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Black GIs Response to Jim Crow During WWII

Lesson Author
Lesson Abstract
Essential Question: How did Black GIs respond to Jim Crow in U.S. Armed Forces during World War II?

Secondary materials (book, article, video documentary, etc.) needed

Further Information:

  • Guglielmo, Thomas A. “A Martial Freedom Movement: Black G.I.s’ Political Struggles during World

War II” Journal of American History (March 2018): 879-903.

  • Guglielmo, Thomas A. Divisions: A New History of Racism and Resistance in America’s World War

II Military. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2021.

      • In particular look at Chapter 6, “Jim Crow in Uniform”.
Fully describe the activity or assignment in detail. What will both the teacher and the students do?

1- Provide background on Jim Crow in U.S. Armed Forces during WWII.

      • Suggested resources from YouTube:
        • “Segregation of the U.S. Army in World War II” (watch from 00:42-04:09)  OR
        • World War II: Crash Course Black History #31 (watch from 01:03-09:23)

2- Brainstorm ways Black GIs could have responded and obstacles they may have faced in

    trying to respond.

  • As a whole class, in small groups, or Think-Pair-Share.

3- Read/discuss three examples of how Blacks responded. This can be done in small groups

    then share out to the whole class or through a jigsaw format.

  • John Hope Franklin – excerpt from “Their War and Mine” in The Journal of American History, September 1990. I suggest just the first 2+ pages (pp.576-578) stopping after the sentence “By this time I had concluded that the United States did not need

me and did not deserve me.”