During the War

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As war drew near, it was clear that a massive need for production of arms and armaments to support US allies would require many hands, of every color. On June 25, 1941, President Roosevelt created Executive Order 8802, banning racially discriminatory hiring practices in any industry that held government contracts for national defense.

With the attack on Pearl Harbor came an ever greater sea change: The country found itself committed to a war that it was grossly unprepared to fight, and that required total mobilization to win. Beginning in 1942, Roosevelt began to issue directives to increase opportunities for black enlistment in the armed forces.