OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Thomas A. Guglielmo

Portrait of Thomas A. Guglielmo

Thomas A. Guglielmo is an associate professor of American studies at George Washington University. His research focuses on the social and political history of race in America. His first book, White on Arrival: Italians, Race, Color, and Power in Chicago, 1890–1945 (2003), won the OAH Frederick Jackson Turner Award; as a dissertation, it won the Society of American Historians' Allan Nevins Prize. Guglielmo's forthcoming book examines racism and resistance in America's World War II military. Pieces of this latest project have appeared as articles in the Journal of American History and the American Journal of Sociology. Guglielmo has received fellowships from the Charles Warren Center for Studies in American History at Harvard University and from the Research Institute of Comparative Studies in Race and Ethnicity at Stanford University.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

America’s World War II-Era Blood Donor Service collected blood and plasma from millions of donors, shipped it to service personnel fighting overseas, and saved countless lives. And yet the program first excluded African American donors from taking part and then, only after a wave of protest and growing demand for blood, accepted them, but solely on a segregated basis. At least officially, Jim Crow blood policies, targeted exclusively at African Americans, remained in place for the entire war and several years beyond. This talk explores this largely untold blood story, arguing that it sheds light on the early roots of the civil rights movement and raises questions about how well Americans' popular memories of World War II capture its nuances and complexity.
America’s World War II military was a force of unalloyed good. While saving the world from Nazism, it also managed to unify a famously fractious American people. At least that’s the story many of us have long told ourselves. In this lecture, historian Thomas A. Guglielmo offers a decidedly different view. Drawing from more than a decade of extensive research and stitching together stories long told separately -- of race and the military; of high command and ordinary GIs; and of African Americans, white Americans, Japanese Americans, and more -- Guglielmo stresses not national unities but racist divisions as a defining feature of America’s World War II military and of the postwar world it helped to fashion.