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Faculty Photo
Photo Credit: Nick Romanenko
Front row: (L-R) Nancy Sinkoff, Paul Hanebrink, James Delbourgo, Rudy Bell, Paul Israel, Paul G. E. Clemens
2nd: Judith Surkis, Matt Matsuda, Carolyn Brown, Johanna Schoen, Walter Rucker, Marisa Fuentes, Bayo Holsey, Samantha Kelly, Toby C. Jones
3rd: Jackson Lears, Seth Koven, Gail Triner, Ann Fabian, Barbara M. Cooper, Temma Kaplan, Melissa Feinberg
Last: Louis Masur, Jamie Pietruska, Mark Wasserman, David Greenberg, Alastair Bellany, Steven Reinert, Deborah Gray White, Norman Markowitz, John W. Chambers, Virginia Yans, Leah DeVun, Camilla Townsend, Sarolta Takacs, Don Roden


Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Charles and Mary Beard Professor of History

Ph.D., Columbia University

M.A., Columbia University

B.A., University of Pennsylvania

At Rutgers since 2017

303A Van Dyck Hall
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I am a late eighteenth and early nineteenth-century scholar with a specialization in African American women’s history. I have interests in urban slavery, emancipation studies, and the intersection of race and gender in American history. My focus on early African American history serves as a natural bridge to my directorship of the Program in African American History at the Library Company of Philadelphia.


African American History to 1865

African American Women’s History

American Slavery



  • The Politics of History: A New Generation of American Historians Writes Back. Co-authored with, Jim Downs, Timothy Patrick McCarthy, and T.K. Hunter. (In progress)
  • Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge. (Atria/37 Ink, February 2017)
  • A Fragile Freedom: African American Women and Emancipation in the Antebellum City. (Yale University Press, 2008)

Selected Articles/Essays

  • “Ringing the Freedom Bell” The Nation (November 2016)
  • Daina Ramey Berry and Erica Armstrong Dunbar, “The Unbroken Chain of Enslaved African Resistance and Rebellion.” In The Birth of a Nation: Nat Turner and the Making of a Movement, edited by N. Parker, 35-61. New York: Atria/Simon and Schuster, September 2016.
  • “[“]I knew that if I went back to Virginia, I should never get my liberty.” Ona Judge Staines: The President’s Runaway Slave.” In Women in Early America, 225-245, edited by Tom Foster. New York: NYU Press, 2015.
  • Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography, guest co-editor of special issue on the 150th anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation. (January 2013)
  • Freedom Bound: The Sesquicentennial of the Emancipation Proclamation – with Readex, a division of Newsbank. Volume 7 Issue 3 (October 2012)
  • “African-American Women and Indentured Servitude.” In The Oxford Encyclopedia of Women in World History, edited by Bonnie G. Smith. New York: Oxford University Press, 2008.
  • “Writing for True Womanhood: African American Women's Writings and the Anti-Slavery Struggle. In Women’s Rights and Transatlantic Antislavery in the Era of Emancipation, edited by Kathryn Kish Sklar and James Brewer Stewart, 299-318. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007
  • “A Mental and Moral Feast:” Reading, Writing, and Sentimentality in Black Philadelphia” in The Journal of Women’s History (Spring 2004)


  • “Melania Trump’s Reluctance Matches a FLOTUS Before Her” TIME.COM (January 2017)
  • “George Washington, Slave Catcher” The New York Times (February 2015)
  • “Echoes of Slavery Era in Reaction to Ferguson” Philadelphia Inquirer (December 4, 2014)

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