This lesson can be integrated into a classroom activity by individual students, cross curricular with Language Arts, and/or as a cooperative learning endeavor. Students will analyze Internet websites and access links to a variety of primary and secondary documents.
- To assist students in developing analytical skills that will enable them to evaluate primary documents and images such as photographs, political cartoons and posters related to African American women during World War II
- To introduce students to the Stanford History Educational Group’s Reading Like A Historian teaching strategies to help them investigate historical questions by employing the following reading strategies:
- Sourcing, Contextualizing, corroborating and close reading
- Evaluate images (photographs, political cartoons, political cartoons and written documents via individual and cooperation learning activities
- Think and read historical information like a historian
- Research credible Internet websites that provide different perspectives on the role of African American women in the military during World War II
SS 12.4.2 (US) Students will analyze and evaluate the impact of people, events, ideas, and symbols upon
US history using multiple types of sources.
SS 12.4.2.c (US) Analyze and evaluate the appropriate uses of primary and secondary sources
SS 12.4.3 (US) Students will analyze and evaluate historical and current events from multiple perspectives
SS 12.4.4.a (US) Compare and evaluate contradictory historical narratives of Twentieth-Century U.S. History
through determination of credibility, contextualization, and corroboration
SS 12.4.5.b (US) Obtain, analyze, evaluate, and cite appropriate sources for research about Twentieth-Century
U.S. History, incorporating primary and secondary sources (e.g., Cite sources using a prescribed format)
SS 12.4.5.c (US) Gather historical information about the United States (e.g., document archives, artifacts,
SS 12.4.5.d (US) Present an evaluation of historical information about the United States (e.g., pictures, posters,
oral/written narratives and electronic presentations)
Key Ideas and Details
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from specific details to an understanding of the text as a whole.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.2 Determine the central ideas or information of a primary or secondary source; provide an accurate summary that makes clear the relationships among the key details and ideas.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.3 Evaluate various explanations for actions or events and determine which explanation best accords with textual evidence, acknowledging where the text leaves matters uncertain.
Craft and Structure
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including analyzing how an author uses and refines the meaning of a key term over the course of a CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.5 Analyze in detail how a complex primary source is structured, including how key sentences, paragraphs, and larger portions of the text contribute to the whole.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.6 Evaluate authors’ differing points of view on the same historical event or issue by assessing the authors’ claims, reasoning, and evidence.
Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.7 Integrate and evaluate multiple sources of information presented in diverse formats and media (e.g., visually, quantitatively, as well as in words) in order to address a question or solve a problem.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.8 Evaluate an author’s premises, claims, and evidence by corroborating or challenging them with other information.
- CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RH.11-12.9 Integrate information from diverse sources, both primary and secondary, into a coherent understanding of an idea or event, noting discrepancies among sources.
Taylor, Jon E. Freedom to Serve. Truman, Civil Rights and Executive Order 9981. New York: Routledge Taylor and
Francis Group, 2013.
Buffalo Soldiers Research Museum. African American Women World War II
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Teacher Lesson Plans
Desegregation of the Armed Forces
National Association of Black Military Women.
Science Reference Services. African American Women in the Military and at War: Selected Reading List.
The African Americans. What was America’s double war?
Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc . http://www.womensmemorial.org/Education/BWOHistory.html
Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. Brief History of Black Women in the Military
Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc Voices of Valor.
Women in the Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. Volunteering For Risk: Black Military
Women Overseas during the Wars in Korea and Vietnam
Experiencing War. African American Pioneers.
Harry S. Truman Library and Museum. Desegregation of the Armed Forces
Library of Congress. Prints and Photographs Online Catalog.
National Archives. Archives Library Information Center. “African-American Women’s Resources”
National Archives. Research. Pictures of African American During World War II.
Naval History and Heritage Command First Female Officers - African-Americans and the U.S. Navy
National Women’s History Museum. Partners in Winning the War. African American Women in World War II.
Pictures of African Americans during World War II. National Archives
Stories from the Veterans History project. African Americans at War Fighting Two Battles. Library of Congress.
The following excerpts are from the Women In Military Service For America Memorial Foundation, Inc. Brief History of Black Women in the Military. http://www.womensmemorial.org/Education/BBH1998.html
American women have participated in defense of this nation in both war and peacetime. Their contributions, however, have gone largely unrecognized and unrewarded. While women in the United States Armed Forces share a history of discrimination based on gender, black women have faced both race and gender discrimination. Initially barred from official military status, black women persistently pursued their right to serve
In January 1941, the Army opened its nurse corps to blacks but established a ceiling of 56. On June 25, 1941, President Roosevelt’s Executive Order 8802 created the Fair Employment Practices Commission which led the way in eradicating racial discrimination in the defense program. In June 1943, Frances Payne Bolton, Congresswoman from Ohio, introduced an amendment to the Nurse Training Bill to bar racial bias. Soon 2,000 blacks were enrolled in the Cadet Nurse Corps.
The quota for black Army Nurses was eliminated in July 1944. More than 500 black Army nurses served stateside and overseas during the war. The Navy dropped its color ban on January 25, 1945, and on March 9, Phyllis Daley became the first black commissioned Navy nurse.
Black women also enlisted in the WAAC (Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps) which soon converted to the WAC (Women’s Army Corps), the Navy WAVES (Women Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service), and the Coast Guard SPARS.
From its beginning in 1942, black women were part of the WAAC. When the first WAACs arrived at Fort Des Moines, Iowa, there were 400 white and 40 black women. Dubbed "ten-percenters," recruitment of black women was limited to ten percent of the WAAC population—matching the black proportion of the national population. Enlisted women served in segregated units, participated in segregated training, lived in separate quarters, ate at separate tables in mess halls, and used segregated recreation facilities. Officers received their officer candidate training in integrated units, but lived under segregated conditions. Specialist and technical training schools were integrated in 1943. During the war, 6,520 black women served in the WAAC/WAC.
Black women were barred from the WAVES until October 19, 1944. The efforts of Director Mildred McAfee and Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune helped Secretary of the Navy Forrestal push through their admittance. The first two black WAVES officers, Harriet Ida Pikens and Fra