Coming home at the end of World War I was, for most American soldiers and their family members, a tremendous, joyous occasion. For the black American families, however, coming home meant returning to a life of fear and prejudice. The historical significance of W.E.B. Du Bois’ “Returning Soldiers” is its description of some of the problems that African Americans faced in the post-World War I era. Black Americans returned to the country for which they had just served, and faced severe domestic injustices, such as violence and lynching, political disfranchisement, educational inequalities, and general prejudice.
For instance, W.E.B. Du Bois describes the violence that African Americans faced in the post-World War I era, such as lynching, where they were killed for offenses whether or not they had been tried for the supposed crimes. Du Bois describes it well, explaining “This is the fatherland for which we fought! This is our fatherland. It was right for us to fight...We return fighting”1. Black Americans had gone overseas in numbers reaching tens of thousands, and had fought and died for their country. Then, that country turned around and slaughtered them for few reasons other than simply the color of…show more content… In this case, the main privilege that was disfranchised was the right to vote. Although it wasn’t taken away entirely, it became increasingly harder for black citizens to register to vote. Du Bois describes disfranchisement as “the deliberate theft and robbery of the only protection of poor against rich and black against white”2. Democratic nations pride themselves on the idea that the citizens choose the leadership and that government is ‘for the people, by the people’. This is not true if the country denies or discourages a large percentage of its citizens from voting, which is exactly what the United States