Tuesday, February 28, 2012, 12:00 pm — Berkner Hall Auditorium
No Short Climb: "Race Workers" & America's Defense Technology. During the period immediately following the Great Depression, young African-American men and women graduated from high schools and colleges across the nation with degrees in the sciences. However, they found themselves unemployed and unemployable. Though large numbers of scientists, technicians and support staff were widely recruited from prestigious colleges and universities, racial barriers kept these ranks limited to White applicants. As the US geared up for the approaching war in Europe, efforts were made to aggressively recruit and place Blacks in positions in both the military and civilian service corps. Serving as the experimental proving grounds for a host of "state-of-the art" defense weaponry, Fort Monmouth brought on board its first African-American professionals in 1940. These new hires became engineers, project specialists and technicians, and as the war progressed, women were brought in to replace the men who were transferred overseas. In spite of barriers that hindered acceptance, promotion and recognition of their accomplishments, African-Americans made major contributions to the success of this facility. No Short Climb combines personal memoir with archival footage, still photography and graphics to present a first-hand account of the previously unknown story about the contributions of African-American scientists and technicians during the Second World War.
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