James N. Gregory

Williams Family Endowed Professor of History

affiliate Center for
Labor Studies
University of Washington, Seattle


312 Smith Hall, University of Washington, Seattle, WA 98195
gregoryj@u.washington.edu,  206-543-7792

Education:  Ph.D. University of California, Berkeley, 1983
                    B.A. University of California, Santa Barbara, 1975



The Southern Diaspora: How The Great Migrations of Black and White Southerners Transformed America  (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2005)

American Exodus: The Dust Bowl Migration and Okie Culture in California. (New York: Oxford University Press, 1989) Winner of the 1991 Ray Allen Billington Prize from the Organization of American Historians; winner of  the 1990 Annual Book Award from the Pacific Coast Branch of the American Historical Association

edited: Upton Sinclair. I, Candidate for Governor, and How I Got Licked. Introduction by James N. Gregory (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1994)

Recent Articles:

"The Southern Diaspora: 20th Century America’s Great Migration/s, ” in Repositioning North American Migration History:  New Directions in Modern Continental Migration and Citizenship , ed. Marc S. Rodriguez (Rochester: University of Rochester, 2004), 57-90

"The West and the Workers, 1870-1930" in A Companion to the American West, ed. William Deverell (Malden, MA: Blackwell Publishing, 2004), 240-55

"The Dust Bowl Migration," in Poverty in the United States: An Encyclopedia of History, Politics, and Policy, eds. Gwendolyn Mink and Alice O'Connor (Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-Clio, 2004)

"Upton Sinclair," California Journal 30:11(November 1999), 45-46

"The Great Depression" in National Geographic Society, National Geographic Eyewitness to the 20th Century (Washington DC: The National Geographic Society, 1998), 122-131.

"Southernizing the American Working Class: Post War Episodes of Regional and Class Transformation," Labor History 39 (May 1998). A Labor History Forum article with comments by Thomas Sugrue, Grace Elizabeth Hale, and Alex Lichtenstein, and response by author

"Slouching Through the Great Depression: Kevin Starr and the California Dream Series." Reviews in American History (June 1997): 306-311.

"The Shaping of California History" in Major Problems in California History, Sucheng Chan and Spencer C. Olin, editors (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Company, 1997) 15-27

"The Southern Diaspora and the Urban Dispossessed: Demonstrating the Census Public Use Microdata Samples." Journal of American History 82 (June 1995).

"Okies and the Politics of Plain-Folk Americanism" in Working People of California, Daniel Cornford, editor (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1995). 116-158

Work in Progress

Book: Upton Sinclair and the Twilight of American Socialism

Anthology: The Moving Americans: Interdisciplinary Conversations on Internal Migration. A conference and volume to be co-edited with Stewart Tolnay and Mark Ellis.

Civil Rights and Labor History Projects

Directed by James Gregory, these online oral history and research projects explore the labor and civil rights history of the Pacific Northwest region. The five projects bring together more than 70 oral history interviews and over 1,000 photographs, documents, and digitized newspaper articles. They also feature more than 100 research reports written by undergraduate and graduate students who have participated in classes linked to the projects. The civil rights and labor history projects have been profiled in the Chronicle of Higher Education (5/24/02) and rated among the 250 most important online U.S. history resources by the authors of History Matters: A Student Guide to U.S. History Online. They have been quoted in major newspapers and scholarly studies and they are currently used in numerous history and social studies classes at the college and k-12 level. They have been visited by more than 400,000 online users

Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project
This online multimedia project explores the history of movements for racial and economic justice in Seattle and western Washington state. The civil rights movement in Seattle started well before the celebrated struggles in the South in the 1950s and 1960s and the Seattle movement relied not just on African American activists but also Filipino Americans, Japanese Americans, Chinese Americans, Latinos, Native Americans, and some elements of the region's labor movement. This online resource features more than 50 interviews with former activists as well as hundreds of photographs, documents, and research reports.

Communism in Washington State - History and Memory Project
Communism made a larger impact on Washington than almost any other state. "There are forty-seven states in the Union, and the Soviet of Washington," Postmaster General James Farley  joked in 1936.  The remark, for all its exaggeration, had some foundation. This online project explores the controversial  history of the Communist Party in the Pacific Northwest from 1919 to the present. It features streaming video interviews with Party members, hundreds of newspaper articles and photographs, and a detailed history of the CP in Washington State.

Seattle General Strike Project
The Seattle General Strike of 1919 was the first city-wide strike anywhere in the United States to be proclaimed a "general strike." This online multi-media project explores the strike and the early 20th century history of labor and radicalism in the state of Washington. It features rare film footage, dozens of research essays, photographs, and documents.

Seattle Black Panther Party - History and Memory Project
The Black Panther Party for Self Defense established its Seattle chapter in the spring of 1968. It was one of the first to be created outside of California. This project explores the history of the Seattle Chapter. Included are video oral history interviews with 13 former members, a detailed account of the party's early history, more than 100 photographs, documents, and  BPP publications, digitized newspaper articles from 1968-1978, and a copy of the transcripts and exhibits from 1970 Congressional i hearings into the activities of the chapter. 

The Labor Press Project
Labor media has been a critical part of American labor movements since the early 19th century and an equally critical part of the history of American journalism. This online project brings together information about the history and ongoing influence of newspapers and periodicals published by unions, labor councils, and radical organizations in the Pacific Northwest.

Course offerings

HSTAA 498 Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project (Fall 2005)
HSTAA 105 The Peoples of the United States (Winter 2006)
HSTAA 353 Class and Labor in American History (Spring 2006)
HSTAA 522 American History: Writings and Interpretations since 1877
       (Spring 2005)
HSTAA 303 Modern American Civilization from 1877
HSTAA 531 Class, Cultures, and Political Economy

Television/Radio appearances and interviews

ABC News 20/20:   September 23, 2005
“Lessons from the Dust Bowl for Hurricane Survivors”

Marketplace (American Public Radio):  September 12, 2005
“When an evacuee becomes a transplant”

Odyssey (Chicago Public Radio) September 29, 2005
"Internal Migration in the U.S."

The Infinite Mind (National Public Radio):  September 14, 2005
“The Road to Recovery”

The First Measured Century--James Gregory interview (PBS broadcast The First Measure Century December 2000. The interview covers issues of migration during the 20th century, especially the Dust Bowl Migration and World War II internal migrations.)


Seattle Civil Rights and Labor History Project


Communism in Washington State
History and Memory Project


Seattle General Strike Project


Seattle Black Panther Party
History and Memory Project


Labor Press Project

Recommended U.S. History web sites