Double V Campaign

Newspaper with Double V Campaign news (Pittsburgh Courier, via Newspapers.com)

1942 newspaper page with Double V Campaign news (Pittsburgh Courier, via Newspapers.com)

The Double V Campaign was an African American initiative, led by the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper, that aimed to achieve a double victory (“Double V”) during World War II. The two objectives were victory in the war abroad and victory against discrimination on the home front.

How did it start?

The inspiration for the campaign came from a letter to the editor from 26-year-old James G. Thompson to the Pittsburgh Courier entitled “Should I Sacrifice to Live Half American?” The letter highlighted the discrepancy between African American soldiers fighting for democracy abroad while being denied equality at home in the United States.

The sentiments of the letter inspired the Pittsburgh Courier, a prominent African American newspaper, to launch what it called the “Double V” campaign on February 7, 1942.

What was its purpose?

The campaign sought victory both overseas and in the United States. Abroad, victory was to be achieved by supporting the war effort, specifically through buying war bonds and stamps, contributing to blood banks, and conserving waste materials. At home, victory would be achieved by combating racial discrimination, with a focus on fighting the poll tax and political disfranchisement, seeking equality in education, and working for equal opportunity in the defense industry.

What was its impact?

From its origins in Pittsburgh, the popular campaign spread quickly to African Americans across the nation, some of whom formed local “Double V clubs.” People supported the campaign in a variety of ways, from conducting demonstrations to wearing Double V pins.

The organized portion of the campaign petered out by 1943, but African American newspapers continued their support for the ideals it had embodied. Although the Double V Campaign ended without effecting any specific changes, it provided visibility for issues important to the African American community and helped boost morale. It is often seen as an early part of the Civil Rights movement.

Learn more about the Double V Campaign through historical newspapers from our archives. Explore newspaper articles, headlines, images, and other primary sources below.


Articles and Clippings about the Double V Campaign

James G. Thompson's letter to the editor: James G. Thompson's letter to the editor: "Should I Sacrifice To Live 'Half-American?'" Sat, Jan 31, 1942 – Page 3 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comFirst use in the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper of the Double V logo, February 7, 1942First use in the Pittsburgh Courier newspaper of the Double V logo, February 7, 1942 Sat, Feb 7, 1942 – Page 1 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPittsburgh Courier newspaper editorial introduces Double V Campaign in February 1942Pittsburgh Courier newspaper editorial introduces Double V Campaign in February 1942 Sat, Feb 7, 1942 – Page 5 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com"The Courier's Double 'V' For A Double Victory Campaign Gets Country-Wide Support" Sat, Feb 14, 1942 – Page 1 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPittsburgh Courier letters to the editor supporting the Double V CampaignPittsburgh Courier letters to the editor supporting the Double V Campaign Sat, Feb 21, 1942 – Page 2 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPittsburgh Courier newspaper opinion piece about how to achieve the aims of the Double V CampaignPittsburgh Courier newspaper opinion piece about how to achieve the aims of the Double V Campaign Sat, Feb 21, 1942 – Page 3 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPhoto of actress Bobby Johnson introducing the Double V Campaign to other celebritiesPhoto of actress Bobby Johnson introducing the Double V Campaign to other celebrities Sat, Feb 21, 1942 – Page 12 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comExcerpt from a letter to the editor in Tennessee about how lynching ties in with Double V CampaignExcerpt from a letter to the editor in Tennessee about how lynching ties in with Double V Campaign Tue, Mar 3, 1942 – Page 6 · The Tennessean (Nashville, Tennessee) · Newspapers.comReactions to the Double V Campaign from around the United States; Also photos and editorialReactions to the Double V Campaign from around the United States; Also photos and editorial Sat, Mar 7, 1942 – Page 12 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPittsburgh Courier publishes editorial explaining the meaning of the Double V CampaignPittsburgh Courier publishes editorial explaining the meaning of the Double V Campaign Sat, Mar 21, 1942 – Page 12 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comAndy Razaf and J.C. Johnson to compose the Double V song, Andy Razaf and J.C. Johnson to compose the Double V song, "A Yankee Doodle Tan" Sat, Mar 14, 1942 – Page 21 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPicture of the sheet music for the Double V Campaign's song, Picture of the sheet music for the Double V Campaign's song, "A Yankee Doodle Tan" Sat, Mar 28, 1942 – Page 21 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comPhoto of the Courier Photo of the Courier "Double V" Girl of the Week, March 1942 Sat, Mar 28, 1942 – Page 1 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comAfrican Americans request more Double V pins, buttons, stickers, posters, and emblemsAfrican Americans request more Double V pins, buttons, stickers, posters, and emblems Sat, Mar 28, 1942 – Page 12 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com"Nation's Leaders Give Support to Double V Drive"; "Churches Observe Double V Sunday" Sat, Apr 4, 1942 – Page 1 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comSpotlight on James G. Thompson, whose letter to the editor sparked the Double V CampaignSpotlight on James G. Thompson, whose letter to the editor sparked the Double V Campaign Sat, Apr 18, 1942 – Page 5 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comCalifornia newspaper gives information about the Double V campaign, including the California newspaper gives information about the Double V campaign, including the "Double V Creed" Sun, Apr 26, 1942 – Page 22 · Oakland Tribune (Oakland, California) · Newspapers.comNewspaper photo pictures the All-States Chauffeurs' Club showing support for the Double V CampaignNewspaper photo pictures the All-States Chauffeurs' Club showing support for the Double V Campaign Sun, May 17, 1942 – 22 · Tampa Bay Times (St. Petersburg, Florida) · Newspapers.comNews, ads, and photos about the Double V Campaign from June 1942News, ads, and photos about the Double V Campaign from June 1942 Sat, Jun 13, 1942 – Page 12 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comAttorney Sara Jenkins Norton addresses San Francisco officials about Double VictoryAttorney Sara Jenkins Norton addresses San Francisco officials about Double Victory Sat, Jun 20, 1942 – Page 20 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comCincinnati mayor signs proclamation declaring a Cincinnati mayor signs proclamation declaring a "Double Victory Day," July 1942 Tue, Jul 7, 1942 – Page 18 · The Cincinnati Enquirer (Cincinnati, Ohio) · Newspapers.comNewspaper article: Newspaper article: "Double V Clubs Unite, Fight for Abolition of Poll-Tax" Sat, Jul 18, 1942 – Page 15 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comAd for an Illinois aircraft training institute referencing the Double V CampaignAd for an Illinois aircraft training institute referencing the Double V Campaign Sat, Jul 25, 1942 – Page 9 · The Decatur Daily Review (Decatur, Illinois) · Newspapers.comDouble V group accuses Cincinnati corporation of racial bias and violating executive order 8802Double V group accuses Cincinnati corporation of racial bias and violating executive order 8802 Sat, Sep 5, 1942 – Page 4 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comDouble V service emblems used by family members to honor African Americans in the militaryDouble V service emblems used by family members to honor African Americans in the military Sat, Sep 19, 1942 – Page 15 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.comResults of Results of "Double V" Pittsburgh Courier poll, October 1942 Sat, Oct 24, 1942 – Page 1 · The Pittsburgh Courier (Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania) · Newspapers.com
"Double V Campaign," Newspapers.com Topics (https://www.newspapers.com/topics/world-war2/double-v-campaign/ : accessed July 22, 2019)