Andrew W. Kahrl

Associate Professor


Field & Specialties

African American
20th Century US


Ph.D., Indiana University (2008)

B.A., Kenyon College (2001)

My research focuses on the social, economic, and environmental history of land use, real estate development, and racial inequality in the 20th century United States.  I teach courses on modern African American history, race and real estate, the civil rights movement, and the history of urban America.  I am the author of The Land Was Ours: How Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South (UNC Press), which was awarded the 2013 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians.  I have published articles in the Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, Journal of Southern History, Journal of Social History, Southern Cultures, and Critical Sociology.  My forthcoming book, Free the Beaches! How America's Shores Became a Battleground over Race and Rights in the 1970s (Yale University Press), will be published in spring 2018.  In addition to my work on the history of coastal America, I am conducting research on discriminatory property tax assessments, predatory tax lien speculation, and the struggles of African American property owners from Reconstruction to the present. 



The Land Was Ours: How Black Beaches Became White Wealth in the Coastal South




“Investing in Distress: Tax Delinquency and Predatory Tax Buying in Urban America,” Critical Sociology, 43 (March 2017), 199-219


“The Power to Destroy: Property Tax Discrimination in Civil Rights-Era Mississippi,” Journal of Southern History, 82 (Aug. 2016), 579-616


“Fear of an Open Beach: Public Rights and Private Interests in 1970s Coastal Connecticut,” Journal of American History, 102 (Sept. 2015), 433-62


“Capitalizing on the Urban Fiscal Crisis: Predatory Tax Buyers in 1970s Chicago,” Journal of Urban History (2015), DOI: 10.1177/0096144215586385


“The Sunbelt’s Sandy Foundation: Coastal Development and the Making of the Modern South,” Southern Cultures, 20 (Fall 2014), 24-42


“The ‘Negro Park’ Question: Land, Labor, and Leisure in Pitt County, North Carolina, 1920-1930,” Journal of Southern History, 79 (Feb. 2013), 113-42


“Sunbelt by the Sea: Governing Race and Nature in a Twentieth-Century Coastal Metropolis,” Journal of Urban History, 38 (May 2012), 488-508


“The Political Work of Leisure: Class, Recreation, and African American Commemoration at Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, 1881–1931,” Journal of Social History, 42 (Oct. 2008), 57-77


“‘The Slightest Semblance of Unruliness’: Steamboat Excursions, Pleasure Resorts, and the Emergence of Segregation Culture on the Potomac River, 1890–1920,” Journal of American History, 94 (March 2008), 1108-36


Essays in Edited Collections


“Numbers and New Negroes at the Beach: At Work and Play Outside the Black Metropolis,” in Escape from New York: The New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlemed. Davarian L. Baldwin and Minkah Makalani (University of Minnesota Press, 2013), pp. 335-60

Awards & Honors

2013 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award (Organization of American Historians) For best book on the civil rights struggle from the beginnings of the nation to the present


Charles A. Ryskamp Research Fellowship, American Council of Learned Societies


Sheila Biddle Ford Foundation Fellowship, W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research, Harvard University


Recent Doctoral Recipients Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies


Dissertation Completion Fellowship, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and American Council of Learned Societies


2007 Louis Pelzer Memorial Award (Organization of American Historians) For best essay by a candidate for a graduate degree on any topic or period in United States history

Courses Taught

African American History since 1865

From Redlined to Subprime: Race and Real Estate in the US

The History of the Civil Rights Movement

Race and Inequality in America (seminar)

The Black Metropolis: African Americans and the City (seminar)

Land and Power in America (seminar)

Corcoran Department of History
University of Virginia
Nau Hall - South Lawn
Charlottesville, VA 22904


(434) 924-7147
(434) 924-7891
M-F 8am to 4:30pm
Department Contacts