An Equal Right to Work
Welding crew in Kaiser Shipyard, Richmond, CA
In 1941 Executive Order 8802 banned racial discrimination in defense work, promising increased opportunity for people of color. But the order was weakly enforced—employment discrimination based on race didn’t become illegal until the Civil Rights Act of 1964. WWII shipyard crews in Richmond CA became more diverse by the war’s end, though women and people of color were generally the first laid off.