The Human Machinery of War

Photograph: African American Women Workers Sewing Harness Tabs on Gas Masks

Original Title/Caption:  “Manpower. Negro aircraft workers. Workers of various races contribute their skills to war industry. To safeguard American cities against all contingencies, these workers in an Eastern arsenal are sewing hand harness tabs on gas masks, which are being turned out in mass production volume. Edgewood Arsenal. Edgwood, Maryland.”

 

Description: This black and white photograph is of two African American women using sewing machines to piece together gas masks.  They are seated at work benches in what appears to be a large workroom in a factory. Howard Liberman took this photograph in May 1942.

 

Source: Liberman, Howard, photographer. “Manpower. Negro aircraft workers. Workers of various races contribute their skills to war industry. To safeguard American cities against all contingencies, these workers in an Eastern arsenal are sewing hand harness tabs on gas masks, which are being turned out in mass production volume. Edgewood Arsenal. Edgwood, Maryland.”  Photograph, 1942.  From Library of Congress: Farm Security Administration – Office of War Information Photograph Collection, Call number LC-USE6- D-004364.  http://loc.gov/pictures/resource/fsa.8b03117/ (accessed March 20, 2007).

 

Historical discussion: U.S. propaganda connected wasted time and materials, absenteeism, and accidents in industry on the home front with aiding the enemy and the needless deaths of American soldiers.