African Americans in World War II
Courtesy of Library of Congress, New York World-Telegram and the Sun Newspaper Photograph Collection.
This photograph shows First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt in New York City on 12 January 1942, mingling with soldiers at a pageant paying tribute to African Americans' contributions to America. Roosevelt advocated strongly for increased rights for women and African Americans during her time in the White House and throughout her life. The First Lady was a friend of social reformer and civil rights advocate Mary Mcleod Bethune, helping Bethune to forge a close relationship with President Roosevelt and to advocate her cause at the highest levels of government. Eleanor Roosevelt also actively supported the Tuskegee Airmen, visiting the Tuskegee Air Corps Advanced Flying School in Alabama and flying with Charles "Chief" Anderson, a student pilot, for over an hour. Her advocacy brought national attention to the Airmen and helped them gain crucial support among the military establishment in Washington.