During World War II, unprecedented employment avenues opened up for women and minorities in U.S. defense industries at the same time that massive population shifts and the war challenged Americans to rethink notions of race. At this extraordinary historical moment, Mexican American women found new means to exercise control over their lives in the home, workplace, and nation. In From Coveralls to Zoot Suits, Elizabeth R. Escobedo explores how, as war workers and volunteers, dance hostesses and zoot suiters, respectable young ladies and rebellious daughters, these young women used wartime conditions to serve the United States in its time of need and to pursue their own desires. But even after the war, as Escobedo shows, Mexican American women had to continue challenging workplace inequities and confronting family and communal resistance to their broadening public presence. Highlighting seldom heard voices of the "Greatest Generation," Escobedo examines these contradictions within Mexican families and their communities, exploring the impact of youth culture, outside employment, and family relations on the lives of women whose home-front experiences and everyday life choices would fundamentally alter the history of a generation.
The GIs called her Joey. Hundreds owed their lives to the tiny Filipina woman who was one of the top spies for the Allies during World War II, stashing explosives, tracking Japanese troop movements, and smuggling maps of fortifications across enemy lines for Gen. Douglas MacArthur. As the Battle of Manila raged, young Josefina Guerrero walked through gunfire to bandage wounds and close the eyes of the dead. Her valor earned her the Medal of Freedom, but the thing that made her an effective spy was a disease that was destroying her. Guerrero suffered from leprosy, which so horrified the Japanese they refused to search her. After the war, army chaplains found her in a nightmarish leper colony and campaigned for the US government to do something it had never done: welcome a foreigner with leprosy. The fight brought her celebrity, which she used on radio and television to speak for other sufferers. However, the notoriety haunted her after the disease was arrested, and she had to find a way to disappear.
Norman tells the dramatic story of fifty women--members of the Army, Navy, and Air Force Nurse Corps--who went to war, working in military hospitals, aboard ships, and with air evacuation squadrons during the Vietnam War. Here, in a moving narrative, the women talk about why they went to war, the experiences they had while they were there, and how war affected them physically, emotionally, and spiritually.
Standing Up Against Hate tells the stories of the African American women who enlisted in the newly formed Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) in World War II. They quickly discovered that they faced as many obstacles in the armed forces as they did in everyday life. However, they refused to back down. They interrupted careers and left family, friends, and loved ones to venture into unknown and sometimes dangerous territory. They survived racial prejudice and discrimination with dignity, succeeded in jobs women had never worked before, and made crucial contributions to the military war effort. The book centers around Charity Adams, who commanded the only black WAAC battalion sent overseas and became the highest ranking African American woman in the military by the end of the war. Along with Adams's story are those of other black women who played a crucial role in integrating the armed forces. Their tales are both inspiring and heart-wrenching. The book includes a timeline, bibliography, and index.
"Dovey Johnson Roundtree set a new path for women and proved that the vision and perseverance of a single individual can turn the tides of history." --Michelle Obama In Mighty Justice, trailblazing African American civil rights attorney Dovey Johnson Roundtree recounts her inspiring life story that speaks movingly and urgently to our racially troubled times. From the streets of Charlotte, North Carolina, to the segregated courtrooms of the nation's capital; from the male stronghold of the army where she broke gender and color barriers to the pulpits of churches where women had waited for years for the right to minister--in all these places, Roundtree sought justice. At a time when African American attorneys had to leave the courthouses to use the bathroom, Roundtree took on Washington's white legal establishment and prevailed, winning a 1955 landmark bus desegregation case that would help to dismantle the practice of "separate but equal" and shatter Jim Crow laws. Later, she led the vanguard of women ordained to the ministry in the AME Church in 1961, merging her law practice with her ministry to fight for families and children being destroyed by urban violence. Dovey Roundtree passed away in 2018 at the age of 104. Though her achievements were significant and influential, she remains largely unknown to the American public. Mighty Justice corrects the historical record.
When America entered World War II, the surge of patriotism was not confined to men. Congress authorized the organization of the Women's Army Auxiliary Corps (later renamed Women's Army Corps) in 1942, and hundreds of women were able to join in the war effort. Charity Edna Adams became the first black woman commissioned as an officer. Black members of the WAC had to fight the prejudices not only of males who did not want women in their "man's army," but also of those who could not accept blacks in positions of authority or responsibility, even in the segregated military. With unblinking candor, Charity Adams Earley tells of her struggles and successes as the WAC's first black officer and as commanding officer of the only organization of black women to serve overseas during World War II. The 6888th Central Postal Directory Battalion broke all records for redirecting military mail as she commanded the group through its moves from England to France and stood up to the racist slurs of the general under whose command the battalion operated. The Six Triple Eight stood up for its commanding officer, supporting her boycott of segregated living quarters and recreational facilities. This book is a tribute to those courageous women who paved the way for patriots, regardless of color or gender, to serve their country.
The story of the historic 6888th, the first United States Women's Army Corps unit of African American women to serve overseas While African American men and white women were invited, if belatedly, to serve their country abroad, African American women were excluded for overseas duty throughout most of WWII. However, under political pressure from legislators like Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., the NAACP, the Black press, and even President Roosevelt, the US War Department was forced to deploy African American women to the European theater in 1945. African American women answered the call to serve from all over the country, from every socioeconomic stratum. Stationed in France and England at the end of World War II, the 6888th brought together women like Mary Daniel Williams, a cook in the unit who signed up for the Army to escape the slums of Cleveland and to improve her ninth-grade education, and Margaret Barnes Jones, the unit's public relations officer, who grew up in a comfortable household with a politically active mother who encouraged her to challenge the system. Despite the social, political, and economic restrictions imposed upon these women in their own country, they were eager to serve, not only out of patriotism but out of a desire to uplift their race and dispel bigoted preconceptions about their abilities. Elaine Bennett, a First Sergeant, joined because "I wanted to prove to myself and maybe to the world that we would give what we had back to the United States as a confirmation that we were full- fledged citizens." Filled with compelling personal stories based on extensive interviews, To Serve My Country, To Serve My Race is the first book to document the lives of these courageous pioneers. It reveals how their Army experience affected them for the rest of their lives and how they, in turn, transformed the US military forever.
