Entitled “Citizens and Strangers: The Politics of Race in Missouri from Slavery to the Era of Jim Crow,” John’s dissertation examines the ways in which the state’s culture of white supremacy affected the political calculus of white Missourians and the ability of black men and women to use formal political institutions to advance their individual and collective interests between (roughly) 1860 and 1920. It argues that African Americans’ ability to transform formal political participation into effective political empowerment during the first half century after enfranchisement was determined more by where and how they intersected with local and statewide partisan politics than by white racism or their numbers alone. In particular, John’s dissertation emphasizes the importance of industrialization, class conflict, and black urbanization in destabilizing wartime partisan coalitions in the Border South and creating space for limited alliances across the color-line that prevented white Democrats from uniting around a policy of statewide, legal black disfranchisement at the turn of the century.
This fall, John will join the faculty at the University of Maryland in College Park as a faculty research associate and assistant editor with the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. Founded in 1976, the project has produced five volumes of edited documents detailing the transition from slavery to freedom in the United States between 1861 and 1867. As an assistant editor, John will participate in the creation of the sixth installment in the series, Violence, Law, and Justice. His work will involve everything from proofreading, document transcription, checking annotations, indexing, and coauthoring the introduction. In his spare time—if he has any—he also hopes to teach classes in U.S. and African-American history.
At UAH, John was president and vice-president of Phi Alpha Theta, a recipient of the John Hendricks scholarship and the Colonial Dames Essay Award, and a proud member of the Society for Ancient Languages.
Congratulations John! Go Hawkeyes!