Andrew W. Kahrl

Andrew W. Kahrl is Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of Virginia. He specializes in the history of race and inequality in housing, real estate, and local tax policy and administration in the US. He has also researched and written on the social and environmental history of beaches, outdoor recreation, land use and development in the coastal US. Kahrl is the author of the books The Black Tax: 150 Years of Theft, Exploitation, and Dispossession in America (2024), Free the Beaches: The Story of Ned Coll and the Battle for America’s Most Exclusive Shoreline (2018), and The Land Was Ours: How Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South (2013), and he has written numerous articles, essays, and opinion pieces for academic and popular publications, including the New York Times, Washington Post, and The Guardian


NEW IN 2024: The Black Tax: 150 Years of Theft, Exploitation, and Dispossession in America (University of Chicago Press)

OAH Lectures by Andrew W. Kahrl

Based on his 2024 book, Kahrl tells the long history of African Americans as local taxpayers, and African American history through the lens of local tax systems. It focuses on three related and unresolved problems - the over-taxation of Black homes and neighborhoods, the maldistribution of the local public goods and services, and the exploitation of tax delinquency laws - and shows how they have fueled racial inequality and undermined Black struggles to build wealth from Reconstruction to the present.


More Distinguished Lectureship Program Resources