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CPR Seminar Series: Desmond Ang

Eggers Hall, 060

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Desmond Ang (Harvard Kennedy School of Government) will present "Vanguard: Black Veterans and Civil Rights after World War I" as part of the CPR Seminar Series.

Abstract: In 1919, hundreds of thousands of Black soldiers returned home to face widespread racial violence and discrimination. Leveraging the World War I draft lottery and millions of newly-digitized records, we document the pioneering role that these individuals played in advancing civil rights over the following decades. While military service provided little causal economic benefit, Black men who were randomly inducted into the U.S. Army were significantly more likely to take part in the ascendant NAACP. Heterogeneity analysis suggests that effects were largest for men from higher-skilled occupations and those who served in combat roles. Detailed analysis of the first African-American officer candidate class similarly reveals that commissioned officers were more likely to become civil rights leaders and other prominent members of civil society.


Social Science and Public Policy


Lectures and Seminars



Open to


Students, Graduate and Professional


MAX-Center for Policy Research


Alyssa Kirk


Contact Alyssa Kirk to request accommodations