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11.7.8 Two Vs Sweep the Nation

This photograph of civil rights activists and war supporters was taken in 1942. It highlights how some African Americans participated in an initiative called the Double Victory Campaign as a way to simultaneously support the war effort abroad and work to end segregation at home. The Double Victory Campaign was promoted by African American newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Courier, which in 1942 published a letter declaring, “let we colored Americans adopt the double VV for a double victory. The first V is for victory over our enemies from without, the second V for victory over our enemies from within. For surely those who perpetrate these ugly prejudices here are seeking to destroy our democratic form of government just as surely as the Axis forces.” During this popular Double V campaign, black men and women flashed two V’s with their fingers, attended Double V dances and baseball games, and sewed Double V into their clothing. How do you think this photograph, along with the campaign itself, helps us answer the question, How did World War II serve to advance movements for equality?

This photograph of civil rights activists and war supporters was taken in 1942. It highlights how some African Americans participated in an initiative called the Double Victory Campaign as a way to simultaneously support the war effort abroad and work to end segregation at home. The Double Victory Campaign was promoted by African American newspapers, including the Pittsburgh Courier, which in 1942 published a letter declaring, “let we colored Americans adopt the double VV for a double victory. The first V is for victory over our enemies from without, the second V for victory over our enemies from within. For surely those who perpetrate these ugly prejudices here are seeking to destroy our democratic form of government just as surely as the Axis forces.” During this popular Double V campaign, black men and women flashed two V’s with their fingers, attended Double V dances and baseball games, and sewed Double V into their clothing. Ask students to connect this photograph to the topic of civil rights and World War II by posing the following questions to them: How do you think this photograph, along with the campaign itself, helps us answer the question, How did World War II serve to advance movements for equality? What do you think the advantages and disadvantages were of the campaign’s strategy? Did the strategy imply that their patriotism was conditional? What did the Double V campaign say about African Americans’ frustration with segregation?