Date of Award


Degree Type

Masters Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



Committee Chair

Rebecca Tuuri

Committee Chair School


Committee Member 2

Kevin Greene

Committee Member 2 School


Committee Member 3

Heather Stur

Committee Member 3 School



The remobilization of Camp Shelby during World War II provided many opportunities for Black women to serve their race, community, and nation in the Jim Crow South. The racially segregated United States Army led to the formation of Hattiesburg’s Sixth Street United Service Organization (USO) in 1942, creating a need for Black women’s involvement and support. Eurkea School teachers, many of whom were club women, used their leadership to volunteer at the USO and help their community support the war effort. The influx of war workers and soldiers, along with the limited male workforce resulting from military service, allowed an unprecedented number of Black women to gain meaningful employment. Black women had access to more jobs and less discrimination in wages. These advancements in the civic activism of Black Hattiesburg created a foundation of unity and activism that would be vital during Hattiesburg’s civil rights movement. Without Black women, victory during the war would not have been possible.

This thesis will broaden the historiography of WWII and Black women’s contributions to war work in labor, volunteer opportunities, race work, and community activism that has been missing from the historical narrative of women, race, and war. This research focuses on Hattiesburg, home to the second-largest army training camp during the war. By examining newspaper articles, USO archive records, oral histories, letters, and journals from the National Council of Negro Women, this thesis will allow the story of these women and the advancements in community activism achieved during WWII to be told.

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