Chad Williams F'11
ACLS Fellowship Program 2011
The Black Man and the Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois, African American Soldiers, and the History of World War I
Over the course of 17 years, W. E. B. Du Bois worked on a history of African American participation in World War I titled “The Black Man and the Wounded World” that remained unfinished and is today largely forgotten. This project tells the story of “The Black Man and the Wounded World,” demonstrating its importance to historical understandings of Du Bois’s life, the experiences of African American soldiers, and the broader meaning of World War I for peoples of African descent. In exploring why “The Black Man and the Wounded World” never materialized, this study reveals how the tensions between history and memory, for both Du Bois and black veterans, reflected the contentious legacy of World War I for African Americans and directly contributed to the ultimate failure of the project.