Service and Citizenship
People of all races have served in the United States armed forces since the country’s inception. However, despite their military service, people of color have not always held full access to the rights and responsibilities of citizenship. In the video below, host Mark Anthony Neal and guest Chad L. Williams discuss the struggle of Black World War I soldiers both in their experiences in Europe and their experiences as veterans.
Use the timeline below to explore the journey of American racial and ethnic minorities toward citizenship.
This video is an excerpt from a larger conversation between Left of Black host Mark Anthony Neal and historian Chad L. Williams, author of Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (UNC Press 2010). Professor Williams is Chair of the African American Studies Department at Brandeis University and co-editor (with Kidada Williams and Keisha Blain) of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016).
The full conversation can be viewed below.
- “How Discrimination Against Black Veterans Helped Shape Urban America”
- Exhibition and essay from episode guest Chad T. Williams on the connections between World War I veterans and the Black experience
- History of the violence Black veterans were subjected to upon return
- Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era, by episode guest Dr. Chad T. Williams
- Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I by Dr. Adriane Lentz-Smith