What did the Double V campaign achieve? (2023)


  • Reading in the classroom:
  • Common basic status patterns for these texts and tasks
  • History/Social Studies: Read the story
  • History/Social Studies: Writing
  • Would you like to use these texts in the classroom?
  • Additional Resources:

What did the Double V campaign achieve? (1)

“The Pittsburgh Courier drew inspiration for the Double V campaign from a letter by James G. Thompson of Wichita, Kansas, published in the January 31, 1942 issue. Thompson wrote in his letter entitled 'Must I Sacrifice To Live' Half American ? "," he advocated a "double VV" for a double victory over the enemies of the homeland and the enemies - in opposition to equality, justice and democracy - at home. In its next issue, on February 7, the Post features double-V designs emphasizing the theme "democracy, at home, abroad." The newspaper announced the Double V campaign the following week, declaring its support for the defeat of totalitarianism abroad and inequality at home. (Dan J. Puckett “Double V Campaign” in African American Experience)

The Pittsburgh Courier's Double V campaign captured the nation—that is, the African-American parts of the nation—so much so that it featured Double V baseball games, Double V gardens, Double V contests, and images of Double V Girls in newspapers. to Double Hairdo V (the "Doubler"), Double V fashion and accessories, Double V dances, Double V bands, and Double V songs (such as "A Yankee Doodle Tan The Double 'V Song', as in The Songs That Fought War by John Bush Jones).

Double V clubs collected items to send to soldiers abroad, met with employers about nondiscriminatory hiring practices, sold war bonds, wrote to congressmen to protest poll taxes, and even held rallies. The Double V campaign became a symbol of pride for black Americans at a time when Jim Crow laws were rampant and many of the rights soldiers fought for abroad were denied at home.

(Video) The Double V Campaign of World War II

“Wake up America with your cry of 'double victory!' campaign materials, songs and more from The Pittsburgh Courier June 13, 1942 p.14

The Double V campaign is often overlooked or relegated to a footnote in US history, but it is a time when Black women in the home subverted traditional gender roles to become into social activists, and the beginning of a broader civil rights movement is about to begin. recognize . While the Double V campaign was a source of pride for many, some in the white establishment saw it as "a war against our enemies abroad, and the whites at home" and a "danger to the war effort." Even J. Edgar Hoover, then director of the F.B.I. tried to suppress the Black Press and end the Double V campaign as hate speech and treason ('Treason?' Transcript of The Black Press Soldiers Without Swords)

The scope and sequence of social studies in the city of New York challenge teachers to deal with the impact of World War II on African-American communities; the contributions of African Americans; and the role of women. To address these questions in a common, core-focused social studies unit, we have compiled the following resources for students in grades 10-12 to read and study - including contemporary primary and secondary sources, first-person and secondary accounts, fiction, and texts. Of reference. In particular, this collection of texts asks the following questions:

Charity Adams, First Officer, Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC), Digital ID 1260343, NYPL

The impact of the war on minorities:

  • How did the war affect African American communities?
  • How did the African American home front contribute to the US war effort?

What was the "Double V" campaign?

  • Who created and promoted the Double V campaign?
  • What injustices did the Double V campaign expose during World War II?
  • What did the Double V campaign achieve?
  • How did the Double V campaign serve as a catalyst for the civil rights movement?

Experiences of men and women in military service:

  • How did the United States react to the attack on Pearl Harbor?
  • How did the war affect the role of women?

Reading in the classroom:

Original and Secondary Printed Texts:

To get started, all students can read The Double V Campaign: African Americans and World War II by Michael Cooper, which contains good information (and photos) about the Double V campaign and the problems black soldiers face in their fight for a double victory.

Students can then access the Pittsburgh Courier articles through the NYPL ProQuest Database of Historical African American Newspapers for primary source information; however, the image quality is lacking in many elements.

(Video) The Double V Campaign

A close reading of the excerpted chapter "The Double V Campaign" from Bitter Fruit: African American Women in World War II (pp. 257-314) by Maureen Honey (editor) should also be designated and discussed. The chapter contains material from primary and secondary sources, such as poems, letters to the editor, essays, advertisements, stories, and photographs from the period.

