Prolific author, sociologist, historian, civil rights activist and co-founder of the NAACP, W.E.B. Du Bois is one of the most prominent scholars and activists in African-American history. He and his unpublished work about the betrayal of Black soldiers during World War I are the topic of Chad Williams new book The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War. Chad joins podcast host Michael Neiberg for another episode of On Writing to examine the origin, research and the process behind his book. It’s a fascinating conversation that goes beyond a simple biography and examines Du Bois’s struggles with his own disillusionment with WW I and his transformation to anti-war activist as he described it in his unpublished manuscript.
I tend to think of writing in a lot of different ways. Even if it’s not formulating a coherent paragraph, that can be taking notes, that can be reading, that can be again going through my research and jotting down observations. So I think just the daily practice of writing and being consistent, was and still remains, an important part of my writing practice.
Chad Williams is the Samuel J. and Augusta Spector Professor of History and African and African American Studies at Brandeis University. He is the author of the award-winning book Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era, and most recently, The Wounded World: W. E. B. Du Bois and the First World War.
Michael Neiberg is the Chair of War Studies at the U.S. Army War College.
The views expressed in this presentation are those of the speakers and do not necessarily reflect those of the U.S. Army War College, U.S. Army, or Department of Defense.
Photo Description: W. E. B. Du Bois (1868 – 1963), co-founder of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), in 1918.
Photo Credit: Cornelius Marion Battey via the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division