Thursday, February 13, 2014

2014 Black History Month

February is Black History Month and this year's theme is Civil Rights in America.  Yesterday, when I went to pick up the new book I had on hold at the library, The Port Chicago 50: Disaster, Mutiny and the Fight for Civil Rights by Steve Sheinkin, I started thinking about the all of the excellent books I have read depicting the experience of African American men, women and children during World War II.

It has been said that the African American men and women who served and worked on the home front and combat fronts in World War II helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.  Their fight for equality is often referred to as The Double Victory Campaign because they were fighting  racism at home and fascism overseas.  In 1997, the Department of Defense created this video documenting the contributions of African Americans in WW2 even as they faced discrimination and disrespect.  Narrated by James Earl Jones, it includes oral histories from some of the combat veterans still living at that time.  It is 1 hour long, but it is well worth watching.

Here are some of the books I have reviewed that you may find interesting after watching African Americans in World War II: A Legacy of Patriotism and Valor:

The Double Victory Campaign: African Americans and World War II by Michael Cooper
A history of African American men and women who fought for victory for their country and for their own equality at home and in the armed services in WWII.

Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II by Cheryl Mullenbach
How the Double Victory Campaign was also waged on the home front and in the Women;s Army Auxiliary Corps (WAAC) by women in WWII.

The story of America's first black paratroopers.

Of the 26 stories, one is the fascinating story about the wartime spying done by Josephine Baker, an African American entertainer living in France.

I include this book because on of the choices readers can make is to become a Tuskegee Airman.

Jump into the Sky by Shelly Pearsall
A nice companion novel to Courage Has No Color, about a boy whose father in a Triple Nickels.

Mare's War by Tanita S. Davis
A novel about a woman who became part of the 6888th Central Postal Battalion and the only African American women who served overseas.

Flygirl by Sherri L. Smith
A novel about a young African American women who wants to the WASP (Women's Airforce Service Pilots), but it is only open to white women.  She gets accepted by passing for white, but eventually problems arise.

 Caleb's War by David L. Dudley   
A young African American boy faces discrimination even as he befriend a white German POW is has more freedom that he does.

Wind Flyers by Angela Johnson
A picture book about a boy who dreams of flying and grows up to become a Tuskegee Airman.

Coming on Home Soon by Jacqueline Woodson
In this beautiful picture, a young girl awaits the return of her mother who has gone North to work on the railroad because of the shortage of male workers who have gone to war.


  1. Ah - thanks for the history recap and the terrific list, I want to watch the documentary too.

    1. The documentary is fascinating and I decided to list the books I have reviewed because they really reflect the time period so well according to the documentary. I hope you find it interesting.