Author Archives: James Grossman

About James Grossman

Jim Grossman is Executive Director of the American Historical Association and a member of the History Department faculty at the University of Chicago. From 1997-2010, he was Vice President for Research and Education at the Newberry Library. He received his Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley, and has taught at the University of Chicago and the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration (Univ. of Chicago Press, 1989) and A Chance to Make Good: African-Americans, 1900-1929 (Oxford Univ. Press, 1997). He was project director and coeditor of The Encyclopedia of Chicago (Univ. of Chicago Press, 2005; and online in 2006). Grossman also was the editor of The Frontier in American Culture (Univ. of California Press, 1994) and continues as coeditor of the series "Historical Studies of Urban America" (Univ. of Chicago Press, 36 vols., 1992- ). His articles and short essays have focused on various aspects of American urban history, African American history, American ethnicity, higher education, and the place of history in public culture. His book reviews have appeared in the Chicago Tribune and New York Newsday in addition to various academic journals.

Land of Hope received awards from the Gustavus Myers Center for Human Rights and the Illinois State Historical Society. A Chance to Make Good won awards from the New York Public Library and the National Council for the Social Studies. The Encyclopedia of Chicago won awards from the Scholarly Publishers Division of the Association of American Publishers and the Illinois State Historical Society. Grossman was chosen in 2005 as one of seven "Chicagoans of the Year" by Chicago Magazine. Grossman’s consulting experience includes a broad variety of history-related projects generated by the BBC, Smithsonian, and various theater companies, film makers, museums, and libraries.

Professional service has included elected offices in the American Historical Association, ethics committees for the AHA and the Organization of American Historians, and Advisory Boards for the Center for New Deal Studies at Roosevelt University, Illinois Historical Society, City of Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs, and Chicago Public Library. He co-chaired the Program Committee for the Annual Meeting of the Organization of American Historians in 2005. Grossman currently serves on the boards of the Center for Research Libraries, National Humanities Alliance, National History Center, Vivian G. Harsh Society, and the Coalition of Social Science Associations.

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AHA Executive Director Comments on University of Chicago Faculty Letter and Academic Freedom

In late August the dean of students at the University of Chicago, John Ellison, stirred up a hornets’ nest with a letter to incoming students that specifically denounced “so-called ‘trigger warnings’” and “intellectual ‘safe spaces’” as antithetical to the university’s commitment to freedom of expression. The letter followed up on issues addressed in the university’s widely praised 2015 report on freedom of expression. Its tone, however, is very different from that report, and many observers argue that so is its perspective.

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AHA Guidelines Crucial to Response to Controversial Textbook

AHA Teaching Division Councilor Trinidad Gonzales (South Texas Coll.) and AHA member Emilio Zamora (Univ. of Texas, Austin) are part of a committee that has released a report citing numerous factual inaccuracies and generally poor historical work in a textbook proposed to meet Texas’s Mexican American Studies standard in high schools. 

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Action Needed for K-12 Education Funding

The federal “Teaching American History” (TAH) program provided thousands of public school teachers access to high quality professional development. Congress ceased funding TAH five years ago, and we now have an opportunity to secure new resources.