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N. D. B. Connolly
Herbert Baxter Adams Associate Professor of History
On Sabbatical for the 2017-2018 Academic Year
I write about racism, capitalism, politics, and the built environment in the twentieth century. My work pays special attention to people’s overlapping understandings of property rights and civil rights in the United States and the wider Americas.
I'm advancing, at present, two new book-length projects. The first is Four Daughters: An America Story. This collective biography covers four generations of a single family, following the lives of four women of color whose forbearers migrated from the Caribbean to the United States by way of Britain between the 1930s and 1990s. A genuinely Atlantic history, Four Daughters explores how immigrants of color and their children defined success in America during and after second-wave feminism, the civil rights movement, "right to work" politics, and the War on Drugs. My other book project expands on the intimate scale of Four Daughters to assess and synthesize broader trends, patterns, and processes. Black Capitalism: The "Negro Problem" and the American Economy offers the first sweeping account of how black economic success shaped the way Americans and immigrants understood the possibilities offered by capitalism in the United States.
My first book was A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida (University of Chicago Press, 2014). It received, among other awards, the 2014 Kenneth T. Jackson Book Award from the Urban History Association, the 2015 Liberty Legacy Foundation Book Award from the Organization of American Historians, and the 2016 Bennett H. Wall Book Award from the Southern Historical Association. The book resuscitates older discussions of racism's profitability by treating Jim Crow segregation in Greater Miami as a variation on the colonial and postcolonial practices afflicting tropical populations around the world. A World More Concrete also highlights never-before-seen conflicts between tenants, urban landlords, homeowners, politicians, and property managers over how best to profit from Native Americans, Caribbean migrants, working-class whites, and the black poor.
Apart from publishing in scholarly venues, I contribute frequently to public debates, including regular contributions on WGBH Boston’s Here & Now, commentary for the New York Times, and as a co-host on the weekly podcast BackStory. In June 2016, Prof. Keisha N. Blain and I organized a crowd-sourced syllabus, Trump Syllabus 2.0, that locates the political ascendancy of Donald J. Trump in historical context.
- Racial Literacy for Historians
- Lives of the Black Freedom Struggle
- American Metropolitan History
- Blacks in America: The Twentieth Century
- America after the Civil Rights Movement
- Jim Crow in America
- The U.S. City in the Twentieth Century
“The Strange Career of American Liberalism,” in Shaped by the State: Toward a New Political History of the 20th Century, Lily Geismer, Brent Cebul, and Mason Williams (University of Chicago Press, 2019), 62-95.
“Public Thinker: Keisha N. Blain on Black Women’s Intellectual History” (an interview with Prof. Blain), Public Books, May 14, 2018
“How ‘Black Panther’ Taps into 500 Years of History,” The Hollywood Reporter, Feb. 18, 2018
“A White Story,” Dissent, Forum on Neoliberalism, Jan. 22, 2018.
“Mapping Inequality: ‘Big Data’ Meets Social History in the Story of Redlining,” with LaDale Winling, Robert K. Nelson, and Richard Marciano, The Routledge Handbook of Spatial History, Ian Gregory, Don, Lafreniere, Don Debats, eds. (Routledge UK, 2018), 502-524.
Opening Remarks, Life Sentences: A Conference on Incarceration and the Humanities, PublicSeminar.org, Nov. 30, 2017.
“Charlottesville Showed that Liberalism Can’t Defeat White Supremacy. Only Direct Action Can,” The Washington Post, Aug. 15, 2017.
“Eminent Domain” in The Arsenal of Exclusion & Inclusion, Tobias Amborst, Daniel D’Oca, Georgeen Theodore, eds. (Actar, 2017), 128-131.
“Urban Renewal” in The Arsenal…, Amborst et al. 370-372.
“Black and Woke in Capitalist America: Revisiting Robert Allen’s Black Awakening…for New Times’ Sake,” Items, March 7, 2017.
“Black History Month: A Political Season,” BackStory blog, March 7, 2017.
“This, Our Second Nadir,” Boston Review, Forum on Race, Capitalism and Justice (Jan. 2017): 95-104.
“Notes on a Desegregated Method: Learning from Michael Katz and Others,” Journal of Urban History 41, no. 4 (July 2015): 584-591.
“Black Appointees, Political Legitimacy, and the American Presidency,” in Recapturing the Oval Office, Brian Balogh and Bruce Schulman, eds. (Cornell University Press, 2015), 123-142.
“Games of Chance: Jim Crow’s Entrepreneurs Bet on ‘Negro’ Law-and-Order,” in What’s Good for Business: Business and Politics Since World War II, Julian E. Zelizer and Kimberly Phillips-Fein, eds. (Oxford University Press, 2012), 140-156.
“Sunbelt Civil Rights: Urban Renewal and the Follies of Desegregation in Greater Miami,” in Sunbelt Rising: The Politics of Space, Place and Region in the American South and Southwest, Darren Dochuk and Michelle Nickerson, eds. (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2011), 164-187.
“Timely Innovations: Planes, Trains, and the ‘Whites Only’ Economy of a Pan American City,” Urban History 36, no. 2, Special Issue on Transnational Urbanism in the Americas (August 2009): 243-261.
