The Double V Campaign

Encouraged by activists who came before them, African American soldiers began fighting for a double victory during World War II. The term “Double V” was
first seen in an African American newspaper in 1942 and refers to defeating tyranny abroad and racism at home. The Pittsburgh Courier continued publishing information about the Double V Campaign until it became a nationwide effort. African American veterans celebrated the desegregation of military troops in 1948, but the fight for civil rights at the federal level had had only just begun.

Standards & Objectives

Academic standards
Describe and evaluate the contributions of African Americans during World War II.
Explain how World War II laid the groundwork for the modern Civil Rights Movement.
Evaluate the topic or subject in multiple diverse formats and media.
Write informative/explanatory texts to analyze, synthesize, and convey complex ideas, concepts, and information clearly and accurately through the...
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Learning objectives: 

The student will:

  • Analyze a visual and lyrics from a 1919 song to establish context.
  • Read and annotate the newspaper editorial whose author coined the term “Double V.”
  • Discuss Executive Order No. 9981 and its impact on the military and the United States as a whole.
  • Analyze a cartoon to understand the role that race played in 1960 America.
  • Create a newspaper article to summarize the importance of the Double V Campaign to the larger civil rights movement.
Essential and guiding questions: 

What impact did the Double V Campaign have on the struggle for civil rights in America?

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Have students further research individuals who played a role in the Double V Campaign:
    • African Americans in World War II
    • What Was Black America’s Double War?
    • “Two Wars to Win”
  • Have students write a biography exploring Medgar Evers and how his role in the Civil Rights Movement is an example of how the Double V Campaign impacted activists.
  • Ask students to read a classmate’s newspaper article and respond with an editorial.

Helpful Hints


  • James G. Thompson, letter to the editor, Pittsburgh Courier
  • Newspaper Template
  • Colored pencils/pens or computers