1. How did World War II make a difference in the employment of black Americans?
Because there were so many jobs that needed workers, black American women who had expertise in specialized fields such as nursing and other technical fields would be hired along with white women. The armed forces did not make a distinction between white and black soldiers, except that they were housed in segregated barracks.
2. Discuss the prevailing attitudes about women’s “place” in society at this time and following the war.
It was the accepted attitude of the time that women were to stay at home, raise families, and support their husbands. They were not to work outside the home, unless it was the only way the family could function (death or illness of husband, divorce, etc.) Following the war, most of the women were glad to give back their jobs to the men who had held them before the war. However, some women were glad they could earn extra money this way and continued to work.
3. Find a picture of Norman Rockwell’s “Rosie the Riveter” or J. Howard Miller’s “We Can Do It.” (Most have mistaken Miller’s painting as Rosie, but Rockwell named his painting, “Rosie the Riveter” and is the true Rosie.) Explain why posters such as these were prominent during World War II. Give reasons why women would be promoted this way at this time.
Because so many of the men were needed as soldiers, women were hired to do the work men had been doing in the factories. When they found that women could do this work well, it was advertised and promoted through radio ads and posters, popular communications of the 1940s. It was very unusual for women to work in these male-dominated jobs, but they were needed and stepped up to help their country.