Clips multimedia:

Students can then review media clips from this period, including the African American troop training video clip from Ken Burns' The War (from Episode Three: A Deadly Call, November 1943 to June 1944) and The Black Press: Soldiers Without Swords, a film directed by Stanley Nelson. It is preferable to watch the full film, time permitting, as it tells the story of the rise and fall of the Black Press and its role in creating the Double V campaign. Otherwise, please see the essential section titled "Betrayal ?". which compares different black and mainstream press coverage of the contributions of African Americans during World War II. This section picks up on the almost forgotten "Double V" campaign run by the Pittsburgh Courier, which combined the fight against fascism abroad with segregation at home and nearly resulted in black publishers being charged with sedition. There is a study guide for the film available online (via PBS) and the articles titled Treason and Pittsburgh Courier (with follow-up questions) are intended to be used with students after the screening.

Oral Histories:

Students can review the oral histories of Ray Elliot - 1939-1945: "Two Wars to Win" and other World War II veterans in Fighting for the Double V: Memories of Six African American Veterans of World War II (County Historical Society of Berks) listen. . Questions to consider when listening to these oral histories: World War II is often remembered as a time when Americans came together to work for a common cause. What does the testimony of Ray Elliot and other veterans reveal about the accuracy or inaccuracy of that statement? Students were asked to provide three examples of oral testimony as evidence to support their opinion.

Political cartoons:

Finally, students can select Dr. Examine Seuss Goes To War The World War II Editorial Cartoons of Theodor Seuss Geisel through the print resource (also available online through the UC San Diego Library website). As students watch the cartoons, they should consider: What is the main message of each cartoon? What event, topic, or person does the cartoon refer to or address? Is the cartoon trying to persuade or inform? Who are the recipients and what is the message being sent to them? What tools does Dr. Seuss have (artistic, text placement, etc.) to convey this message?

The selected designs are:

  1. "Listen Master... if you want to achieve real harmony, use the black keys as well as the white ones!" (June 30, 1942)
  2. "The Old Car" (June 26, 1942)
  3. "Hey scouts, look down!" (June 8, 1942)

Common basic status patterns for these texts and tasks

History/Social Studies: Read the story

RH.10.1 Cite specific textual evidence to support analysis of primary and secondary sources, paying attention to characteristics such as date and provenance of the information.

RH.10.2 Identify key ideas or information from a primary or secondary source; Provide an accurate summary of how key ideas or events unfold as the text progresses.

RH.10.3 Analyze in detail a series of events described in a text; determine whether earlier events caused later events or simply preceded them.

RH.10.9 Compare and contrast treatments of the same topic from multiple primary and secondary sources.

(Video) World War II: Black American History #31

History/Social Studies: Writing

WHST.9-10.1 Write arguments that focus on specific course content.

WHST.9-10.2 Write informational/explanatory texts, including narrative of historical events, scientific procedures/experiments, or technical processes.

WHST.9-10.6 Use technology, including the Internet, to produce, publish, and update individual or shared writing products and take advantage of technology's ability to connect to other information and display information in flexible and dynamic ways.

WHST.11-‐12.1 Write arguments that focus on the specific content of the subject.

WHST.11-‐12.7 Carry out short and longer research projects to answer a question (including a self-‐generated question) or solve a problem; where appropriate, limit or expand the investigation; Synthesize various sources on the topic to demonstrate understanding of the topic under study.

WHST.11-‐12.8 Collect relevant information from multiple authoritative print and digital sources, using advanced searches effectively; assess the strengths and limitations of each source in relation to the specific task, purpose, and audience; Selectively incorporate information into the text to keep ideas flowing, avoid plagiarism and excessive reliance on a single source, and follow a standard citation format.

WHST.11-‐12.9 Draw evidence from informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and investigation.

Would you like to use these texts in the classroom?

The documents and texts mentioned above are compiledNYPL Classroom Connections Texts and Assignments Unit: For Shared Core Lesson Plans: The Double V Campaign of World War II.This set of texts and tasks can be used to plan lessons or to supplement and extend ongoing lessons. This text and assignment unit provides information on text complexity, text-dependent problems, and recommended performance assignments for a Common Core-aligned social studies unit.

