Matthew Brown: Over Here: how the US army’s stay in the UK during WW2 influenced the civil rights movement

When soldiers live as civilians overseas, historians get the rare chance to study the social aspects of their presence.  When Americans began deploying to England in 1942, they brought along their cultural practices, prejudices, and biases.  White Americans were shocked to discover that British people didn’t share their prejudiced racial attitudes; and African-Americans were astounded at being treated as equals by the British.  On several occasions, friction escalated into bloodshed.  How could it be that America asked African-Americans to fight for other peoples’ freedom, while denying civil liberties to the very soldiers who were doing the fighting?  This lecture will explore this topic and reveal an unexpected conclusion.

Matthew Brown spent 24 years as a US military officer, and is currently with the American Battle Monuments Commission (ABMC), as Superintendent of the Cambridge American Cemetery.

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Event information


13 Jan 2021


2:15 pm


Wednesday Lecture - online