Analyze of Dr. Seuss's illustration "The Old Run-Around."

By depicting jobs in the war industry as a maze, this image shows that it was difficult for Black Americans to find work during World War II.

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Dr. Seuss's illustration "The Old Run-Around" was first printed in June of 1942 as the United States was industrializing to fight in World War II. The image depicts a large factory labeled "US War Industries" located in the middle of a maze. Above the entrance to the maze is written: "Negro Job Hunters Enter Here." Of the several job-hunters wandering in the maze, none have made it to the building.

As this image would suggest, Dr. Seuss was sympathetic to the situation of Black Americans. He understood that the promise of plentiful jobs to support the war was not as easily achieved as many may have thought. As the United States went to war, many Americans who had been unemployed during the Great Depression found gainful employment working in the war industry. Many Black Americans also found jobs supporting the war effort. However, finding and securing these jobs often required surmounting discriminatory hurdles that white Americans did not have to contend with. Even when they did find work, Black Americans were typically paid less than their white counterparts.

For many white Americans, this disparity was easy enough to ignore. By creating this illustration, Dr. Seuss is making plain one of the racial inequities that was affecting America on the home front as the country continued its mobilization to war.

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