Institutional Scholarship

“To make their bid for democracy for all people under all circumstances…” : The 1944 Philadelphia Transit Strike and New Deal black activism in World War 2

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dc.contributor.advisor Brown, Megan
dc.contributor.author Mariani, Joe
dc.date.accessioned 2020-06-20T01:09:55Z
dc.date.available 2020-06-20T01:09:55Z
dc.date.issued 2019
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10066/22425
dc.description.abstract On the Tuesday morning of August 1st, 1944, two and half million Philadelphians found themselves without a ride. When the Philadelphia Evening Bulletin published pictures of Thomas Allen(Image a) and James Stewart(Image b) being trained to operate trolley cars for the Philadelphia Transportation Company (P.T.C.), thousands of white workers called out sick and blockaded vehicle depots rather than abide by integration. And so the nearly 1600 trolleys and 400 buses that crisscrossed the City of Brotherly Love and its environs, bringing workers — women and men, black and white — to and from work every day, never appeared at any stops. Industry in the city, making everything from “buttons to battleships” took a nosedive. The stoppage alarmed the War Department, which released a list of critical war materials being held up by the strike, including flamethrowers, radar equipment, jungle hammocks, cotton ducks and artillery shells.1 Racial tensions in the city reached a fever pitch and many Philadelphians feared a repeat of the racial violence that had convulsed Detroit the summer before. News of the heated situation reached President Roosevelt as he sailed to Alaska. Unable to accept the mounting losses to the war effort and under pressure from black activists across the country, F.D.R.’s administration had 5,000 troops bivouac in Fairmount Park, ready to operate the P.T.C. if necessary and hopefully to compel the strikers to return to work. Facing the loss of their jobs and draft deferments, striking workers relented and begrudgingly accepted the integration of the P.T.C. workforce. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship Swarthmore College. Dept. of History en_US
dc.language.iso en en_US
dc.rights Full copyright to this work is retained by the student author. It may only be used for non-commercial, research, and educational purposes. All other uses are restricted.
dc.title “To make their bid for democracy for all people under all circumstances…” : The 1944 Philadelphia Transit Strike and New Deal black activism in World War 2 en_US
dc.rights.access No restrictions en_US


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