Black History Month 2023

1940 1941 1942

31 Herbert Hoover | 32 Franklin D. Roosevelt | 33 Harry S Truman

Redemption Jim Crow Black Power

1941-1970
Second Great Migration



United States - Hundreds of thousands of Black Americans moved from the South, due to war and the post-War boom.

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February 23, 1941
Amos Wilson Born



Hattiesburg, Mississippi - Amos Wilson was a Black American psychologist, social theorist, scholar, and author. Wilson was a professor of psychology at the City University of New York.

Wilson was a key voice on the condition of Black Americans in a white-dominated society, during the late 1980s, until his death in 1995.

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April 28, 1941
Jim Crow Upheld on Trains



Washington, D. C. - The United States Supreme Court upheld race based segregation of passengers on trains (Mitchell v. United States). Arthur Wergs Mitchell was the plaintiff. He was the first Black American Congressman, to win as a Democrat.

On the evening of April 20th, 1937, Mitchell traveled on a train in 1st class, from Chicago. As the train passed through Arkansas, the conductor moved Mitchell to the colored car. Mitchell objected. The conductor threatened him with arrest, if he didn't move.

Mitchell moved to the colored car. He filed suit. The case went to the United States Supreme Court. The decision required interstate trains to provide the same segregated service to both Black American and white customers.

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June 25, 1941
Racism in the War Industry



Washington, D. C. - The 'Prohibition of Discrimination in the Defense Industry' was signed. It was Executive Order 8802.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt issued this order. It was meant to stop a planned march on Washington, by Black Americans. The march was planned for the following week.

A. Phillip Randolph planned the March on Washington Movement (MOWM), for July 1st, 1941. 100,000 Black Americans were to attend. After Order 8802 was issued, Randolph stopped the march.

The Order said racial bias was not allowed in the war business. It had little power. On May 27th, 1943, Executive Order 9346 replaced Order 8802 and 8823, with much more Presidential power.

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December 7, 1941
Doris Miller's Heroics at Pearl Harbor



Pearl Harbor, Hawaii - During the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, Doris Miller shot down several enemy fighters and helped wounded sailors. He served, as a cook, on the battleship West Virginia, which was sunk in the attack.

Miller had no training on the anti-aircraft gun he used. Many of the white sailors fled, which gave him the chance to use the gun. For his actions, he was given the Navy Cross. It was the first time it was given to a Black American.

The United States Navy tried to hide Miller's feats. The Black American newspaper, the Pittsburgh Courier learned of an unnamed Black American man who was to get a commendation. Lawrence D. Reddick found his name after many attempts to get it from the Navy. After pressure from Black Americans, the Navy finally gave Miller the credit he deserved.

After his heroics, Miller was raised to mess attendant. The Pittsburgh Courier said Miller should be taken out of the war and used to promote war bonds. Instead, the Navy sent him to the South Pacific. The ship where he served, was sunk by a Japanese submarine. Miller died in the attack, November 24, 1943.

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December 12, 1941
Circular 3591 - Slavery Made Illegal



Washington, D. C. - The United States government decided to criminally prosecute cases of slavery. This included debt peonage, and other forms of involuntary servitude. This did not include imprisonment.

White prosecutors avoided slavery cases. Too often, a case was dropped because the prosecutor declined to prosecute. Before this circular, no one was ever convicted for the enslavement of Black Americans.

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