Abstract of Patricia Kilpatrick on Activism During WWII

This clip relates to numerous content standards from the Ohio Department of Education curriculum for Social Studies education, including:

  • American History Content Statement #13 – Following Reconstruction, old political and social structures reemerged and racial discrimination was institutionalized.
  • American History Content Statement #28 – Following World War II, the United States experienced a struggle for racial and gender equality and the extension of civil rights.



Patricia Kilpatrick was intimately involved with Case Western Reserve University, serving in many capacities during her 24 years working there. Ms. Kilpatrick began in the Physical Education Department and quickly worked her way up to more administrative positions within the school. In 1987, she became the first Vice President of the University and used her position of influence to bring about social change. Most important in her career at CWRU was her fight for gender and racial equality on campus, as she sought the fair and equal treatment of all students, faculty and staff. Even after she retired from Case in 1992, she continued to help establish and develop the services provided by the Flora Stone Mather Center for Women, to promote the overall well-being of women on the campus. In this interview from 2014, Ms. Kilpatrick discusses her early life and involvement in volunteer organizations during World War II. She provides a description of how she specifically contributed to the American cause during this time in history, in addition to explaining her attitudes and feelings about the events of the War.

Potential Classroom Applications:

The story shared by Ms. Kilpatrick would be an excellent inclusion into a lesson about World War II, as it discusses the “homefront” perspective. Her description of volunteer efforts in the United States could provide a context for students about efforts to conserve resources in order to aid the military presence overseas. In connection with examples such as the efforts to conserve meat and produce or the drives to turn salvaged aluminum into ammunition, this clip can help promote a better understanding of the sacrifices made at home in order to advance the American cause worldwide. Educators could also connect this interview to historical instances in which young people became active in wartime efforts, in order to promote their countries’ well-being.

Another way in which educators could employ this clip in the classroom is by connecting it with visual materials relating to war planes. An activity could be done in which students compare and contrast the aircrafts of various nations that fought in World War II, to better understand their capabilities and shortcomings. This activity would also provide a larger context for students about the overall effectiveness of weapons and tactics used in WWII, and aid in an analysis of how the conflict was eventually ended. The National World War II website features lesson plans and primary source materials that can be used in relation to this sound clip, in addition to topics such as the Holocaust and the geography of the War.