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Women in the War Industry Amanda Smith, an African-American woman employed in the Long Beach Plant of the Douglas Aircraft Company. Between 1940 and 1944, approximately one million civilian African Americans entered the labor force; 600,000 of them were female. The proportion of black women in industrial occupations almost tripled during the war, rising from 6.5 to 18 percent. Los Angeles-area aircraft plants were among the first to offer them employment. This woman worked at the Long Beac...