Join Stephen Wesley on a Tour of Our New Books in Urban History

Hello and welcome back to Columbia’s UAA Virtual Book Exhibit. My name is Stephen Wesley, and I’m the American history editor here at Columbia. I’m pleased to share with you several new books we have in urban history.

First up is City of Workers, City of Struggle: How Labor Movements Changed New York, edited by Joshua B. Freeman. This book, which won the Best Book Prize from the International Labor Historians Association this year, tells the story of how working people have create and re-created the city of New York through their struggles. From the artisans and slaves in colonial New York all the way to twenty-first-century gig-economy workers, this book tells the story of New York’s labor history anew.

Next is Brain Magnet: Research Triangle Park and the Idea of the Idea Economy, by Alex Sayf Cummings. In the 1950s, politicians, businesspeople, and activists created a new form of state boosterism in North Carolina: launching an economy based around knowledge, research, and development.

Then there’s Marty Melosi’s magisterial three-hundred-year history of Staten Island’s Fresh Kills—once a landfill, then a repository for the carnage of 9/11, and now a park—and how it’s something of a metaphor for the relationship between New York City and Staten Island.

And in suburban history, we have Paige Glotzer’s How the Suburbs Were Segregated: Developers and the Business of Exclusionary Housing, 1890–1960, a prehistory of redlining that looks at the English financiers and American developers who created segregated suburban neighborhoods in Baltimore.

Here we have Race Capital?: Harlem as Setting and Symbol, edited by Andrew M. Fearnley and Daniel Matlin, which was just recently reviewed in the Journal of Urban Affairs. In this volume, contributors from a wide range of fields consider Harlem’s multifaceted legacy and its impact on urban culture in the United States and around the world.

Finally, the historians Ansley T. Erickson and Ernest Morrell’s edited volume Educating Harlem: A Century of Schooling and Resistance in a Black Community brings together a multidisciplinary group of scholars to provide a broad consideration of the history of schooling in perhaps the nation’s most iconic black neighborhood.

I’m proud to have published these excellent books, and thanks for stopping by the booth.


Enter our UAA 2020 drawing for a chance to win one of our giveaway titles. Although we encourage you to buy from your local bookstores, we are offering a 30 percent conference discount when you order from our website. Use coupon code UAA20 at checkout to save on our UAA books on display.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Post comment