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The Wounded World: W.E.B. DuBois and the First World War

Date & Time

May. 15, 2023
4:00pm – 5:30pm ET


Online Only


For more than two decades W. E. B. Du Bois attempted to write the definitive history of Black participation in World War I. His book, however, remained unfinished. Chad Williams offers the previously untold account of Du Bois’s failed efforts to complete what would have been one of his most significant works. In doing so, Williams sheds new light on Du Bois’s struggles to reckon with both the history and the troubling memory of the war, along with the broader meanings of race and democracy for Black people in the twentieth century.

Chad Williams is the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. He earned a BA in History and African American Studies from UCLA, and both his MA and Ph.D. in History from Princeton University. He is author of the award-winning book Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (2010, University of North Carolina Press) and The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War (2023, Farrar, Straus and Giroux).

The Washington History Seminar is co-chaired by Eric Arnesen (George Washington University) and Christian Ostermann (Woodrow Wilson Center) and is organized jointly by the American Historical Association and the Woodrow Wilson Center's History and Public Policy Program. It meets weekly during the academic year. The seminar thanks its anonymous individual donors and institutional partner (the George Washington University History Department) for their continued support.


Chad Williams

Chad Williams

Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies, Brandeis University


David W. Blight

David W. Blight

Sterling Professor of American History, Yale University
Michelle Moyd

Michelle Moyd

Red Cedar Distinguished Faculty Member, Michigan State University

Hosted By

History and Public Policy Program

The History and Public Policy Program makes public the primary source record of 20th and 21st century international history from repositories around the world, facilitates scholarship based on those records, and uses these materials to provide context for classroom, public, and policy debates on global affairs.  Read more

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