The Triple Victory of the 6888th

The 6888th Central Postal Battalion was the first Black Women's Army Corps (WAC) unit sent overseas during WWII. Following overseas training at Fort Oglethorpe, these 855 women were tasked with clearing a backlog of mail that had stretched for nearly two years in the European Theater of Operations. Originally given only six months to accomplish this daunting task, working under their motto "No mail, low morale,” the 6888th cleared the backlog in just three months. 

The story of the women who joined the 6888th is inspiring, not only were they part of the war effort, they also advanced gender and racial equality in the United States Army. Facing discrimination and segregation throughout their military careers, this exhibit highlights their achievements and experiences.

Glossary 

A

APO Army Post Office

Army Serial Number (ASN) The individual number assigned to each member of the army

Attach To place an individual or unit temporarily under a commander other than its own.

 

B

Barracks Buildings which house troops

Battalion (Bn.) An army unit consisting of three to five companies, and between 300 and 1000 soldiers

 

C

CO Commanding officer

 

E

Enlisted Military personnel without officer rank

ETO European Theater of Operations

EW Enlisted woman (or women)

 

G

GI Government issue, also a nickname for soldiers 

Guidon A small flag designating a unit

 

H

Hobby Hat Nickname for the WAAC/WAC cap, named after Director Oveta Culp Hobby

HQ Headquarters

 

I

Intersectionality the interconnected nature of social categorizations such as race, class, and gender as they apply to a given individual or group, regarded as creating overlapping and interdependent systems of discrimination or disadvantage. 

-Oxford Dictionaries, Oxford University Press 

 

J

Jim Crow A racial caste system which operated primarily, but not exclusively in southern and border states, between 1877 and the mid-1960s. Under Jim Crow, African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens. Jim Crow represented the legitimization of anti-black racism.

-Jim Crow Museum, Ferris State University

 

O

OD Olive drab

 

P

Post A place where troops are stationed

 

R

Ration The amount of food allowed for one person for one day

Roster A list of personnel

 

S

Service Ribbon  A ribbon awarded for a specific service

 

U

Unit An organization varying in size from a squad to a division

 

W

WAAC Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, used between May 1942 and September 1943

WAC Women’s Army Corps, used from September 1943 through the disbandment of the Corps in 1978. 

Recommended Reading

The Army Postal Service. Washington, D.C.: United States Government Printing Office, 1943. 

Earley, Charity Adams. One Woman's Army: a Black Officer Remembers the WAC. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 2010. 

Farrell, Mary Cronk. Standing up Against Hate: How Black Women in the Army Helped Change the Course of WWII. New York: Abrams Books for Young Readers, 2019. 

Gruhzit-Hoyt, Olga. They Also Served: American Women in World War II. Secaucus, NJ: Carol Pub. Group, 1995. 

Holm, Jeanne, and Judith Bellafaire. In Defense of a Nation: Servicewomen in World War II. Arlington, VA: Vandamere Press, 1998. 

Moore, Brenda L. To Serve My Country, to Serve My Race: the Story of the Only African American WACS Stationed Overseas during World War II. New York: New York university press, 1996. 

Mullenbach, Cheryl. Double Victory: How African American Women Broke Race and Gender Barriers to Help Win World War II. Chicago: Chicago Review Press, 2017. 

The Officers' Guide: a Ready Reference on Customs and Correct Procedures Which Pertain to Commissioned Officers of the Army of the United States. 4th ed. Harrisburg, PA: Military Service Pub. Co., 1941. 

Putney, Martha S. When the Nation Was in Need: Blacks in the Women's Army Corps During World War II. Lanham, MD: Scarecrow Press, 2001.  

Treadwell, Mattie E. The Women's Army Corps. Washington: Off. of the Chief of Military History, Dep. of the Army, 1954. 

WAC Life. Washington: United States Government Printing Office, 1945. 

Weatherford, Doris. American Women During World War II: An Encyclopedia. London: Routledge, 2010.