The Double Victory Campaign during World War II: Unit Texts and Assignments for Common Core Lesson Planning (Click here to download the PDF)

(Video) African Americans and WWII — The Second Great Migration and the Double V Campaign

One Woman's Army: A Black Officer Remembers the WAC by Charity Adams Earley (Major Charity Adams Early was the commander of the only all-black unit in the Women's Army Corps (The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion - "No Mail, No Moral") who served overseas during World War II. His memoirs optimistically recount his war history. Since the ninth grade.)

Lawrence D. Reddick World War II Project Mixed Collection of Materials at the Schomburg Library. The collection consists of correspondence with black soldiers and women, summaries of interviews Reddick conducted, and investigative files he maintained. Available on site only from the NYPL Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture.

Secondary sources:

Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Racial and Gender Barriers to Win World War II by Cheryl Mullenbach. In five chapters devoted to war workers, volunteers, political activists, artists, and the military, the stories of African-American women who worked in these fields are revealed. Contains photos from primary sources from the time, as well as first-hand accounts (Grade 7 and above)

The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny, and the Fight for Civil Rights, by Steve Sheinkin (January 2014 version). The story of the massive explosion that rocked the segregated naval base in Port Chicago, California on July 17, 1944, killing more than 300 sailors on the docks and smashing windows up to a mile away. On August 9, 1944, hundreds of men refused to return to work until the unsafe conditions were resolved; Instead of addressing these concerns, however, 50 African-American sailors were charged with mutiny for what they considered to be unruly actions. Contains first-hand accounts from seafarers and their families. A Captivating, Complicated, and Cached Historical Account (Grades 5 and Up)

The Double V: How Wars, Protests, and Harry Truman Desegregated the US Military by Rawn James, Jr. Truman's 1948 US military desegregation, documenting the contribution of black troops since the American Revolutionary War and their efforts to combat racism in camps and on military bases (grades 9 and above)

Courage Has No Color: The True Story of Triple Nickles: America's First Black Paratroopers, by Tanya Bolden. They became America's first black paratroopers. Why was your story never told? Sibert Medalist Tanya Lee Stone reveals the history of the Triple Nickles during WWII, including their role in fighting Japanese attacks on the American West during WWII (Grade 5 and up).

Additional Resources:

Related topics and ideas for future research (click here for downloadable PDF)

List of books and resources:Expanded Reading and Research List for the Double V Campaign (grades 7+): Includes all of the above resources, plus additional library resources for teaching the Double V Campaign to a broader audience in grades 7 and up, including historical fiction (Invasion! by Walter Dean Meyers and Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis), additional media clips, secondary sources, lesson plans, and more.

Photos:Browse NYPL's digital collections to see photos of African Americans during World War II

(Video) "WW2 & the Double V Campaign" Project Overview

war posters:Persuasion: 'United We Stand' WWII poster art, from the National Archives. "United We Win" focuses on the war effort to encourage African-American participation and promote the achievements of African-American soldiers and soldiers, such as boxer Joe Louis, who enlisted on January 7, 1942; Although he was never on active duty, he played an important role in the media's recruitment drive for African-Americans. The military poster of him, Private Joe Louis says... We will do our part and win because we are on God's side, was an influential image during the war.

Feel free to add additional reading suggestions, lesson plans, and other educational resources in the comments below.

Felice Piggott teaches at the Young Women's Leadership School, East Harlem (TYWLS EH), a single-sex school for grades 6-12. She teaches information technology/literacy, filmmaking and counseling courses and maintains the library. She likes to refer to herself in the third person.


1. African Americans and the Civil Rights Movement During World War II
(NBC News Learn)
2. Double Victory: The Tuskegee Airmen at War | Full-Length 90 Min. Documentary | Lucasfilm
3. Civil Rights and the 1950s: Crash Course US History #39
4. How did Hitler rise to power? - Alex Gendler and Anthony Hazard
5. Percival Prattis Achieving Despite Resistance (Animation)
(Jim Crow Museum)
6. Double V for Victory Chapter 18 Black History
(Judy Graves)


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