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Children participating in a public campaign
Caption: Benjamin Franklin High School students participating in a World War II effort to save paper.
In the 1930s and 1940s, Benjamin Franklin High School was a dynamic place. Its students came from all over the world to the East Harlem campus. Many were Italian-American immigrants; others had migrated from Puerto Rico or were Black migrants from the Jim Crow South. The high school’s principal was interested in ways to connect community and school, and political action was one activity he encouraged to this end.1 Students participated in war-related campaigns to gather or save resources, including paper, during the war.
Benjamin Franklin’s diverse student population didn’t all experience the war in the same way. During World War II, many Black Americans spoke of the “Double V” - the goal to have victory in the war, and victory over racism at home. Black soldiers returning home, including to Harlem, experienced racism in spite of their great risk and sacrifice for their country.2
Johanek, Michael C., and John Puckett. Leonard Covello and the Making of Benjamin Franklin High School : Education as If Citizenship Mattered. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 2007. ↩︎
Kimberley Atkins Stohr and John Ringer, “In ‘Half American,’ historian Matthew Delmont tells the story of World War II from the Black perspective,” WBUR On Point, October 24, 2022, https://www.wbur.org/onpoint/2022/10/24/how-black-americans-fought-world-war-ii-at-home-and-abroad ↩︎
Date: c. 1941-1945
Creator: Balch Historical Institute, Philadelphia
Source: Balch Historical Institute, Philadelphia
How to cite: “Children participating in a public campaign"“c. 1941-1945”,” in New York City Civil Rights History Project, Accessed: [Month Day, Year], https://nyccivilrightshistory.org/gallery/children-campaign.
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- In what ways do students at your school work together to connect to your community outside of your school and to make change?
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