New York During World War II

By Phin Upham

One of the byproducts of World War II was labor discrimination laws, if it could be believed, and it centered in New York State. As it had during the Civil War, New York once again supplied a great deal of resources and troops in favor of the war effort. All told, some 31,215 casualties of The War had origins in New York.

The state manufactured 11 percent of the total supplies the US Military used during World War II, which was essentially that city’s last great era for industry and production.

The city changed again after The War, as it had during the Civil War. Soldiers returning were disproportionate to female and minority workers, who quickly became displaced. Factories also moved out of New York City seeking lower taxes and cheaper operating costs. The workers displaced by the returning soldiers went with them so the city demographic shifted to more middle class work.

There was also a great deal of discriminatory labor practices occurring at the time, most likely fueled by racial tension. Herbert H Lehman, the Governor of New York in 1941, created a bill that was aimed at overcoming these challenges. He created the Committed on Discrimination in Employment. Thomas Dewey picked up the torch four years later, passing the Quinn Bill in 1945 which outright banned employment discrimination and set a model for the country.

Another huge change came thanks to the GI Bill of 1944, which gave returning soldiers opportunity to buy property and prosper. New York had no infrastructure at the time to do so, which led to the creation of the State University of New York in 1948.

About the Author: Phin Upham is an investor at a family office/ hedgefund, where he focuses on special situation illiquid investing. Before this position, Phin Upham was working at Morgan Stanley in the Media and Telecom group. You may contact Phin on his Phin Upham website or LinkedIn page.