Before Rosa Parks and the March on Washington, four African American women risked their careers and freedom to defy the United States Army over segregation. Women Army Corps (WAC) privates Mary Green, Anna Morrison, Johnnie Murphy, and Alice Young enlisted to serve their country, improve their lives, and claim the privileges of citizenship long denied them. Promised a chance at training and skilled positions, they saw white WACs assigned to those better jobs and found themselves relegated to work as orderlies. In 1945, their strike alongside fifty other WACs captured the nation's attention and ignited passionate debates on racism, women in the military, and patriotism. Glory in Their Spirit presents the powerful story of their persistence and the public uproar that ensued. Newspapers chose sides. Civil rights activists coalesced to wield a new power. The military, meanwhile, found itself increasingly unable to justify its policies. In the end, Green, Morrison, Murphy, and Young chose court-martial over a return to menial duties. But their courage pushed the segregated military to the breaking point "and helped steer one of American's most powerful institutions onto a new road toward progress and justice.
This inspiring anthology is the first to convey the rich experiences and contributions of women in the American military in their own words--from the Revolutionary War to the present wars in the Middle East. Serving with the Union Army during the Civil War as a nurse, scout, spy, and soldier, Harriet Tubman tells what it was like to be the first American woman to lead a raid against an enemy, freeing some 750 slaves. Busting gender stereotypes, Josette Dermody Wingo enlisted as a gunner's mate in the navy in World War II to teach sailors to fire Oerlikon anti-aircraft guns. Marine Barbara Dulinsky recalls serving under fire in Saigon during the Tet Offensive of 1968, and Brooke King describes the aftermath of her experiences outside the wire with the army in Operation Iraqi Freedom. In excerpts from their diaries, letters, oral histories, and pension depositions--as well as from published and unpublished memoirs--generations of women reveal why and how they chose to serve their country, often breaking with social norms, even at great personal peril.
This title brings together twenty-five writings by women who share their rich and varied World War II experiences, from serving in the military to working on the home front to preparing for the postwar world. By providing evidence of their active and resourceful roles in the war effort as workers, wives, and mothers, these women offer eloquent testimony that World War II was indeed everybody's war. Litoff and Smith combine pieces by well-known writers, such as Margaret Culkin Banning and Nancy Wilson Ross, with important-but largely forgotten-personal accounts by ordinary women living in extraordinary times. This volume is divided into the six sections listed below: Preparing for War In the Military At 'Far-Flung' Fronts On the Home Front War Jobs Preparing for the Postwar World
Following the 1941 attack on Pearl Harbor and America's declaration of war on Japan, the U.S. War Department allowed up to five hundred second-generation, or "Nisei," Japanese American women to enlist in the Women's Army Corps and, in smaller numbers, in the Army Medical Corps. Through in-depth interviews with surviving Nisei women who served, Brenda L. Moore provides fascinating firsthand accounts of their experiences. Interested primarily in shedding light on the experiences of Nisei women during the war, the author argues for the relevance of these experiences to larger questions of American race relations and views on gender and their intersections, particularly in the country's highly charged wartime atmosphere. Uncovering a page in American history that has been obscured, Moore adds nuance to our understanding of the situation of Japanese Americans during the war.
Despite the participation of African American women in all aspects of home-front activity during World War II, advertisements, recruitment posters, and newsreels portrayed largely white women as army nurses, defense plant workers, concerned mothers, and steadfast wives. This sea of white faces left for posterity images such as Rosie the Riveter, obscuring the contributions that African American women made to the war effort. In Bitter Fruit, Maureen Honey corrects this distorted picture of women's roles in World War II by collecting photos, essays, fiction, and poetry by and about black women from the four leading African American periodicals of the war period: Negro Digest, The Crisis, Opportunity, and Negro Story. Mostly appearing for the first time since their original publication, the materials in Bitter Fruit feature black women operating technical machinery, working in army uniforms, entertaining audiences, and pursuing a college education. The articles praise the women's accomplishments as pioneers working toward racial equality; the fiction and poetry depict female characters in roles other than domestic servants and give voice to the bitterness arising from discrimination that many women felt. With these various images, Honey masterfully presents the roots of the postwar civil rights movement and the leading roles black women played in it. Containing works from eighty writers, this anthology includes forty African American women authors, most of whose work has not been published since the war. Of particular note are poems and short stories anthologized for the first time, including Ann Petry's first story, Octavia Wynbush's last work of fiction, and three poems by Harlem Renaissance writer Georgia Douglas Johnson. Uniting these various writers was their desire to write in the midst of a worldwide military conflict with dramatic potential for ending segregation and opening doors for women at home. Traditional anthologies of African American literature jump from the Harlem Renaissance to the 1960s with little or no reference to the decades between those periods. Bitter Fruit not only illuminates the literature of these decades but also presents an image of black women as community activists that undercuts gender stereotypes of the era. As Honey concludes in her introduction, "African American women found an empowered voice during the war, one that anticipates the fruit of their wartime effort to break silence, to challenge limits, and to change forever the terms of their lives."