Double V campaign

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The Double V campaign was a slogan and drive to promote the fight for democracy in oversea campaigns and at the home front in the United States for African Americans during World War II. The Double V refers to the "V for victory" sign prominently displayed by countries fighting "for victory over aggression, slavery, and tyranny," but adopts a second "V" to represent the double victory for African Americans fighting for freedom overseas and at home.[1] The campaign first appeared in the African-American newspaper Pittsburgh Courier on February 7, 1942. The slogan was prompted by a response to the letter, "Should I Sacrifice to Live 'Half American?'" written by 26-year-old reader James G. Thompson.[2] Pitched as "Democracy – Double Victory, At Home - Abroad", the campaign highlighted the risks black soldiers and civilians took while participating in America's struggle against the Axis powers while being denied their rights as full American citizens back home.[3]

Among African-Americans, the Double V campaign had a 91% approval rating and was supported by various organizations, such as North Carolina A&T State University and United Automobile Workers. Contributing factors to the campaign's success were the discrimination that black soldiers experienced in the military who drew connections between the United States' treatment of blacks to Nazi Germany's treatment of Jews, as well as wartime injustices such as the Port Chicago disaster and Agana race riot that underscored the necessity for victory at home. The campaign also played a role at home in encouraging defense industries to hire African-American employees who left the South in large numbers for the urban North and West Coast during the Second Great Migration to help the nation's war effort.[4]

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  1. ^ Wynn, Neil A. (2010). The African American Experience during World War II. Plymouth, United Kingdom: Rowman & Littlefield Publishers, Inc. p. 40. ISBN 978-1-4422-0016-6.
  2. ^ Washburn, Patrick S. (August 1981). The Pittsburgh Courier's Double V Campaign in 1942 (PDF). Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism. East Lansing, Michigan: Michigan State University.
  3. ^ James, Rawn, Jr. (2014). "The Double V". The Double V: How Wars, Protest, and Harry Truman Desegregated America's Military. Bloomsbury Publishing USA. pp. 137–143. ISBN 9781608196227.
  4. ^ James, Rawn, Jr. (2013). The Double V: How Wars, Protest, and Harry Truman Desegregated America’s Military. New York: Bloomsbury. ISBN 9781608196173.

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