I am a historian whose work explores the relationship between race, gender and the forging of effective political solidarities in struggles for power within the urbanizing, segregating South. My first book, Schooling Jim Crow: the Fight for Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School and the Roots of Black Protest Politics (University Press of Virginia, 2014), traces the changes in black political consciousness that transformed a reactionary politics of respectability into a militant force for change during the fight for black public schools in Atlanta, Georgia.
My next book, tentatively entitled Lessons of the Fever: Disease, Development and Disfranchisement in the New South City, will explain how the language of disease and public health shaped the terms of political contestation in Gilded Age Jacksonville, Florida. Confronted with repeated epidemics of yellow fever, southern sanitarians linked the construction of the modern sanitary city to the disfranchisement of African Americans. Lessons will explain how the golden era of public health also became the years in which Jim Crow began its strange career.
My five years as an organizer for the Graduate Employees and Students Organization at Yale University introduced me to the labor movement. Since graduating, I have done consulting and research work for UNITE HERE as well as the National Labor College. At present, I am writing a history of sanitation workers for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters.
Finally, I facilitate the DC-Area African American Studies Works-in-Progress Seminar, which is open to any scholar working on historically-oriented scholarship relating to the experience of peoples of African descent in the diaspora or in Africa.
I live in Takoma Park, Maryland with my wife Lauren and my cat, Moses Schrödinger Heisenberg.