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Black New Jersey: 1664 to the Present Day (Hardcover)
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Winner of the 2019 Richard P. McCormick Prize from the New Jersey Historical Commission
Black New Jersey tells the rich and complex story of the African American community’s remarkable accomplishments and the colossal obstacles they faced along the way. Drawing from rare archives, historian Graham Russell Gao Hodges brings to life the courageous black men and women who fought for their freedom and eventually built a sturdy and substantial middle class. He explores how the state’s unique mix of religious, artistic, and cultural traditions have helped to produce such world-renowned figures as Paul Robeson, Cory Booker, and Queen Latifah, as well as a host of lesser-known but equally influential New Jersey natives.
About the Author
GRAHAM RUSSELL GAO HODGES is the George Dorland Langdon, Jr. Professor of History and Africana and Latin American studies at Colgate University in Hamilton, New York. He is the author or editor of sixteen books, including Slavery and Freedom in the Rural North: African Americans in Monmouth County, New Jersey, 1660-1870 and Root & Branch: African Americans in New York and East Jersey, 1613-1863.
"The leading historian of the Mid-Atlantic has written a sweeping, bold, and insightful history of Black New Jersey. It is a singular accomplishment."
— Craig Steven Wilder
"The history of black-white race relations in New Jersey is one of the best windows into the strange career of the Jim Crow North. Few historians are qualified to write that epic tale, punctuated by not only tragedy but also triumph and irony. But, Graham Hodges has mastered that awesome intellectual responsibility and scholarly challenge with both force and clarity. Indeed, Professor Hodges sets the gold standard in this historical narrative of the long struggle for racial equality in New Jersey. Bravo!"
— Komozi Woodard
"Black New Jersey is most interesting and full of important information long buried in primary sources. Graham Hodges brings New Jersey and its people to the fore as people in particular places and times yet within a national context. I appreciate the comprehensiveness of a book very well done."
— Nell Irvin Painter
"Summer Reading 2018: Understanding Black Life in NJ, from 1664 to Today"
— NJ Spotlight
— Newark Star-Ledger
"The breadth of topic and detail in this work are impressive. Recommended."
"The Academic Minute" interview with Graham Hodges and feature by David Hopper
— The Academic Minute
"The Black Ssholar who Gave Up Her Family to Earn Her Ph.D.," by Graham Russell Gao Hodges
— Zócalo Public Square
"A highly nuanced and sophisticated history of the black population in the state....This study is a tale of progress and accomplishments of New Jersey African Americans, but also of racial disparities which negatively affect the quality of life in New Jersey."
— New Jersey Studies
"An engaging read, especially for persons with interest in the history of the Garden State, and it is a fine exemplar of the state historical genre."
— Journal of American History
Interview with Graham Russell Gao Hodges on "New Books in Intellectual History"
— New Books Network: New Books in Intellectual History
"Hodges seamlessly transitions between events transpiring in communities across the state and how those events affected the lives of the Black residents locally. Moreover, the book strikes a balance between the strife and destitute conditions of many and the achievements of various prominent members of the community and the emergence of the Black middle class."
— Journal of African American History