OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Beryl E. Satter

Portrait of Beryl E. Satter

Beryl E. Satter is a professor of history at Rutgers University–Newark, where she has taught since 1992. She specializes in urban history and U.S. women's history. Her first book, Each Mind a Kingdom: American Women, Sexual Purity, and the New Thought Movement, 1875–1920 (1999), explores relationships among late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century women's rights activism, alternative religion, and Progressive Era beliefs about gender, race, sexuality, and political morality. Her Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America (2009), about real estate exploitation in mid-twentieth-century Chicago, won the OAH Liberty Legacy Award and the Jewish Book Council's National Jewish Book Award in History. It was also a finalist for the J. Anthony Lukas Book Prize and the Ridenhouer Book Prize, and was selected as one of the top ten books of the year by the New York Times and the Washington Post. Satter is also a cofounder of the Queer Newark Oral History Project and has received awards for her work on behalf of LGBT youth. She has written scholarly articles on topics ranging from black police officers' struggles against police brutality to the role of therapeutic practices in the New Left. She has won awards from her university for teaching, scholarship, and contributions to the academic community. She has been interviewed by numerous journalists about housing discrimination and police brutality. Ta-Nehisi Coates drew upon her work on contract selling in Chicago for his award-winning article, "The Case for Reparations," in the Atlantic (June 2014). In 2015, she won a Guggenheim fellowship, and in 2016, she won an Andrew Carnegie fellowship. Both fellowships support her new book project, an analysis of racism and capitalism in the late-twentieth-century United States via the story of a pioneering community development bank called ShoreBank.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Drawing from her book, "Family Properties", Satter describes the history of predatory real estate practices that drained wealth from black Chicago, and many similar black communities across the urban north. It also describes her father's activism against the bank redlining of African American communities, and the effects of that activism on her family.
This lecture describes the activism of Chicago's Afro-American Patrolmen's League, a group of black police officers who came together in the late 1960s to fight police brutality. It also discusses the pioneering television "Soul Drama," "Bird of the Iron Feather," which centered on a black police officer and drew upon consultants from the AAPL in order to explore the realities of black urban life in the Black Power era.
A lecture on Satter's work-in-progress on the history of ShoreBank, a pioneering community development bank, in the context of changing understandings of racism and capitalism in the post-1973 financial world.
This lecture centers on the Afro-American Patrolmen's League, with a focus on white riots against black homeowners in the 1940s-50s.
An overview the emergence of U.S. women's movements emphasizing the importance of contradictory effects of capitalism and democracy and building upon Estelle Freedman's insight in her book "No Turning Back".