English Across the Curriculum

African Americans

The World Wars and the Great Depression

During World War I and in the years that followed more and more Blacks started to move to the cities of the North where they expected to find a job and lead a better life. Most of them, however, were disappointed because they were not educated and didn't have the skills that they needed. Slums and black ghettos developed in the inner cities throughout the northern United States.

The Great Depression, which began after the stock market crash of 1929, hit the black population harder than the whites. President Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal Programme did a lot to help Blacks.

World War II opened up new opportunities for Black people. About a million men joined the army and served for their country - mostly in all-Black units. As time went on more and more Blacks succeeded in getting a higher position in the army. Some of them even became pilots and officers.

In the past hundred years African Americans have moved from the red states to the blue ones

African American pilot in World War II
Image: USAAF, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons