World War II is one of the cornerstone eras of modern America and was a catalyst for many of the social movements of the last half of the twentieth century.
After being trained in leadership and combat in the military and hailed as heroes in Europe, African American soldiers would not—could not—continue to accept second-class citizenship at home. These veterans returned home and began to organize their communities to achieve the same freedom and justice that they had fought for during the war. They fought for civil rights in the areas of voting, education, housing and public accommodations.
I am participating in the Understanding Sacrifice program because I feel that no other period of time more directly affects my students, who are predominately African American and Latino, than the period that was ushered in by World War II. When students learn about the Civil Rights Era, they need to know that World War II was the training ground that produced many of the leaders and strategies of the Civil Rights Movement.
The individuals and groups who sacrificed for us in World War II should be recognized, honored, and remembered by all Americans, forever.