Sidelights on Negro Soldiers.
Sidelights on Negro Soldiers.

Sidelights on Negro Soldiers.

Post-war study of African American soldiers in the First World War by Charles Holston Williams (1886–1978), noted African American author, black athletics organizer, and director of physical training at Hampton Institute in Virginia.

As African American poet, author, and educator Benjamin Brawley writes in his introduction to the book: “His work for several years…had not only brought him to the very front in his chosen field, but had also given him special insight into the temperament, the physical prowess, and the social outlook of Negro men. ...and in the course of his work he spent a total of eighteen months visiting every place where Negro soldiers were gathered, in both American and France.” (p11)

Chapter headings include “In Camp,” “The Negro Officer,” “The Lure of the Uniform,” “The ‘Y’ and Other Welfare Organizations,” “The Stevedore,” “The Ninety-Second Division,” and “The Ninety-Third Division,” the latter two chapters referring to segregated, all black fighting units.

Author Charles H. Williams, a native of Kentucky, was a graduate of Hampton Institute. Later, in 1930, he received a Master’s degree in physical education from Harvard. Williams was one of the co-founders of the Colored Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA) and later served as the first director of the Hampton Institute Creative Dance Group.¹

The book bears the ownership inscription of “L. Vernon Briggs,” likely Lloyd Vernon Briggs, M.D. (1863–1941), Medical College of Virginia at Richmond-trained psychiatrist and medical and prison reformer. Briggs is especially noted for reforming asylum conditions and for the care of the mentally ill in Boston from the late 1880s to the late 1930s.²

Description: Sidelights on Negro Soldiers.

Boston: B.J. Brimmer Company, 1923. First Edition. 248pp. 8¾ x 5¾ inches. Publisher’s olive-green cloth with gilt titling.  Ownership inscription of “L. Vernon Briggs” to front endpaper. Brief rubbing at tail of spine; spine gilt dulled; very good.


Notes. 1. See Davis, Hampton University (Charleston SC, 2014), p115. 2. Collection: L. Vernon Briggs papers | HOLLIS for Archival Discovery accessed online.