Between 1939 and 1965, World War II altered American society economically and socially by giving more opportunities to minorities, giving women a more prominent role and by the change in middle class lifestyle.
World War II gave minorities more opportunities than they have ever been given in the past. Early in the war, African Americans were denied work until they started to take matters into their own hands. As said by A. Phillip Randolph, “…Not until their wrath and indignation took the form of a proposed protest march on Washington, scheduled for July 1, 1941, did things begin to move in the form of defense jobs for Negroes”. This march was an early start of the civil rights movement and foreshadowed Martin Luther King Jr’s march on Washington in the 1960s. Before the war African Americans did not have the opportunity to get a good job, but soon enough when the war arrived they were given many opportunities. “It wasn’t until the war that it really opened up. ‘Cause when I come out here it was awful, just like bein’ in the South…” (Opportunities for Women and Blacks, ca. 1942-1945), this small excerpt describes the impact of the war and how it changed society so quickly. The war opened up opportunities. The issue of minorities and civil rights were also discussed and huge during the war in part because of the sudden influx of equal opportunities that were now available. As said in Hubert Humphrey’s Speech on the Civil Right Plank, “…that promise of a land where all men are truly free and equal and each man uses his freedom and equality wisely and well…” this speech recognized the importance of blacks and minorities in America. As African Americans were given more jobs, their income increased. The Median Black Family Income rose significantly due to the war. The charts by Comparative Incomes and Lifestyle (1920-1987) describe the median incomes for white families in comparison to black families. Although the white families’ incomes were higher, black families still made a significant amount of money and you can see it clearly during these times. African Americans along with Mexican Americans and Native Americans were given the opportunity to serve at home and abroad. Due to World War II, minorities were given a chance that they have never had before. As the U.S. recruited more men to fight in the war, women were given the opportunity to work the roles of men, proving that women are capable of jobs outside of the kitchen. More and more women were leaving the typical role of females at home and started to find jobs outside of the home. This also paved the path of the movement of women being treated and given equal opportunities like men. Although there were numerous women’s movements in the past like the Seneca Falls Convention, the women’s movement did not gain enough public support until World War II was upon them. As recalled by Dellie Hahne, “I think the beginning of the women’s movement had its seeds right there in World War II…” stating that the war was a key ingredient to the equal treatment of women in society. In Rosie the Riveter (1941-1945), the demands of the defense industry lured six million women in to the work force after 1941 and another 216,000 women entered military service in noncombat duties in the WAACS (army), WACES (navy) and SPARS (coast guard). The comic by Des Moines Register (1943) depicts how the women have taken over the role of the men, while the men are at home in the housewife’s apron and the women are out at work. The working class of women home and abroad proved that women were capable of withholding the role of a