Loyola University Maryland


Steps toward equal citizenship? Managing “race tensions” in factories and farms during World War II

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Steps toward equal citizenship? Managing “race tensions” in factories and farms during World War II
Speaker: Amy Fried, Professor of Political Science, University of Maine
6:00pm, 4th Floor Programming Room, Andrew White Student Center  
Sponsored by the Political Science Department and Messina 
A Common Text and Stories We Tell Theme-Wide Event 

About the Constitution Day: 

In observance of Constitution Day, Loyola sponsors an intellectual event each year that examines a key constitutional problem or question.  Past observances have examined the politics of the electoral college, the impact of organized labor in propelling institutional and policy change in America, the critical period and the American founding, the politics of Supreme Court nominations and confirmations, and the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education. More information on Constitution Day and resources to learn more about the Constitution can be found here http://www.archives.gov/education/lessons/constitution-day/  and here http://www.loc.gov/law/help/commemorative-observations/constitution-day.php

About the Event: 

During World War II, U.S. political leaders prioritized the war effort, while dealing with what they called “race tensions” involving whites and blacks in Southern farming areas and northern factories. This talk looks at how bureaucrats and politicians concerned about war manufacturing and agricultural production addressed racism toward African-Americans while also attempting to avoid political backlash from whites who did not want to erase racial bias. Public opinion studies were part of bureaucrats’ toolkits, because they helped monitor what people were thinking. As the nation fought fascism and Nazism, the need for manpower gave black people a stronger basis to be recognized and treated well. Yet the steps taken toward equal treatment, which might have fulfilled a promise found in the U.S. Constitution, were slow and uneven, and set off major political changes that reverberate today.


Resources for Attendees: 

 About the Speaker: 

Amy Fried is Professor of Political Science at the University of Maine. She is Co-Principal Investigator in a five-year National Science Foundation-funded ADVANCE-Institutional Transformation grant. Fried also oversees the Maine Policy Scholar Program at the University of Maine. She formerly served as Associate Dean for Research in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Prof. Fried’s research primarily concerns public opinion, particularly the history and political uses of public opinion in the United States, as well as political ideas and activism.

Fried has published two books, Pathways to Polling: Crisis, Cooperation, and the Making of Public Opinion Professions (Routledge Press, 2012) and Muffled Echoes: Oliver North and the Politics of Public Opinion (Columbia University Press, 1997).

Her scholarly work has also appeared in edited volumes and journals, such as the American Political Science Review, the American Journal of Political Science, American Politics Quarterly, Congress and the Presidency, Environmental Politics, Gender and Society, the New England Journal of Political Science, Political Communication, and Women and Politics.

In the last several years, Fried has conducted research on intensive grassroots efforts in state-level campaigns, with research (with Emily Shaw) on the 2011 restoration of same-day voter registration in Maine and the 2012 marriage equality campaigns in Maine and Washington state.

For her work on Alexis de Tocqueville and social capital, Professor Fried received the John C. Donovan award from the New England Political Science Association.

Fried provides analysis to a wide range of media outlets and writes a biweekly column and an intermittent blog (pollways.com) for the Bangor Daily News. In addition, she is co-leader of the Maine chapter of the Scholars Strategy Network, a national group that brings together scholars to address public challenges and their policy implications.

Questions for further reflection and discussion: 

1. What problems are presented when the government seeks to play a role in “managing” racial and identity politics?  What might happen if the government chose not to play such a role?

2. In what ways is American racial and ethnic politics a sociological phenomenon?  In what ways might it be a political construction, a result of policy choices, or a result of governance?


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