N. D. B. Connolly

N. D. B. Connolly

Herbert Baxter Adams Associate Professor of History

Contact Information

Research Interests: Twentieth-century America, racism, capitalism, urban and suburban history, and African diaspora

Education: PhD, University of Michigan

I write about racism, capitalism, politics, cities and migration in the late-nineteenth and twentieth centuries. My work pays special attention to people’s notions of family, property and citizenship 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 [sic]. 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 early 1900s and 1990s. A genuinely Atlantic history, Four Daughters explores how Caribbean immigrants of color and their children defined success in America through years of British colonization, 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 as a co-host on the weekly podcast BackStory and as Director of the Racism, Immigration, and Citizenship Program here at Johns Hopkins University.

Graduate Seminars

  • Racial Literacy in the Archives
  • The Black World Seminar
  • Lives of the Black Freedom Struggle
  • American Metropolitan History
  • Writing Power: Composition, Clarity, and Correctness

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
  • Writing U.S. Empire

An Uncommon, Unconquerable Mind: Our Friend, Julius S. Scott III (1955-2021),” Public Books, May 12, 2022. 

“Introduction: Black Protest, Politics, and Power,” in Ideas in Unexpected Places: Reimagining Black Intellectual History, Brandon R. Byrd, Leslie M. Alexander, and Russell Rickford, eds. (Northwestern University Press, 2022), 169-175. 

“‘Redlining Does Not End’: Talking with Rebecca Marchiel on Housing and Racism,” Public Books, Oct. 12, 2021. 

Freedom Education” with Stuart Schrader, Public Books, Oct. 4, 2021 

“Afterword,” Arnold R. Hirsch, Making the Second Ghetto: Race and Housing in Chicago, 25th Anniversary Edition (University of Chicago Press, 2021), 276-285. 

Approaching an Impossible City,” The Metropole: The Official Blog of the Urban History Association, May 25, 2021. 

“The Southern Side of Chicago: Arnold R. Hirsch and the Renewal of Southern History,” Journal of Urban History, vol. 46 (3): 505-510. 

Come Celebrate a Black World,” ElectricMarronage.com, Jun. 22, 2020. 

Speculating in History,” AnthuriumA Caribbean Studies Journal 16, no. 1 (Mar. 2020). 

“The Enduring, Gilded Periphery: Colonialism and Grand Cayman in Capital’s Atlantic World,” Journal of the Gilded Age and the Progressive Era (2020): 206-216. 

“My Social Media Philosophy in (Roughly) 1000 Words,” in The Academics Handbook, 4th Edition, Lori A. Flores and Jocelyn H. Olcott, eds. (Duke University Press, 2020), 258-260. 

“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.

“Trump Syllabus 2.0,” with Keisha Blain, Public Books, June 28, 2016.

“A Black Power Method,” Public Books, June 15, 2016.

“What Obama Can’t Say: A Review of The Black Presidency: Barack Obama and the Politics of Race in America, by Michael Eric Dyson,”New York Times Sunday Book Review, Feb. 7, 2016, BR20.

“Franklin Roosevelt: A Candidate of Questionable Constitution,” Talking Points Memo, “Primary Source,” October 14, 2015.

“How Did African Americans Discover They Were Being ‘Redlined’?” Talking Points Memo, “Primary Source,” August 9, 2015.

“Skin Trouble,” Talking Points Memo, “Primary Source,” July 6, 2015.

“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.


America’s Complex History With Tobacco, From ‘Malboro Man’ to E-Cigarettes,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Jul. 11, 2019.

How Today’s Tech Giants Compare to Industrial Monopolies of Old,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Jun. 14, 2019.

Abortion in America: A Look Back at History as States Move to Pass Restriction,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, May 30, 2019.

As Trump and Congress Face Off, Looking at the History of Constitutional Crises,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, May 16, 2019.

From Reconstruction to WWII, How the U.S. Census Has Been Used for Both Good and Bad,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Apr. 19, 2019

After Purdue Pharma Settlement, A Look Back at the History of Class Action Lawsuits,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Apr. 5, 2019.

What is Socialism: A History of the Word Used as a Scare Tactics in American Politics,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Mar. 7, 2019.

How Does Nancy Pelosi Compare to Past Speakers of the House?” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Jan. 24, 2019.

The History of Holiday Traditions, From Santa Claus to Gift-Giving,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Dec. 20, 2018.

How Presidents’ Legacies are Evaluated and Evolve after Their Deaths,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Dec. 6, 2018.

A Look Back at Other Periods When America Has Been Divided,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Nov. 9, 2018.

Climate Has Changed Many Times Before. Here’s How Human’s Handled It,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Oct. 19, 2018.

Fraught Relationships between U.S. and U.N. Dates Back Decades,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Sept. 25, 2018.

As Students Return to the Classroom, How Has School in America Changed,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Sept. 12, 2018.

National Prison Strike Highlights Historical Ties Between Labor and Incarceration,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Aug. 30, 2018.

Climate Change Debate and Denial Dates Back Further Than You Might Think,” Here and Now, WBUR 90.9, Aug. 16, 2018.

History as Story, For Better or Worse,” with Dale Keiger, Johns Hopkins Magazine, Summer 2018.

Inequality is Social Policy,” Academics in Cars #8, with Jared Ball, IMIXWHATILIKE.org, Jun. 2, 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.

The Black Panther: Academic and Visceral Readings,” The Marc Steiner Show, Feb. 22, 2018, Part 2, Mar. 8, 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.

“Nose to the Grindstone: A History of American Work Ethic,” Backstory, with the American History Guys, National Public Radio/Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Sept. 1, 2016.

“Well-Regulated Militias: A History of Armed Resistance,” Guest Co-host, Backstory, with the American History Guys, National Public Radio/Virginia Foundation for the Humanities, Mar. 11, 2016.

“Woodrow Wilson’s Legacy Gets Complicated,” by Jennifer Schuessler, New York Times, Nov. 29, 2015.

“Why the Freddie Gray Riots Began at Mondawmin Shopping Mall,” by Paul Solmon, Making Sen$e, PBS.org, May 29, 2015.

“We Need Our Stories,” Humanities Connection, 88.1 FM WYPR, Baltimore, MD, May 21, 2015.

“How Does Baltimore’s Economy Recover After the Riots,” PBS NewsHour, May 7, 2015.

“Where Does Baltimore Go From Here?” The Marc Steiner Show, 88.9 FM WEAA, Baltimore, MD, May 5, 2015.

“Black Women Front and Center of Power in Baltimore’s Aftermath,” by Amanda Sakuma, MSNBC.com, May 5, 2015.

“A Column by Johns Hopkins Historian N. D. B. Connolly Causes a Firestorm on the Website of New York Times,” History News Network, May 4, 2015.

“Political Education Beats Technology,” The New York Times, Dec. 15, 2014.

“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