“Trench Blues”: An African American Song of World War I November 23, 2016 by Stephanie Hall

“Trench Blues,” is John Bray’s story about going to war in 1917 at 28. He tells of his experiences aboard ship while worrying about German submarines below the waves. He then describes how it felt in his “home in the trenches, living in a big dugout” of being among “40,000 called out to drill,” and going to Belgium. Listeners should be aware that he uses a pejorative word for African Americans in the song (the “n” word).

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