Carnegie Mellon University

Joe Trotter

Joe William Trotter Jr.

Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice and Director, History

  • Baker Hall 246C
  • 412-268-2875
Department of History
Carnegie Mellon University
5000 Forbes Avenue
Pittsburgh, PA 15213


Joe William Trotter, Jr. is the Giant Eagle Professor of History and Social Justice and past History Department Chair at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He is also the Director and Founder of Carnegie Mellon’s Center for Africanamerican Urban Studies and the Economy (CAUSE), President Elect of the Urban History Association and a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. His latest publication is Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America (University of California Press, 2019).  Professor Trotter received his BA degree from Carthage College in Kenosha, Wisconsin and his M.A. and Ph.D. degrees from the University of Minnesota. He is currently working on a study of African American urban life since the Atlantic slave trade.

Dr. Trotter teaches graduate and undergraduate courses in African American and U. S. urban, labor, and working class history. He has delivered scholarly papers and lectures in a variety of professional forums in the United States and abroad, including institutions of higher education in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Russia, the Netherlands, and the Middle East. He has served on the boards and committees of numerous professional organizations: Executive Council, OAH; Chair, Nominating Committee, OAH; OAH Program Committee; Executive Council, SHA; Program Committee, SHA; Francis B. Simkins Prize Committee, SHA; Immigration History Society Executive Board; Jameson Fellowship Committee, AHA; Program Committee, Oral History Association; chair of the annual Program Committee of the American Historical Association. He has also served as a member and Vice President of the Board of Trustees of the H. John Heinz III Regional History Center, a Smithsonian Affiliate, and past President of the Labor and Working Class History Association.


Workers on Arrival: Black Labor in the Making of America (University of California Press, 2019).

The Ghetto in Global History: 1500 to the Present (edited with Wendy Z. Goldman), (Routledge, 2017).

“African American Urban Electoral Politics in the Age of Jim Crow,” Journal of Urban History (special issue, edited with historian Lisa Materson, in-press, 2017).
“The Dynamics of Race and Ethnicity in the U.S. Coal Industry from the Civil War through Recent Times,” International Journal of Social History, 15 September 2015, online and in print.
Teenie Harris Photographer: Image, Memory, History (with Cheryl Finley and Laurence Glasco, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2011). 
Race and Renaissance: African Americans in Pittsburgh Since World War II (with Jared N. Day, University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010).
African American Urban History Since World War II (edited with Kenneth Kusmer, University of Chicago Press, 2009). 
Black Milwaukee: The Making of an Industrial Proletariat, 1915-45 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1985, paperback edition, 1988, new edition, expanded, 2007).
The African American Urban Experience: From the Colonial Era to the Present (edited with Earl Lewis and Tera W. Hunter), (New York, NY: Palgrave Publishing Company, 2004).

Encyclopedia of the Great Depression, Vols. I and II (associate editor, Robert S. McElvaine, general editor), (New York, NY: Thomson/Gale, 2004).
The African American Experience, Vols. 1 and 2 (Boston, MA: Houghton Mifflin, 2001).
River Jordan:  African American Urban Life in the Ohio Valley (Lexington, KY: University Press of Kentucky, 1998).
African Americans in Pennsylvania: Shifting Historical Perspectives (with Eric L. Smith), (Harrisburg, PA and University Park, PA: PHMC and Penn State University Press, 1997).

Blacks in the Industrial Age: A Documentary History, 1915-1945 (edited with Earl Lewis), (Boston, MA: Northeastern University Press, 1996).

From a Raw Deal to a New Deal?: African Americans in Depression and War, 1929-1945, Vol. 8 (the Young Oxford History of African Americans, New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1995).

The Great Migration in Historical Perspective: New Dimensions of Race, Class, and Gender (Bloomington, IN: Indiana University Press, 1991).
Honoring Our Past: Proceedings of the First Three Conferences on West Virginia's Black History (with Ancella Bickley), (Charleston, WV: Appalachian Laboratory and the West Virginia Humanities Commission, 1991).
Coal, Class, and Color: Blacks in Southern West Virginia, 1915-32 (Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 1990).
African American Urban Life Since the Atlantic Slave Trade (in progress)
Work, Culture, and Power:  Blacks in the Urban Deep South, 1910-1940 (long-range project)