Tomorrow is 11th November, Armistice Day, which marks the end of the First World War, and is an important time to highlight my project’s humble, but I hope insightful, contribution to WW1 commemorations.
In January 2015, I attended an event on Britain’s Black Community and the Great War, which was organised by colleages at Birmingham and Nottingham’s WW1 Engagement Centres (funded through the AHRC) for researchers and members of the wider community.
The event was held at the Library of Birmingham, one of the city’s flagship buildings and a really important community space.
It was fantastic to meet a range of speakers from community groups in the Midlands area and to learn more about figures such as the footballer Walter Tull who fought and died in the First World War. I discussed my work on Zobel, and the event has spurred me on to think about Joseph Zobel, the French Caribbean and WW1.
As a result of this activity, I created a new blog page reflecting on WW1 and the French Caribbean. This seemed particularly important given that this project is running at a moment when across the world, commemorations are taking place to mark WW1.
I discuss the soldiers who fought from Martinique and Guadeloupe, and the references to WW1 in Zobel’s famous novel La Rue Cases-Nègres / Black Shack Alley (1950):