New Book on African Americans During World War II

Historian Matthew Delmont’s new book, Half American: The Epic Story of African Americans Fighting World War II at Home and Abroad, chronicles the lives of African Americans who fought in the war and the fight against racism in the United States. Award-winning author Clint Smith notes,

Delmont’s book is filled with compelling narratives that outline with nuance, rigor, and complexity how Black Americans fought for this country abroad while simultaneously fighting for their rights here in the​ United States. Half American belongs firmly within the canon of indispensable World War II books.

Thanks to a donation of books from the author, the Zinn Education Project offered 2,500 hardback copies of Delmont’s book to public school teachers, school librarians, and teacher educators, who shared a plan for using the text.

The book includes stories that can be woven into the curriculum of key people and events, such as: Thurgood Marshall, the chief lawyer for the NAACP, who investigated and publicized violence against Black troops and veterans; Ella Baker, the civil rights leader who advocated on the home front for Black soldiers, veterans, and their families; James Thompson, the 26-year-old whose letter to a newspaper laying bare the hypocrisy of fighting against fascism abroad when racism still reigned at home set in motion the Double Victory campaign; and poet Langston Hughes, who worked as a war correspondent for the Black press.

Meet Matthew Delmont

Join us on Monday, November 14, 2022, when historian Matt Delmont will share stories from his book in our Teach the Black Freedom Struggle online class.

Matthew 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 five books. In addition to Half American, there are: 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, NPR, and several academic journals.

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