Labor History Seminar: Jeffrey Helgeson, University of Illinois at Chicago

Labor History Seminar
Friday, March 14, 2008

3:00 pm to 5:00 pm

“ ‘Will “our people” be any better off after this war?’: Spaces of Opportunity in Black Chicago, 1938–1947”
Jeffrey Helgeson, University of Illinois at Chicago
World War II was a watershed moment for black Americans, when black employment in the Chicago area grew from 80,347 to 222,600—an increase from 4.9% to 11.7% of the total (at a time when the black population increased from 7.1 to 9.4 percent of the total population). This paper shows that the local fight for fair employment—a principal goal of the “Double V” campaign for victory over fascism abroad and racism at home—not only energized black Americans’ civil rights consciousness, but also invigorated and revised “race conscious” economic nationalism in the Black Metropolis.

Commentators: Adam Green, University of Chicago and Lionel Kimble, Chicago State University