Soldiering for Empire: Race, Labor, and Recruitment of Black Troops in Africa and the United States, 1865-1920
Between 1890 and 1920, Black men served as soldiers in three different colonized contexts--Sudan, German East Africa, and the U.S. West. These men became soldiers as a passage out of harsh socio-economic circumstances, unfree labor regimes, and enslavement. They participated in the violent conquest of African and Native American lands, killing and displacing Indigenous peoples, and laying the groundwork for colonial rule and settler states. Soldiering for Empire will show how racist thought and practice influenced labor hierarchies and the recruitment of Black troops in these different contexts. At the same time, it examines the vexed position of Black soldiers within imperial armies. Their work as imperial soldiers brought benefits to them and their families, but only at great cost to those whose lives were destroyed by imperial violence.
Michelle Moyd is Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History at IU Bloomington and Associate Director of the Center for Research on Race and Ethnicity in Society (CRRES). She is a historian of eastern Africa, with special interests in the region’s history of soldiering and warfare. Her books include Violent Intermediaries: African Soldiers, Conquest, and Everyday Colonialism in German East Africa and an ongoing work, Africa, Africans, and the First World War, which is under contract with Cambridge University Press. She is also co-author (with David Gramling and Yuliya Komska) of Linguistic Disobedience: Restoring Power to Civic Language, published by Palgrave in 2018.