement from Monseignor Francis J. Haas, Chairman of the reorganized Fair Employment Practices Committee

Page 1



Document

United Press release relating to the walkout of white welders at the Pinto Island shipyards at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

5/27/1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Manpower Commission.
National Archives Identifier: 281527
Full Citation: United Press release relating to the walkout of white welders at the Pinto Island shipyards at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation; 5/27/1943; Records of the War Manpower Commission, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/united-press-release-relating-to-the-walkout-of-white-welders-at-the-pinto-island-shipyards-at-the-alabama-dry-dock-and-shipbuilding-corporation, September 24, 2017]


United Press release relating to the walkout of white welders at the Pinto Island shipyards at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 2



Document

Associated Press news release relating to the white shipyard workers strike at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

5/27/1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Manpower Commission.
National Archives Identifier: 281528
Full Citation: Associated Press news release relating to the white shipyard workers strike at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation; 5/27/1943; Records of the War Manpower Commission, . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/associated-press-news-release-relating-to-the-white-shipyard-workers-strike-at-the-alabama-dry-dock-and-shipbuilding-corporation, September 24, 2017]


Associated Press news release relating to the white shipyard workers strike at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 2



Document

Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

5/27/1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Manpower Commission .
National Archives Identifier: 281526
Full Citation: Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation; 5/27/1943; Records of the War Manpower Commission , . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/draft-news-release-relating-to-the-recent-disturbances-in-mobile-at-the-alabama-dry-dock-and-shipbuilding-corporation, September 24, 2017]


Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 1



Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 2



Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 3



Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 4



Draft news release relating to the recent disturbances in Mobile at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Corporation

Page 5



Document

Newspaper clipping relating to the disturbance at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. between white and negro employees

1943

This primary source comes from the Records of the War Manpower Commission .
National Archives Identifier: 281532
Full Citation: Newspaper clipping relating to the disturbance at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. between white and negro employees; 1943; Records of the War Manpower Commission , . [Online Version, https://www.docsteach.org/documents/document/newspaper-clipping-relating-to-the-disturbance-at-the-alabama-dry-dock-and-shipbuilding-co-between-white-and-negro-employees, September 24, 2017]


Newspaper clipping relating to the disturbance at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Co. between white and negro employees

Page 1