Advances in the 1940s

Political advances

African Americans began to make progress in politics in the 1940s.

In 1941, Adam Clayton Powell was elected to the US House of Representatives. He achieved a number of measures:

  • The desegregation of dining rooms and other facilities which African American Congressmen had been forbidden from using.
  • The admittance of African American journalists into the press gallery in Congress.
  • The admittance of African American students into the US Naval Academy.

In 1946 Harry Truman replaced Roosevelt as President and issued several Executive Orders.

Executive Order 9808 created the President’s Committee on Civil Rights. It recommended the elimination of segregation, based on race, color, creed or national origin, from American life.

Executive Order 9981 sought to stop discrimination and segregation in the armed forces.

Social advances

Baseball star Jackie Robinson
Robinson played for a previously white only team

The 1940s marked the slow, but gradual integration of cultural activities.

The African American baseball player Jackie Robinson left the Negro National League in 1947 to join the previously white only Brooklyn Dodgers in the National Baseball League.

By the end of the 1950s all major baseball teams in the USA had at least one African American player in their team.