Fighting for the Right to Fight exhibit entrance

Fighting for the Right to Fight

African American Experiences in World War II

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

  • August - December 2018
  • January - June 2019
  • May - December 2020
  • May - December 2021

Booking Terms

  • 10-week minimum booking period
  • Rental fee of $7,500 plus inbound shipping

Travel Schedule

St. Petersburg Museum of History, St. Petersburg, Florida
October 28, 2016 to March 5, 2017

Dallas Holocaust Museum Center for Education and Tolerance, Dallas, Texas
August 31, 2017 to January 26, 2018

The Durham Museum, Omaha, NE
February 17, 2018 to July 15, 2018

Oregon Historical Society, Portland, OR 
July 12, 2019 to December 31, 2019

Reginald F. Lewis Museum of Maryland African American History & Culture, Baltimore, MD 
January 30 - April 26, 2020


Installation Logistics

Host Requirements

  • 32 linear feet
  • Secure exhibit space that is staffed during open hours
  • Gallery lighting (exhibit is not self-lit)

Support Provided

  • Exhibit layout and design assistance from the WWII Museum exhibit designer
  • Exhibit installation and packing guide
Press and Marketing Materials

The National WWII Museum has created the press and graphic packages linked below to ensure our Infamy: December 7, 1941 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.

Support Provided

  • Consultation with marketing and communications staff
Education Resources

Classroom Guide

Guide highlights the educational themes of the exhibit and reference resources.


Education Package

Education package includes exhibit-themed lesson plans, fact sheets, and activity sheets.


Additional Resources

  • One on-site professional development workshop (2–3 hour workshop)
  • One distance learning program for students
  • Curator lecture (when available, additional fees apply)

Support Provided

Consultation with assistant director of education for curriculum, assistant director for public programs, and the assistant director of education for interpretation.

Additional educational resources

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:

Pre-Host Forms
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

Post-Host Form
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.
Final Report