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N. D. B. Connolly

Assistant Professor

Gilman 390
Monday, 10 a.m.-12 p.m.
Curriculum Vitae

Video & Media

A student of 20th-century history, I explore the interplay between racism, capitalism, politics, and the built environment. My scholarship pays special attention to people's overlapping understandings of property rights and civil rights in the United States and the wider Americas.

My first book, published by the University of Chicago Press, is A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida. Part political economy, part cultural studies, A World More Concrete argues that landlords and other property owners set the terms for racial violence and economic justice in Jim Crow America. The book charts greater Miami's 80-year emergence as a global city. More specifically, it places black tenants, as objects of wealth creation, at the center of negotiations made between property owners over how best to make and remake the roads, amenities, and neighborhoods that served as Jim Crow's infrastructure, the infrastructure of white supremacy.

A World More Concrete explains how black poverty outlived Jim Crow. It resuscitates older discussions of racism's profitability by treating racial segregation in greater Miami as a variation on the colonial and postcolonial practices afflicting tropical populations around the world during the 20th century. At the same time, the book 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. Ultimately, political conflicts resolved at the expense of so-called colored people ensured the development of suppler and thus more durable forms of segregation. By rendering a world that remains both culturally diverse and stubbornly segregated, A World More Concrete invites readers to view greater Miami's past as America's future.

Inspired by my first project, I have begun two other book projects. The first is Four Daughters: An America Story. This collective biography covers three 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 second 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.

In addition to teaching and writing, I serve on the Executive Board of the Urban History Association and give talks as a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Also, at Johns Hopkins, I serve as Co-Director for the Program on Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship and on the Executive Board for the Center for Africana Studies.

Before coming to Hopkins, I taught philosophy at St. Thomas University in Miami, FL, and worked as an educational consultant at Fenway High School in Boston, earning degrees from St. Thomas (BA, 1999), the University of Chicago (MA, 2000), and the University of Michigan (MA, Ph.D., 2008) along the way.

Graduate Seminars
  • 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)
Undergraduate Courses
  • 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

"Notes on a Desegregated Method: Learning from Michael Katz and Others," Journal of Urban History (forthcoming).

"Black Appointees, Political Legitimacy, 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 11, no. 2 (Summer 2014): 131-133.

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).

"Black Culture Is Not the Problem," The New York Times, May 1, 2015

JHU Forum on Race in America, Baltimore, MD, Apr. 30, 2015

Book Discussion on C-SPAN for A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida

"A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida," Topical Currents, 91.3 FM WLRN, Oct. 28, 2014

"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

The “I Have a Dream Speech,” The Bill Kelly Show, AM900 CHML, Hamilton, Ontario, Aug. 28, 2013

The Miller Center, University of Virginia, October 12, 2012

C-Span 3, American History TV, March 15, 2011 

University of Michigan, Institute of the Humanities, November 30, 2010

“Now What?: Six Hopkins Scholars Speculate on the Promise and the Shocks of the Future,” Johns Hopkins Magazine, Winter 2009