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Winning the War for DemocracyThe March on Washington Movement, 1941-1946$

David Lucander

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780252038624

Published to Illinois Scholarship Online: April 2017

DOI: 10.5406/illinois/9780252038624.001.0001

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(p.195) Appendix B Approximate Racial Composition of Major St. Louis Defense Contractors during World War II

(p.195) Appendix B Approximate Racial Composition of Major St. Louis Defense Contractors during World War II

Source:
Winning the War for Democracy
Author(s):

David Lucander

Publisher:
University of Illinois Press

Company

Total workforce

African American employees (women)

African Americans in skilled production

Percentage of African American employees

Atlas Powder Companya

5,000

280

16

.056

Ameritorp

3,500–4,000 (33% women)

165 (0 women)

Yes

.041–.048

Broderick and Bacon Wire Rope Company

700 (50 women)

1 (0 women)

0

.001

Carter Carburetor Corporationb

2,660 (1,000 women)

0

0

.000

Curtiss-Wright Corporationc

14,000–16,000 (33% women)

225–500 225–300 women

Yes

.016–.031

Emerson Electric Company

10,000 (33% women)

>350

Yes

>.035

Gaylord Container Corporation

1,000 (400 women)

0

0

.000

McDonald Air Craft Corporation

2,500 (33% women)

30–35

0

.014

McQuay-Norris Home Plant

2,000 (50% women)

14–15

0

.008

McQuay-Norris plant 1

3,500 (900 women)

300 (0 women)

0

.086

McQuay-Norris plant 2

3,000–4,000 (1,500 women)

400 (0 women)

0

.133–.100

National Lead Company

700

160

Not disclosed

.228

Robertson Air Craft Corporation

450

4–5

Not disclosed

.011

(p.196) St. Louis Air Craft

500

1

0

.002

Southwestern Bell Telephone

600

15 (0 women)

Not disclosed

.025

U.S. Cartridged

20,000–30,000

600 (0 women)

Yes

.030–.117

3,500 (700 women)

Source: Figures compiled from: “Untitled Document,” n.d. (1942 likely because of surrounding documents in collection); “Job Situation for Women Here Serious,” n.d. (1944 likely because sit-ins are mentioned); and David Grant, Testimony to House of Representatives Committee on Labor Regarding Fair Employment Practices, June 6, 1944, Reel 1, TDM.

(a) Atlas Powder Company, 7 Point Letter, May 29, 1943, Reel 1, TDM, notes that as of October 1942, the company had 36 African Americans working on production, a number that fluctuated to 0 at one point but rebounded to 16 when rehiring was possible. MOWM’s investigation revealed a dual wage scale, with white porters earning ninety cents per hour while African Americans doing the same work capped out at seventy-five cents per hour. This admittedly partisan investigation also revealed inequitable working conditions, with African Americans not having access to showers, lockers to store possessions, lunch breaks, and less sanitary toilet facilities. “Skit Read at Meeting—Block Captains,” n.d., Reel 2, TDM, includes a scene featuring a son, age twenty-one, with college experience in chemistry that cannot gain employment with Atlas Powder.

(b) St. Louis Argus, August 28, 1942.

(c) Photographs of African American women working in this plant were published in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, February 5, 1945.

(d) High-end figures from David Grant, Testimony to House of Representatives Committee on Labor, June 6, 1944, Reel 1, TDM; lower figure is from Pittsburgh Courier, June 27, 1942; yet another statistic is from St. Louis Argus, June 20, 1942, which reports another 23,500 workers, 8,000 of whom were women. African Americans on the payroll were limited to 300, none of whom were women and all of whom were unskilled workers. A final figure from this plant is reported in St. Louis American, June 25, 1942, which reports 600 African Americans employed in the 20,000-person plant. Lang, Grassroots at the Gateway, 47–48, reports that U.S. Cartridge employed 8,000 females, none of them African American.