In celebration of Juneteenth, The GKCBHSG closed out the first half of its program year on June 19, 2023, with a lecture presented by Dr. Chad Williams discussing his latest book, The Wounded World: W.E.B. DuBois & WW I. This program was hosted by and presented in partnership with our institutional member, the National World War I Museum and Memorial, and with the Black Archives of Mid-America.

Dr. Williams explored Dr. DuBois’ struggle to complete a book about the experiences of Black troops during World War I. Williams calls this unfinished project “Du Bois’s most significant work to never reach the public.” Given the treatment of Blacks during the war and upon their return home, DuBois grappled with his legacy and how to document what Black soldiers experienced given his encouragement for Black men to join the war effort. DuBois traveled to Le Mans France in January 1919 as part of his effort to obtain documentation. In his lecture, Dr. Williams discussed the criticisms directed at DuBois for his position on WW I, specifically his encouragement to “Close Ranks”, encouraging Blacks to “forget our special grievances”. DuBois’ longevity, his prolific body of work, and his role as one of the most influential scholar-activists in African American history remains as relevant today as ever.

Dr.Chad Williams serves as an academic advisor to the museum and is currently the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. He specializes in African American and modern United States History, African American military history, the World War I era, and African American intellectual history.

The GKCBHSG will resume its programming in September with our Founder’s Day program.