Viewing page 5 of 9

effort because they deprive the Negro people of full citizenship and participation in the war effort. Some of these hindrances are being removed as a result of the action by labor, government, progressive and people's organizations. To cite but a few examples: the hiring of negro workers in aircraft and other war industries as a result of Executive order 8802 and the President's Fair Employment Practices Committee. 

    The National Maritime Union, backed by the President won the fights against the shipholders, establishing the practice of mixed ship crews Local 475, United Electrical, Radio and Machine Workers of America, C.I.O., only recently announced a policy, unanimously adopted by their executive board, that 10 per cent of all persons sent out for jobs from their hiring office will be Negroes.

The War Labor Board recently cited over twenty unions for their consistent work in securing jobs for Negro workers. These are the straws in the wind that show which way it is blowing. And it is a broad, sweet, democratic wind that is beginning to clear out of the way many of the barriers to fuller integration of the Negro people in our national life and in the war effort.

Joe Louis's home town of Detroit symbolizes the great changes taking place. Joe used to work on the Ford assembly line. Now Detroit has become a great city of organized labor. Along the assembly lines working side by side are organized Negro and white workers, who produce the planes, guns and shells to defeat Hitler.

The shiny new planes that slide off some of the nation's belt lines in Douglas, Glenn Martin, Wright and other places, to defeat Hitler are being built today with the hands of Negro and white youth.

For the first time in our history, Negro pilots fly these planes. At the great air base in Tuskegee, Alabama, the Negro pilots are the pride of their people-of all America. These pilots tell you proudly of their service and of the fine planes they fly. They are lauded by their instructors as being equally skilled and as capable as any pilots in the country.


[[end page]]
[[start page]]

In Detroit, Negroes and White union workers together with the whole people are fighting to wipe out Klanism. Only recently, a Klan member, found to be holding a union card, was unanimously expelled from the union. It was this same union, the United Automobile Workers of America, that was instrumental in bringing abut the victory at the Sojourner Truth Homes. Backed by the government, the Negro workers, supported by their white fellow Americans, defeated the Klan effort to exclude Negroes from this housing project built for them. Now they live in the Sojourner Truth Homes! Today, the Ku Klux Klan is being investigated by the government. This and the investigation undertaken by the government of peonage, lynchings and poll-tax laws are more than timely. This is the way to defeat the enemies of the nation, who prefer to see a victory for Hitler than see full democracy extended for all people.
These are signs of the times. And ever more vigorously the demand goes up from the Negro youth, from the ranks of labor, from among all patriotic people, that if America is to win this war, the doors must be opened even wider to Negro youth to enter into defense production, into the Army, Navy and Air Force on the basis of full equality. This is something new.
But more than that, the need to mobilize everything for the war, to produce, to fight, to win, requires that new gains be made.
Some among the Negro people say we need a "Double V"- a victory at home and abroad. The majority of Negro people who adopt this slogan do so because of the anti-Hitler and pro-democratic faith which they hold. But are there really two "V's" here? We have already shown that everything depends upon defeating Hitler! There will be no "home front" or permanent gains at all without a victory over Hitler. Thus it can be seen that all victories won on the "home front against discrimination today are inseparable from the struggle to defeat Hitler. Clearly there is only one "V"-single and indivisible.
This is the way in which to tackle the problems that still

Please note that the language and terminology used in this collection reflects the context and culture of the time of its creation, and may include culturally sensitive information. As an historical document, its contents may be at odds with contemporary views and terminology. The information within this collection does not reflect the views of the Smithsonian Institution, but is available in its original form to facilitate research. For questions or comments regarding sensitive content, access, and use related to this collection, please contact