African American Involvement in WWII

This project-based lesson engages students with primary sources (posters, photos, and manuscript documents) to analyze and evaluate the involvement of African Americans in World War II. 

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.L.11-12.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on grades 11-12 reading and content, choosing flexibly...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RI.11-12.10
By the end of grade 11, read and comprehend literary nonfiction in the grades 11-CCR text complexity band proficiently, with scaffolding as...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.2
Determine two or more themes or central ideas of a text and analyze their development over the course of the text, including how they interact...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.3
Analyze the impact of the author's choices regarding how to develop and relate elements of a story or drama (e.g., where a story is set, how...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.6
Analyze a case in which grasping a point of view requires distinguishing what is directly stated in a text from what is really meant (e.g.,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.7
Analyze multiple interpretations of a story, drama, or poem (e.g., recorded or live production of a play or recorded novel or poetry), evaluating...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.11-12.9
Demonstrate knowledge of eighteenth-, nineteenth- and early-twentieth-century foundational works of American literature, including how two or...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.SL.11-12.3
Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric, assessing the stance, premises, links among ideas, word...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products in response to ongoing feedback,...
CCSS.ELA-Literacy.W.11-12.9
Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.
CLE 3003.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3003.2.4
Analyze the style and structure of a complex speech.
CLE 3003.4.4
Write an extended research paper, using primary and secondary sources and technology and graphics, as appropriate.
CLE 3003.5.1
Use logic to make inferences and draw conclusions in a variety of complex oral and written contexts.
CLE 3003.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3003.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of American literature from the colonial period to the present and make relevant comparisons.
CLE 3003.8.4
Analyze works of American literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
CLE 3005.1.2
Employ a variety of strategies and resources to determine the definition, pronunciation, etymology, spelling, and usage of words and phrases.
CLE 3005.2.4
Analyze the style and structure of a complex speech.
CLE 3005.6.1
Comprehend and summarize the main ideas of complex informational texts and determine the essential elements that elaborate them.
CLE 3005.8.1
Demonstrate knowledge of significant works of British literature from the Anglo-Saxon period to the present and make relevant comparisons.
CLE 3005.8.4
Analyze works of British literature for what is suggested about the historical period in which they were written.
SPI 3003.1.11
Correctly choose verb forms in terms of tense, voice (i.e., active and passive), and mood for continuity.
SPI 3003.8.6
Identify and analyze standard literary elements (i.e., archetype, allegory, parable, paradox, parody, satire, foreshadowing, flashback).
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.KL.3
Apply knowledge of language to understand how language functions in different contexts, to make effective choices for meaning or style, and to comprehend...
TSS.ELA.11-12.L.VAU.4
Determine or clarify the meaning of unknown and multiple-meaning words and phrases based on 11th -12th grade-level text by choosing flexibly from a...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.IKI.8
Evaluate how an author incorporates evidence and reasoning to support the argument and specific claims in a text.
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.IKI.9
Analyze and evaluate a variety of thematically-related texts of historical and literary significance for their topics, facts, purposes, and rhetorical...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.2
Determine multiple central ideas of a text or texts and analyze their development; provide a critical summary.
TSS.ELA.11-12.RI.KID.3
Analyze how an author's choices regarding the ordering of ideas and events, the introduction and development of ideas, and connections among ideas...
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.IKI.9
Demonstrate knowledge of and analyze thematically-related, significant literary texts, considering how two or more texts treat similar themes or topics.
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.KID.2
Determine multiple themes or central ideas of a text or texts and analyze their development; provide a critical summary.
TSS.ELA.11-12.RL.KID.3
Analyze how an author's choices regarding the development and interaction of characters, events, and ideas over the course of a text impact meaning.
TSS.ELA.11-12.SL.CC.3
Evaluate a speaker's point of view, reasoning, and use of evidence and rhetoric; assess the stance, premises, links among ideas, word choice, points...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.PDW.6
Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products, utilizing ongoing feedback, including new...
TSS.ELA.11-12.W.RBPK.9
Support and defend interpretations, analyses, reflections, or research with evidence found in literature or informational texts, applying grade band...
TSS.ELA.11.RI.RRTC.10
(For 11th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literary nonfiction throughout the grades 11-12 text complexity band proficiently, with a gradual...
TSS.ELA.11.RL.RRTC.10
(For 11th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literature throughout the grades 11-12 text complexity band proficiently, with a gradual release of...
TSS.ELA.12.RI.RRTC.10
(For 12th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literary nonfiction at the high end of the grades 11-12 text complexity band independently and...
TSS.ELA.12.RL.RRTC.10
(For 12th Grade) Read and comprehend a variety of literature at the high end of the grades 11-12 text complexity band independently and proficiently.
US.61
Identify the roles and sacrifices of individual American soldiers, as well as the unique contributions of special fighting forces such as the Tuskegee Airmen, the 442nd...
US.65
Examine the impact of World War II on economic and social conditions for African Americans, including the Fair Employment Practices Committee, the service of African...
 
Alignment of this item to academic standards is based on recommendations from content creators, resource curators, and visitors to this website. It is the responsibility of each educator to verify that the materials are appropriate for your content area, aligned to current academic standards, and will be beneficial to your specific students.
 
Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Identify a role that African Americans filled in World War II and discuss how the role offered new opportunities and/or reflected racial attitudes of 1930s and 1940s.
  • Examine efforts by activists and organizations to promote change and evaluate effectiveness of Executive Orders to change policies for labor and military.
  • Cite specific textual evidence (posters, photos, and/or manuscripts) to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, connecting insights gained from multiple texts.
Essential and guiding questions: 
  • How did the involvement of African Americans in World War II reflect racial attitudes and segregation?
  • How did the role of African Americans in the war impact social and economic conditions for African Americans during and after World War II?
  • How did labor programs and Executive Orders affect opportunities for African Americans? 

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Applying
Extension suggestions: 
  • Student GoogleDocs or PowerPoints can be linked to school website to be shared with school community. A student or teacher panel can vote on their favorite museum room.
  • Virtual Museum can also be a flipped classroom activity. Students can use Venn Diagram graphic organizer to  compare/contrast perspectives of two different African Americans from different branches of service or home front jobs. 

Helpful Hints

MATERIALS AND RESOURCES USED:
Oral Histories

  • Violet Hill Askins Gordon
  • Oneida Miller Stuart
  • Roscoe Tyson Spann
  • Robert P. Madison

Prints and Photographs:

  • Dorie Miller
  • Tuskegee Airmen
  • Rosie Pictures: Select Images Relating to American Women Workers During World War II
  • Tuskagee Airman
  • African American Nurses
  • Buffalo Soldiers
  • Members of an artillery unit…break
  • Photographs and Signs Enforcing Racial Discrimination

Manuscripts

  • Eleanor Roosevelt letter lobbying against
  • lynching
  • A. Phillip Randolph March on Washington
  • President Truman Executive Order 9981
  • FDR Executive Order 8802 Prohibition of
  • Discrimination in the Defense Industry
  • Mary McLeod Bethune speech “What Does
  • American Democracy Mean to Me?” (American Public Media website)
  • Bolton Act: Making the Nursing Profession
  • More Accessible to Everyone (Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing)

Resources

  • Primary Source Analysis Tool, interactive
  • Analyzing Primary Sources
  • Analyzing Photographs and Prints
  • Analyzing Oral Histories
  • Virtual Museum Template