Jerrad P. Pacatte is a doctoral candidate and School of Arts and Sciences Excellence Fellow in the Department of History at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey-New Brunswick. Interested broadly in the everyday experiences of African and African Americans in early America and the wider Atlantic World, Jerrad’s dissertation research adds to a growing body of literature in the field of slavery and emancipation studies which, until recently, has overwhelmingly concentrated on the antebellum American South and Afro-Caribbean. Repeatedly written off in the history of American slavery as socially and economically marginal to the growth of the British colonies and fledgling American Republic, Jerrad’s research revisits the evolution, expansion, and gradual death of slavery in eighteenth and early-nineteenth century New England. While the subject of New England slavery has received renewed interest in recent years, few, if any, of these studies have dealt seriously with the unique experiences and struggles bourne by African and African American women to become - and more importantly, to remain - free in the decades before and after the American Revolution. Written under the supervision of prize-winning historian Dr. Erica Armstrong Dunbar, Jerrad’s dissertation seeks to gender the history of slavery, the African American Revolution, and the process of emancipation in pre-Civil War New England from a regional perspective.
Jerrad has received a number of competitive research fellowships and grants to support his research on African and African American women in early New England history. In the 2020-2021 academic year, he was named a New England Regional Fellowship Consortium (NERFC) research fellow and received grants to conduct research at several historical societies and libraries located throughout New England. He was also the recipient of a Kate B. and Hall J. Peterson Research Fellowship from the American Antiquarian Society.
In addition to his scholarly research, Jerrad is deeply interested in public history and the public humanities. In 2018, he collaborated with Dr. Kristin O’Brassill-Kulfan, her team of public history undergraduate students, and graduate students in the Departments of History and Sociology on the Climates of Inequality: Stories of Environmental Justice Humanities Action Lab (HAL) traveling exhibit and digital platform. In his role, Jerrad conducted historical research on the environmental inequalities and workplace hazards facing migrant workers, minority groups, and other vulnerable communities in central New Jersey over the last two centuries in an effort to bridge the gap between past and present struggles for environmental and climate justice in the Garden State. Jerrad is also a regular contributor to the New Books in African American Studies podcast, a channel on the New Books Network. As a podcast host, Jerrad sits down with leading scholars in African American Studies to discuss their recently published monographs and to learn more about their scholarly writing and research. Currently, he is assisting the Rhode Island Historical Society and Providence College with their ongoing EnCompass: A Digital Archive of Rhode Island History digital history project. A public humanities initiative providing teachers and students grades K-12 with primary and secondary source materials on the history of Rhode Island, his work on the project will zero in on the history of slavery and the Ocean State’s active role in the Atlantic slave trade.
Prior to attending Rutgers, Jerrad completed his Bachelor’s of Science degree in History with highest academic honors from the State University of New York at Oneonta in May 2016. At Oneonta, Jerrad served as an editorial assistant for the New York Quarterly history journal and completed an honors senior thesis supported by the State University of New York Research Foundation. His work has been published in the New York Quarterly history journal and Scarlet and Black Volume II: Constructing Race and Gender at Rutgers, 1865-1945 (New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2020).