Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era


Tuesday, November 10, 2015
7 p.m. | University of Kansas, The Commons (Spooner Hall)

“For the 380,000 African American soldiers who fought in World War I, Woodrow Wilson’s charge to make the world ‘safe for democracy’ carried life-or-death meaning. Chad L. Williams reveals the central role of African American soldiers in the global conflict and how they, along with race activists and ordinary citizens, committed to fighting for democracy at home and beyond. Using a diverse range of sources, Torchbearers of Democracy reclaims the legacy of African American soldiers and veterans and connects their history to issues such as the obligations of citizenship, combat, and labor, diaspora and internationalism, homecoming and racial violence, ‘New Negro’ militancy, and African American memories of the war.” (from the University of North Carolina Press)

This event is related to the 2015 KU Common Book: A Farewell to Arms by Ernest Hemingway. Learn more at:


KU Common Book is a campuswide initiative to engage first-year students.

A key component of Bold Aspirations, the KU strategic plan, is investing in first-year intellectual experiences. As part of this emphasis, KU Common Book will generate opportunities for shared intellectual experiences that invite analysis, foster critical thinking, and reflect the type of reasoned discourse expected at a university.

First-year students will receive the common book at Orientation and be encouraged to read and discuss the book at activities and programs throughout the year. The Common Book was selected by a committee comprised of faculty, staff, and students from nominations generated by the KU campus. Although the program focuses on freshmen and transfer students, the steering committee invites participation from all students, as well as faculty and staff who wish to include the book in their classes and programs.

The program is coordinated by the Office of First-Year Experience and is governed by the KU Common Book Committee, comprised of faculty, staff, and students from across campus.

The University of Kansas Centennial Commemoration of World War I, coordinated by the European Studies Program. Learn more about participating units and upcoming programs: and