National Archives at Atlanta

National Archives at Atlanta

Progress During World War II
While segregation remained the cultural norm in the South, more employment and service opportunities became available to African American men and women during World War II. However, these new opportunities were not without conflict and tension, as documented by the race riot at the Alabama Dry Dock and Shipbuilding Company in Mobile and the reaction of the white workers at the Fontana Dam site. The Committee on Fair Employment Practice (Fair Employment Practices Commission) monitored compliance with Executive Order 8802, which prohibited racial discrimination in the defense industry. While the overall effectiveness of the agency can be debated, it at least provided the first federal intervention for equal employment practices. Although more tangible advances in Civil Rights did not come until the 1950s and beyond, the foundation for those advances was laid during the war years.
Gadsden Ordnance Plant Workers

Gadsden Ordnance Plant

ca. 1942

African American Waves

African American WAVES

December 7, 1944

Dry Dock Welders

Dry Dock Welders

May 1943

Black Mathmetician

Black Mathematician

September 18, 1944

Dining Car Discrimination

Dining Car Discrimination

May 1942

Fontana Dam Race Relations

Tension at Fontana Dam

July 14, 1942

Discrimination Against Jewish Applicant

Jewish Discrimination

December 1943 - May 1944

Postwar Employment

Postwar Employment

December 18, 1946