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The Beginnings: 1939


Grades 5-8


The year 1939 was one of constant change in the United States. The decade-long Great Depression left millions of African American families in poverty. A group of activists and attorneys, who would become known as the Black Cabinet, began providing direction and advice to the president. The Civil Liberties Unit and the NAACP Legal Defense Fund successfully brought discrimination cases to court for the first time in American history. The nation watched as the Black opera singer Marian Anderson triumphantly brought the country together with her voice. Finally, at the outbreak of World War II, Black soldiers faced the conflict between fighting for freedom overseas and gaining their own freedom at home in America.

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