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Winning the War for DemocracyThe March on Washington Movement, 1941-1946$
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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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“An Economic D-Day for Negro Americans”

“An Economic D-Day for Negro Americans”

MOWM’s Transition and Dissolution, 1944–46

(p.150) 6 “An Economic D-Day for Negro Americans”
Winning the War for Democracy

David Lucander

University of Illinois Press

This chapter examines the role of St. Louis March on Washington Movement (MOWM) in petitioning the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC) to open a branch in the city. Making the FEPC a permanent agency within the federal government was thought to be key to keeping the precarious inroads made by black workers during the war and avoiding another round of hardship that mirrored the Great Depression. By 1949, it was clear that predictions of massive postwar job losses were tragically accurate. It seemed as if securing a federal fair employment law was the most effective way to safeguard the dwindling opportunities for gainful work, so the push for a Permanent FEPC became the centerpiece of A. Philip Randolph's program. The impact of a greater FEPC presence on the employment prospects of African American workers and job seekers is difficult to quantify, but once this office opened, MOWM redirected its energies toward helping that agency remediate racist employment patterns.

Keywords:   St. Louis MOWM, Fair Employment Practice Committee, postwar job losses, federal fair employment law, Permanent FEPC, African American workers, racist employment patterns

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