Coming of Age in Mississippi Historical Context

Anne Moody
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World War II offered increasing economic opportunities for many African Americans as the war machine demanded soldiers and factory workers. Almost one million African-American soldiers served in the armed forces; however, they were forced to serve in segregated units. Most were kept out of combat. Although at first many war plants would not hire African Americans or would only hire them as janitors, the 1941 Fair Employment Practices Committee changed this practice. It helped protect African Americans from employment discrimination. An executive order issued two years later required nondiscrimination clauses in all war contracts. Over time, many African-American workers moved into better-paying industrial jobs.

In the aftermath of World War II, many Americans lost their jobs to returning veterans, and African Americans were particularly affected. Their situation was further worsened when Congress abolished the Fair Employment Practices Committee. African Americans throughout the nation faced...

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This section contains 493 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Coming of Age in Mississippi Study Guide
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Coming of Age in Mississippi from Nonfiction Classics for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.