“Colored, Caribbean, and Condemned: Miami’s Overtown District and the Cultural Expense of Progress, 1940-1970,” Caribbean Studies 34, no. 1 (January-June 2006): 3-60.
“History as Story, For Better or Worse,” with Dale Keiger, Johns Hopkins Magazine, Summer 2018.
“Ahead of Memorial Day, A Look Back at America’s Vacation History,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, May 24, 2018
“Harriet Tubman, Real-Life Action Hero,” an interview with Sara Cruikshank, Hub JHU, Mar. 8, 2018.
“Where Teacher Walkouts Fit in the History of Government Jobs,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Apr. 27, 2018
“American Privacy through History, from Colonial-Era Searches to World War II,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Apr. 12, 2018
“Much of Martin Luther King Jr.’s Legacy Distorted in Modern Times, says Historian,” The Current, CBC Radio, Apr. 4, 2018.
“Parkland Students Carry On a Tradition of Youth Protest. Does it Work?” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Mar. 2, 2018.
“‘Black Panther’s’ Utopian Wakanda is a Welcome Escape,” by Clarence Page, Chicago Tribune, Feb. 27, 2018.
“Dreaming of Wakanda,” On the Media, WNYC 93.9, Feb. 23, 2018.
“Confederate Site Rededicated to Harriet Tubman,” by James Scharf and Vance Wood, Johns Hopkins News-Letter, Feb. 15, 2018.
“Pyeongchang Olympics Far From First Time Politics Loomed Over Games,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Feb. 15, 2018.
“Rebecca Kobrin and the American Capitalism Series at Johns Hopkins,” The Marc Steiner Show, Feb. 14, 2018.
“How Segregation Leads to Health Disparities,” by Jake J. Smith, The Pulse, WHYY 90.9, Feb. 13, 2018.
“The History of U.S. Immigration Exclusion,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Jan. 19, 2018.
“America in 1968: The Divisions That Linger 50 Years Later,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Jan. 4, 2018.
“How ‘Not in My Backyard’ became ‘Not in My Neighborhood,” by Emily Badger, New York Times, Jan. 3, 2018.
“How Redlining Segregated Philadelphia,” by Jake Blumgart, NextCity, Dec. 8, 2017.
“The History of Sexual Harassment at Work,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Nov. 24, 2017
“The Pitfalls of (Black) Capitalism and Banking,” iMixWHATiLike! with Jared Ball, Nov. 4, 2017.
“The Gun Control Debate from the Early Days of the Republic,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Oct. 12, 2017.
“American Capitalism, Black Banking, and Political Power,” The Marc Steiner Show, Oct. 6, 2017.
“When It Comes to White Supremacy, Historians Can’t Stand on the Sidelines,” by Melissa J. Gismondi, The Walrus, Aug. 28, 2017.
“Charlottesville & the Removal of Confederate Monuments,” The Marc Steiner Show, Aug. 23, 2017.
“Charlottesville: ‘Le racisme est incrusté dans les institutions américaines,’” by Romain Jeanticou, Télérama, Aug. 22, 2017.
“These 16 Books Explain White Supremacy in the US,” by Ariana Rebolini, BuzzFeed, Aug. 19, 2017.
“The History of White Supremacist Groups in the US,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Aug. 16, 2017.
“Terror in Charlottesville,” Midday with Tom Hall, WYPR 88.1, Aug. 14, 2017.
“Neoliberalism and/or Neocolonialism,” an interview with Michael C. Dawson, Race & Capitalism, New Dawn Podcast, Aug. 9, 2017
“The History Behind How Americans View Higher Education,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, July 21, 2017.
“Removing Confederate Monuments: Why Now and What’s Next?” We Live Here, KWMU 90.7, July 12, 2017
“The Long, Complicated History of American Political Secrecy,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, June 22, 2017.
“Why Does Infrastructure Cause Political Headaches?” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, June 8, 2017.
“Placing Trump’s Firing of Comey in Historical Context,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, May 11, 2017.
“The Statistics are Up, but Opiods Use in America is Nothing New,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Apr. 13, 2017.
“When One Party Controls the Federal Government,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Mar. 30, 2017.
“Trump Isn’t the First President to Challenge the Judiciary,” Here & Now, WBUR 90.9, Feb. 17, 2017.
"N. D. B. Connolly on Race and Real Estate in Miami," Who Makes Cents: A History of Capitalism Podcast, Sep. 3, 2014
"Mapping Inequality: How Redlining is Still Affecting Inner Cities," The State of Things, 91.5 FM WUNC, Durham, NC, Jun. 26, 2014
"Debating Reparations: Exploring the Politics and Economics," The Marc Steiner Show, 88.9 FM WEAA, Baltimore, MD, Jun. 2, 2014
"The Case For Repair," Parts 1 and 2, The City in History (official weblog for the Urban History Association) Post received some 11,000 hits between May 24 and June 3, 2014
"Donald Sterling and American Racism," Midday with Dan Rodricks, 88.1 FM WYPR, Baltimore, MD, Apr. 30, 2014
Guest commentator on the 50th Anniversary of The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, News Nation with Tamron Hall, MSNBC, aired Aug. 28, 2013