United We Win

Alexander Liberman (American; Russian, 1912 – 1999)
publisher : War Manpower Commission (American)
Offset lithograph
Sheet/image : 40 x 28 1/2 in. (1 m x 72.39 cm)
Mat : 50 x 40 in. (1.3 x 1 m)
Credit Line
Purchased with funds donated by Roberta VanGilder (1953) Kaye
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The Second World War provided fresh impetus for African Americans to move from the rural South to Northeastern, Midwestern and West Coast cities where they filled factory jobs left vacant by men who had joined the military to fight overseas. Recruiters working for both the US government and for private manufacturing companies traveled the South looking for Black men and women to fill open positions on the assembly lines. The recruiters often pitched the jobs not only as economic opportunities, but also as opportunities to demonstrate a patriotic commitment to the war effort. This poster issued by the government’s War Manpower Commission in 1943 presents an idealized view of racial cooperation in an integrated aircraft engine factory. In reality, however, many African Americans worked in segregated shops and faced discrimination both at work and in the new communities where they settled. The wartime promises of a happier, more prosperous life faded even further after the war, when numerous factories reduced production and laid off their Black workers or gave their jobs to returning white veterans. 

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