OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

OAH Distinguished Lectureship program 40 years 1981-2021

Carl Suddler

Portrait of Carl Suddler

Carl Suddler is an assistant professor of history at Emory University. His publications, teaching, and public scholarship have placed him among a small number of African American scholars who study the intersections of Black life, crime, and sports since the late nineteenth century. Suddler’s first book, Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York (2019) is widely used in college and graduate classrooms across the country. He joined historians of the American carceral state who have produced a burgeoning wave of literature on criminalization, law enforcement, and imprisonment in America from the eras of slavery and settler colonialism to the modern age of mass incarceration and global counterinsurgency. In addition to his monograph, Suddler has published works that have appeared in the Journal of American History, Journal of African American History, American Studies Journal, Journal of Sports History; in 2020, he edited a special issue of The American Historian magazine that historically contextualized the global protests that occurred in the wake of the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and others; and in 2021, Suddler worked with Harvard University’s Global Sports Initiative to help professional athletes become more informed on how to maximize their platforms to contribute to social justice efforts across the globe. With his recent op-eds and articles in outlets such as the Washington Post, Bleacher Report, HuffPost, and Brookings Institute, Suddler has built a name for himself outside of the academy. His expertise is in high demand from scholarly communities and media outlets such as CNN, ABC News, Al Jazeera, Black News Channel, and NPR. 


Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Criminality and its relation to Black youth, for all its singularities, continues to resonate as a national concern; however, few are willing to accept the reality of their plight. “The Way I See It” is an overview of Suddler's book, Presumed Criminal, where he points to a critical shift in the carceral turn between the 1930s and 1960s when state responses to juvenile delinquency increasingly criminalized Black youths and tethered their lives to a justice system that became less rehabilitative and more punitive.