Matthew F. Delmont with Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad
Presented in partnership with Boston Public Library, Museum of African American History, and GBH Forum Network
Moderated by Christian Walkes, Associate Director of Education and Interpretation, Museum of African American History
The definitive history of World War II from the African American perspective, written by civil rights expert and Dartmouth history professor Matthew Delmont.
Over one million Black men and women served in World War II. Black troops were at Normandy, Iwo Jima, and the Battle of the Bulge, serving in segregated units and performing vital support jobs. The stories of these Black veterans have long been ignored, as the myth of the “Good War” fought by the “Greatest Generation” has prevailed. Half American shares the experiences and impact of such heroes as Thurgood Marshall, the chief lawyer for the NAACP; Benjamin O. Davis, Jr., leader of the Tuskegee Airmen; Ella Baker, the civil rights leader who advocated on the home front for Black soldiers, veterans, and their families; James Thompson, who laid bare the hypocrisy of fighting against fascism abroad when racism still reigned at home; and poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a war correspondent for the Black press. Don’t miss Dr. Delmont’s meticulously researched retelling and learning more about these individuals’ bravery and patriotism in the face of racism.
Matthew F. Delmont is the Sherman Fairchild Distinguished Professor of History at Dartmouth College. A Guggenheim Fellow and expert on African American history and the history of civil rights, he is the author of four books: Black Quotidian, Why Busing Failed, Making Roots, and The Nicest Kids in Town. His work has also appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, and several academic journals, and on NPR. He earned his BA from Harvard University and his MA and PhD from Brown University.
Christian Walkes is the Associate Director of Education and Interpretation at the Museum of African American History and a Ph.D. Student in Education at Harvard University where he studies the history of African American education. Outside of his studies, he serves as an adjunct professor in the College of Education and Human Development at UMass/Boston and is a member of the Advisory Board to the Boston Writing Project. He is native of Boston.