Chad L. Williams is an associate professor and the chair of the Department of African and Afro-American Studies at Brandeis University. He specializes in African American and modern United States history, African American military history, the World War I era, and African American intellectual history.
At Radcliffe, Williams is completing a book about W. E. B. Du Bois’s attempts to write what he believed would be the definitive history of African Americans in World War I. Based on Du Bois’s unpublished manuscript and research materials, the project explores how the personal, political, and historical legacies of World War I haunted both Du Bois and black people more broadly throughout the interwar period. Williams hopes to shed new light on Du Bois’s intellectual life, the experiences of African American soldiers, and the meaning of World War I for peoples of African descent.
Williams received his MA and PhD in history from Princeton University. He is the author of Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (University of North Carolina Press, 2010), which won the 2011 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians and a 2011 Distinguished Book Award from the Society for Military History. Williams is also coeditor of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016). He has earned fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, the Ford Foundation, the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation.