OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Thomas J. Sugrue

Portrait of Thomas J. Sugrue

Thomas J. Sugrue is a professor of history and social and cultural analysis at New York University, where he joined the faculty in 2015 after 24 years at the University of Pennsylvania. A specialist in twentieth-century American politics, urban history, civil rights, and race, Sugrue is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and a past president of the Urban History Association and the Social Science History Association. His most recent publications include These United States: The Making of a Nation, 1890 to the Present, with Glenda Gilmore (2015); Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race (2012); Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North (2008); and The New Suburban History (2006) with Kevin Kruse. His first book, The Origins of the Urban Crisis (1996), won numerous awards and was recently selected and reissued by publisher Princeton University Press as one of its "100 Most Influential Books" of the past one hundred years. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, his essays and reviews have appeared in the New York Times, London Review of Books, the Nation, Wall Street Journal, the Atlantic, Washington Monthly, Dissent, Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Detroit Free Press, the Hollywood Reporter, and Philadelphia Inquirer. Sugrue is currently engaged in a research project on race, ethnicity, and citizenship in France and the United States. His long-term research project is a history of the rise and travails of the modern American real estate industry from the late nineteenth century to the current economic crisis.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Sugrue recounts the mostly forgotten but immensely important civil rights struggle in the North. Our histories of racial inequality focus mostly on places like Birmingham, Selma, and Montgomery, leaving out the northern cities, suburbs, and small towns that were crucial battlegrounds in the fight for racial equality. In his sweeping tour of the North, Sugrue recovers a lost history of northern Jim Crow and discrimination, and recovers the histories of important civil rights activists from Minnesota to Massachusetts from Chicago to New York City, who mounted creative challenges to America's unresolved racial crises.