Willa Brown letter to Eleanor Roosevelt, 1941 letter
James Herman Banning, Thomas C. Allen, 1932 photo
Double V Campaign, Pittsburgh Courier, 1942 newspaper article
United We Win, 1943 poster
How People Cause Social Change
The pioneers of black aviation faced every kind of obstacle imaginable. They struggled against Jim Crowism, a system of official and unofficial segregation. They faced limited access to training, a lack of ground crews, and segregation in the Air Force. While white aviators could use all their energy and resources learning to fly and maintain aircraft, African American aviators, and those who supported them, had to devote themselves to securing the right and the opportunity to fly.
In this activity you'll learn about the techniques that black aviators (and their supporters in the black and white communities) used to gain full participation in aviation. Then you'll look at activists in your own community to see what issues they're working to change and how they're doing.
Here are the steps for this activity:
Read about the "Double V" campaign, one way by which African Americans struggled for the rights of full citizenship during World War II.
Survey African Americans' (and others') techniques for removing obstacles that prevented them from participating in aviation. Learn how they worked to cause social change by studying items in the Black Wings Collection. Read National Air and Space Museum (NASM) curator Von Hardesty's analysis of how African Americans overcame obstacles.
Document efforts to cause social change in your own community. Learn about how politicians, activists, and other citizens in your own community are working to overcome obstacles that they encounter everyday.