Eric Arnesen

Eric Arnesen

Eric Arnesen


20th-century U.S., Race, Labor


Email: Eric Arnesen
Office Phone: (202) 994-1053
801 22nd St NW Washington DC 20052

Eric Arnesen, the Teamsters Professor of History in the Columbian College of Arts and Sciences at The George Washington University, is a specialist in the history of race, labor, politics, and civil rights.  Among his books are Brotherhoods of Color: Black Railroad Workers and the Struggle for Equality (2001), which received the 2001 Wesley-Logan Prize in Diaspora History from the AHA and the ASAALH, and Waterfront Workers of New Orleans: Race, Class, and Politics, 1863-1923 (1991), which won the AHA’s John H. Dunning Prize.  He is also the author of Black Protest and the Great Migration: A Brief History with Documents, editor of the 3-volume Encyclopedia of U.S. Labor and Working Class History (2006), The Black Worker: Race, Labor, and Civil Rights since Emancipation (2007), and The Human Tradition in American Labor History (2002), and co-editor of Labor Histories: Class, Politics, and the Working-Class Experience (1998).  His scholarly articles have appeared in the American Historical Review, Labor: Studies in Working-Class History, American Communist History, Labor History, Labor’s Heritage, and the International Review of Social History; he was a regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune and his reviews and review essays have appeared in the New Republic, the Nation, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe, and Dissent.  

A recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, and Harvard's Charles Warren Center, he held the Distinguished Fulbright Chair at Uppsala University in Sweden.  He is currently co-chair of the Washington History Seminar at the Wilson Center, the director of the American Historical Association's National History Center, and a deputy academic director of the Albert H. Small Normandy Institute at GW.  He is completing a biography of the civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph.     


James R. Hoffa Teamsters Professor of Modern American Labor

  • Modern United States
  • African American History
  • Labor History
  • Communism and Anticommunism

HIST 1311: Introduction to American History, 1876 to Present

HIST 3321: Contemporary U.S. History since 1945

Brotherhoods of Color: Black Railroad Workers and the Struggle for Equality. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2001.

  • Winner, Wesley-Logan Prize in Diaspora History, American Historical Association and the Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, 2001.
  • Distinguished Honors, Robert F. Kennedy Book Award of the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Foundation, 2002.
  • Finalist, Sidney Hillman Book Award, 2002.

Waterfront Workers of New Orleans: Race, Class, and Politics, 1863-1923. Oxford University Press, 1991; University of Illinois Press, 1994 paperback edition.

  • Winner, John H. Dunning Prize, American Historical Association, 1991.

Editor, The Black Worker: Race, Labor, and Civil Rights since Emancipation. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2007.

Black Protest and the Great Migration: A Brief History with Documents. Bedford Series in History & Culture, Bedford/St. Martin’s Press, 2002.

“A. Philip Randolph, Emerging Socialist Radical.” In Reframing Randolph: Debating A. PhilipRandolph’s Legacies to Labor and Black Freedom, edited by Andrew Kersten and Clarence Lang. New York University Press, 2014.

“The Traditions of African-American Anticommunism.” Twentieth Century Communism Issue 6 (2014): 124-148

“Civil Rights and the Cold War At Home: Post-War Activism, Anticommunism, and the Decline of the Left” and “The Final Conflict?: On the Scholarship of Civil Rights, the Left and the Cold War.” American Communist History 11, no. 2 (Spring 2012): 5-44, 63-80

“No ‘Graver Danger’: Black Anticommunism, the Communist Party, and the Race Question.” Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 3, no. 4 (Winter 2006): 13-52.

“Passion and Politics: Race and the Writing of Working-Class History.” The Journal of the Historical Society 6, no. 3 (Fall 2006): 323-56.

“Whiteness and the Historians’ Imagination.” International Labor and Working-Class History 60 (Fall 2001): 3-32.

Ph.D., Yale University, 1986