UC Berkeley Library

African American History 1940-1950 & WWII

761st, The Story of the Black Panther Tank Battalion

The 761st Tank Battalion, the first unit to enlist African-American soldiers to operate armored vehicles was activated on April 1, 1942, at Camp Claiborne, Louisiana and deployed to Europe, landing at Omaha Beach in France on October 10, 1944. Over the course of 183 days of continuous fighting (including action in the Battle of the Bulge) the "Black Panthers" became the first African-American armored unit to enter combat. With the motto "Come Out Fighting!" they faced racism at home and death overseas in a war for many freedoms they did not enjoy in America. Directed by Pete Chatmon. 200-?

A. Philip Randolph: For Jobs & Freedom.

Biography of the African American labor leader, journalist, and civil rights activist, A. Philip Randolph. Randolph won the first national labor agreement for a black union, The Sleeping Car porters. His threat of a protest march on Washington forced President Roosevelt to ban segregation in the federal government and defense industries at the onset of WWII and again he forced Truman to integrate the military.

African American Soldiers & Japanese Internment During WWII

Contents: Challenge to democracy / U.S. Office of War Information, Domestic Branch, Bureau of Motion Pictures (1944, 17 min.) -- Close harmony / sponsored by General Motors (1942, 11 min.) -- Farmer Henry Browne / U.S. Dept of Agriculture (1942, 11 min.) -- Japanese relocation / U.S. Office of War Information, Domestic Branch, Bureau of Motion Pictures (1943, 9 min.) -- Negro colleges in wartime / U.S. Office of War Information, Domestic Branch, Bureau of Motion Pictures (1943, 9 min.).

From Swastika to Jim Crow

Before and during the Second World War Jewish scholars who escaped Nazi Germany and immigrated to the U.S. faced anti-Semitism at major universities and a public distrust of foreigners, so a significant number secured teaching positions at historically Black colleges in the South. In many cases they formed lasting relationships with their students and had an important impact on the communities in which they lived. This is a story of two cultures, each sharing a burden of oppression, brought together by the tragic circumstances of war. 1999. 57 min.

Liberators: Fighting on Two Fronts in World War II.

Tells the unknown story of African-American battalions who helped liberate the concentration camps and combat the Nazis. The experiences of African-American soldiers in World War II reflected the racial climate of the 1940s America. Dist.: Direct Cinema. 90 min.

Port Chicago Mutiny: A National Tragedy.

Documentary film, using a combination of interviews with participants, still photographs, and testimony from the trial, about the Port Chicago mutiny. The mutiny trial followed the worst home-front disaster of WWII, the deaths of 320 men in a munitions explosion at Port Chicago. The seamen loading the munitions were black and the officers in charge were white. Afterwards, the seamen who had not been working at the time of the explosion refused to return to loading munitions under the same conditions.

The Negro Soldier (1943)

Supervisor, Frank Capra; director, Capt. Stuart Heisler. Traces the role of the Negro soldier in American history from 1776 to 1944, and shows the accomplishments of Negro troops. Written by Carlton Moss. 49 min. ; also Credits and other information from the American Film Institute Catalog (UCB users only)