Who Is Benjamin Bowie?

The job of the historian is to take pieces of available evidence and knit them together into a narrative. With pieces of evidence from the life of Benjamin Bowie, students will craft a narrative of his life and death.

Guiding Questions

  • Who is Benjamin Bowie and how does his experience align with the experiences of African American soldiers during World War I?

Learning Outcomes

The student will be able to:

  • Identify and list a series of questions to be answered about Benjamin Bowie.
  • Analyze photographs, newspaper clippings, and registration records for Benjamin Bowie.
  • Use their historical imagination to write a narrative of Benjamin Bowie’s military life.


Assign the students to write down at least 10 questions that they would like to ask a veteran of World War I.


Assign students to view the images associated with Benjamin Bowie.
Ask the students to try to find the answers for Benjamin Bowie for the 10 questions that they previously generated.
Assign the students to do further research on Benjamin Bowie, the World War I battle in which he fought and died, and the Gold Star mothers pilgrimage in which his mother may have participated.


Assign the students to write a one-page history fiction narrative on the life of Benjamin Bowie.

Content Components of EssayPoints

Inclusion of correct place of birth and well-researched information about the life of African Americans in the place and time of Bowie’s birth20

Inclusion of correct military rank and role. Also, include well-researched information about the experiences of African American soldiers in World War I30

Inclusion of observations and inferences drawn from photographs and newspaper articles20

Inclusion of correct date of death. Also, include well-researched information about the battle in which he lost his life15

Inclusion of inferences about Bowie’s childhood and adolescence based on the time
and place in which he grew up15

Read more about the author's finding of Benjamin Bowie in Section 7 of War on Two Fronts.

Materials Needed

Images-Benjamin Bowie