My first book, Racism in the Nation’s Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson's America (UNC Press 2013), examines federal employment as a lever and obstacle for racial equality and social mobility in the age of progressive politics. Spanning the period from Reconstruction to the 1920s, Racism in the Nation's Service reveals how the post-Civil War Republican patronage machine supported a growing black middle class in Washington, D.C., and how, in turn, racial discrimination in federal offices during the presidency of Woodrow Wilson implicated the United States government in the economic limitation of African Americans.
I am currently developing a new project that considers political and social perceptions of the Social Security Administration after World War II. I am interested in examining how the first generation of post-Depression recipients understood their encounter with the government program; what it meant to receive government assistance in an era of middle-class mobility; and how notions of employment, retirement, age, class, race were shaped by this interaction of state and society.
Kluge Fellowship, John W. Kluge Center, Library of Congress, 2010-2011
2011 James Madison Prize for the best article on the history of the federal government by the Society for History in the Federal Government.
Racism in the Nation’s Service: Government Workers and the Color Line in Woodrow Wilson's America. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2013.
“The (White) Search for (Black) Order: The Phelps-Stokes Fund’s First Twenty Years, 1911-1931,” The Historian 65, no. 2 (Winter 2002): 319-352.