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N. D. B. Connolly
My scholarship generally explores the interplay of racism, capitalism, and American politics. Over the course of my career, I have learned that understanding American history requires understanding Americans’ struggle over and dependence on racial segregation.
I have written on the history of American property rights, real estate, business, law, the Jim Crow South, and urban and suburban politics. My current interests include black entrepreneurship as a political force, the American city, and the workings of racial segregation since the 1970s.
My first book, A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida (University of Chicago Press, 2014), argues that property ownership helped set the terms of Jim Crow segregation. It shows how a shared stake in growing South Florida’s economy allowed competing property interests from opposite sides of the color line to forge consensus about the best way to manage urban development and police the black poor. As a work of both political economy and cultural studies, A World More Concrete focuses on how people turned property into political power, and power into property. It also pays special attention to how so-called colored people attempted to govern under apartheid, not just resist. Among its contributions, the book explores previously unknown dynamics between property management firms, landlords, tenants, government officials, and suburban homeowners in order to locate capitalism in the making of suppler and thus more durable forms of racial segregation.
Inspired by my first project, my current book-in-progress is entitled Black Capitalism: “The Negro Problem” and the American Economy. It treats black commercial practices as an engine, not just an outgrowth, of macroeconomic transformation. My early research suggests, specifically, that widely accepted ideas about how the economy worked, including the viability of municipal bonds, the appropriate degree of market regulation, or even “the American People” as a target consumer audience, hung on the degree to which black people worked their way into or were allowed to participate in America’s market economy.
A native of South Florida, I hold an MA and PhD in history from the University of Michigan, an MA in the social sciences from the University of Chicago, and a bachelor’s degree from St. Thomas University (Miami, FL). Before coming to Johns Hopkins, I taught philosophy at St. Thomas, and worked as an educational consultant at Fenway High School in Boston, MA.
- Racial Literacy for Historians
- Lives of the Black Freedom Struggle
- American Metropolitan History
- The Power of Place, with Prof. Mary Ryan
- Reading Land and History
- Writing Analytic History (abbreviated summer seminar)
- Blacks in America: The Twentieth Century
- America after the Civil Rights Movement
- Jim Crow in America
- The U.S. City in the Twentieth Century
Essays and Articles
“By Appointment Only: Black Entrepreneurs and the American Presidency,” in Recasting Presidential History, Brian Balogh and Bruce Schulman, eds. (Cornell University Press, forthcoming)
“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.
Book Reviews, Encyclopedia Entries, and Exhibit Catalogues
“Radical Moves: Caribbean Migrants and the Politics of Race in the Jazz Age, by Lara Putnam,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas (forthcoming).
“The Condemnation of Blackness: Race, Crime, and the Making of Modern Urban America, by Khalil Gibran Muhammad,” Planning Perspectives 26, no. 4 (Oct. 2011): 691-692.
“How Does History Frame the Contemporary Perspective of Segregation in Baltimore? What Has Baltimore Overcome, and How Much of That Legacy Remains?,” Baltimore: Open City, exhibit catalogue (Baltimore: Maryland Institute College of Art, 2011): 96-97.
“The Problem of Jobs: Liberalism, Race, and Deindustrialization in Philadelphia, by Guian A. McKee,” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 7, no. 2 (Summer 2010): 123-125.
“The Last Darky: Bert Williams, Black-on-Black Minstrelsy, and the African Diaspora, by Louis Chude-Sokei” Wadabagei: A Journal of the Caribbean and Its Diaspora 10, no. 3 (May 2008): 114-117.
“Black Panther Party,” in Encyclopedia of Chicago, James R. Grossman, Ann Durkin Keating, and Janice L. Reiff, eds. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2004).
A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida
2014, University of Chicago Press
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