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28th Annual Du Bois Lecture: Chad Williams, ‘The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War’ : UMass Amherst

UMass Amherst Libraries presents the 28th Annual Du Bois Lecture to commemorate the 155th anniversary of the birth of WEB Du Bois on Thursday, February 23 at 6 p.m. This year’s speaker is Chad Williams. The lecture will be broadcast live and is open to the public.

For nearly two decades, WEB Du Bois attempted to write what he believed would be the definitive history of the African-American experience in World War I. In this talk, Chad Williams examines Du Bois’ complex relationship to the history and legacy of World War I and what it reveals about the struggle for democracy, racial justice and peace in the 20th century.


NEWS Chad Williams

Chad Williams

Chad Williams is the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. Williams earned a BA with honors in history and African American Studies from UCLA and received both his MA and PhD in history from Princeton University.

Williams specializes in African American and modern United States history, African American military history, the World War I era, and African American intellectual history. He is widely recognized as one of the nation’s leading scholars on African Americans and World War I. His first book, Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), won the 2011 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians, the 2011 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History, and Named 2011 CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title. He is also Associate Editor of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016) and Major Problems in African American History, Second Edition (Cengage Learning, 2016). His next book, The Wounded World: WEB Du Bois and the First World War, will be published by Farrar, Straus and Giroux in 2023.

Williams has received prestigious grants from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, the Ford Foundation, and the Institute for Citizens and Scholars.

Williams has published articles and book reviews in many leading academic journals and collections, as well as op-eds and essays in The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Time, and The Conversation. He has provided historical commentary on numerous television series, including The Great War, Reconstruction: America After the Civil War, The American Presidency with Bill Clinton, and Black Patriots: Buffalo Soldiers.


The Washington Post: The Buffalo shooting reveals how history shapes the present
The talk: A patriot and a black man, Colin Powell embodied the “duality” of the African-American experience

The Atlantic: Du Bois gave voice to pain and promise

Every year, libraries celebrate WEB Du Bois’ birthday with a lecture on a theme related to his life and legacy. Named after Du Bois in 1994, the library is home to the extensive WEB Du Bois Papers and the WEB Du Bois Center, established in 2009 to engage audiences in discussion and scholarship on global issues such as race, labor, and social justice.

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