what happened to African Americans and women in America during WW1?
World War I had an unprecedented impact on the US home front, as the government mobilized not only the economy but also society to support the war effort. President Wilson enacted the Selective Service Act, which required men to register for the draft. As men went off to fight the war in Europe, factories and businesses in the US relied on women to fill the jobs they left behind. Women worked in factories making weapons, clothing, and other supplies for the war effort, while others served as nurses for the army or the Red Cross. They also took the lead in food and energy conservation for the war effort. The government created new agencies such as the Food Administration and the War Industries Board, in order to coordinate the economy for the war. The Food Administration promoted massive food conservation campaigns with the slogan "food will win the war," urging citizens to participate in wheatless Mondays, meatless Tuesdays, and porkless Saturdays to save food for the troops. Women, the traditional homemakers who controlled the family shopping, cooking, and maintenance, spearheaded these efforts. They planted "victory gardens," growing their own food, and created recipes to help conserve meat and wheat. While many women returned to traditional roles after the war, their contributions during the war nevertheless aided in the passage of the 19th Amendment in 1920 (granting women the right to vote) and contributed to a feeling of independence for women during the 1920s (exemplified in the "flapper" trends).
African Americans experienced change during the war as well. Many African American men served in the war, albeit in segregated troops. The war helped spur a major demographic shift known as the Great Migration. African Americans from the South moved North to take factory jobs, filling vacancies generated by booming wartime production, conscription, and the interrupted flow of immigrants from Europe. This migration also led to the Harlem Renaissance in the 1920s, in which African Americans experienced a cultural rebirth, creating music such as jazz and poetry which expressed their own struggles and experiences. African American leaders such as W.E.B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington hoped service in the war would lead to increased rights for African Americans, but, unfortunately, during the 1920s, race relations remained strained and the KKK rose to unprecedented heights.