In the years leading up to World War II, racial segregation and discrimination were part of daily life for many in the United States. For most African Americans, even the most basic rights and services were fragmented or denied altogether. To be black was to know the limits of freedom—excluded from the very opportunity, equality, and justice on which the country was founded.
Yet, once World War II began, thousands of African Americans rushed to enlist, intent on serving the nation that treated them as second-class citizens. They were determined to fight to preserve the freedom that they themselves had been denied. This is their story.
About The Exhibit
Fighting for the Right to Fight begins with an overview of America in the 1920s—at the height of the Ku Klux Klan's power—where segregation and discrimination were part of daily life for African Americans. Discriminatory practices were condoned and even codified by the government. Many military leaders declared African Americans unfit to serve in combat. Yet once World War II began, thousands of African Americans rushed to enlist, intent on serving the country that treated them as second-class citizens; determined to fight for the freedom that they themselves had been denied.
The special exhibit examines how hopes of equality inspired many to enlist, the discouraging reality of the segregated noncombat roles given to black recruits, and the continuing fight for "Double Victory" that laid the groundwork for the Civil Rights Movement.
Through oral histories, profile panels, and artifacts, visitors discover the wartime stories of individual service members who took part in this extraordinary challenge, from unheralded heroes to famous names—including Alex Haley, author of Roots (US Coast Guard); Benjamin Davis, Jr. (US Army Air Forces); Medgar Evers (US Army); and more.
The centerpiece of the exhibit is an original eight-minute video about the Tuskegee Airmen, who in many ways became the focus of African American participation during the war. The piece is narrated by TV personality Robin Roberts, whose own father flew with the Tuskegee Airmen during the war.
National touring exhibit presented by National Touring Sponsor Abbot Downing, Wells Fargo.
Available for Booking
- January – June 2020
- May – August 2021
- February – December 2022
- 10-week minimum booking period
- Rental fee of $7,500 plus inbound shipping
Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR
July 12, 2019 - January 12, 2020
Cape Fear Museum, Wilmington, NC
July 24, 2020, to January 22, 2021
Maltz Museum of Jewish Heritage, Beachwood, OH
September 11, 2021, to January 29, 2022
- Minimum of 2,000 square feet of exhibit space
- Secure exhibit space that is staffed during open hours
- Gallery lighting (exhibit is not self-lit)
- Minimum of two-person installation crew
- Certificate of Insurance
- Exhibit layout and design assistance from the WWII Museum exhibit designer
- Exhibit installation and packing guide provided
- Installation supervision and assistance by the WWII Museum traveling exhibit manager
Press and Marketing Materials
The National WWII Museum has created the press and graphic packages linked below to ensure our Fighting for the Right to Fight: African American Experiences in WWII traveling exhibit will reach the widest audience at your venue.
In accordance with the contract, any publicity materials—including e-publicity—must be sent to our traveling exhibitions department for review and approval prior to printing and distribution.
- Traveling exhibit style guide (Includes exhibit color scheme and templates for advertisements, invitations, rack cards, and signage.)
- Consultation with marketing and communications staff
Applications and Forms
Are you interested in bringing this exhibit to your institution? Please review our currentschedule/availability, installation logistic page, and the forms below and contact us by phone or email if youneed more information. Once you have reviewed all the information, please submit all materials and we will review and inform you of any concerns regarding a potential exhibit presentation. If you are approved as a host venue, we will contact you and proceed with contracting.
Submit by mail to:
Jenney Fazande, Traveling Exhibits Manager
The National WWII Museum
945 Magazine Street, New Orleans, 70130
Submit by email to:
Download, fill out, and scan or mail the Host Application and Facility Report below. The Facility Report provides a record of the latest information about an institution's physical specifications and staff practices, and will help us better serve your institution's needs.
Traveling exhibit application
Please fill out the following report when the exhibit closes at your institution. It will help us improve host institutions' experiences and learn visitation patterns, as well as information regarding associated educational programs and events.