Shout Out: Maine South student Amanda Hiller, presented history project at national meeting
An interesting class history project earned Maine South High School student Amanda Hiller a chance to present what she had learned during the American Historical Association’s 133rd annual meeting in Chicago earlier this year.
According to Maine Township High School District 207, Hiller was one of just four students selected to present before the association, which was founded in 1884 to promote the study of history.
Q: What was the topic of your project?
A: My topic was African-Americans and their involvement in World War II in Chicago. My main focus was trying to see how African-Americans were treated during that era. I know that despite segregation and discrimination [in the United States], they still fought for our country abroad and and fought for civil rights on the home front. Some of the issues they faced at home were getting jobs and having fair wages. While many were serving overseas, there were civil rights protests held all over the country to stop segregation.
Q: What were some of the challenges African-American servicemen faced during World War II?
A: A lot of them had to do menial tasks and duties while in the military. In a lot of instances, they weren’t allowed to fight. There were some who did travel overseas to fight, and there, they weren’t perceived as any different. Over there, it wasn’t about race of the people. They were all a unit. But at home, they faced discrimination.
Q: Why did you choose this topic?
A: I’ve always been interested in learning about wars and World War II is a particular interest of mine. I knew in the beginning I had to connect it to Chicago …. So I started looking at what happened in the Army, Navy, Air Force. I realized that in the different regiments, there was a wider issue that was going on, which involved the Double V Campaign: African-Americans fighting for the country and fighting for civil rights at the same time.
Q: What was the most surprising thing you learned?
A: The most interesting thing I learned was that nurses and doctors segregated the blood of whites and African-Americans, and the tools they used as well.
Q: What are you planning to do after high school?
A: I plan on becoming a mechanical engineer. I will be attending Marquette University.
Q: Will you continue to study history, though?
A: I would definitely hope so!