African Americans & WWII

Hand drill operator at Vulte-NashvilleHalf American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad will be published by Viking Books in 2022. For black Americans WWII was about not only America’s standing in the world but also about how much actual freedom would exist in the United States. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge. They fought bravely in combat and they formed the backbone of the United States military’s supply effort, enabling the Allies to fight and win a global war. They did all of this while fighting in a segregated military. Black veterans returned from the war and kept fighting white supremacy at home, fueling the civil rights movement. This history is important because more than seventy years later, the questions WWII raised regarding race and democracy remain unanswered. This book tells this inspiring and troubling story of bravery and patriotism in the face of unfathomable racism.

I am grateful to have received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) Public Scholar Award to support this book project.