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Victoria W. Wolcott

Chair of the Department of History 
office: 560 Park Hall


Ph.D. University of Michigan, 1995
B.A.  New York University, 1989, magna cum laude

Courses Regularly Taught

HIS 162:  U.S. History II
HIS 379: African American History
HIS 306:  The City in American History
HIS 306:  Civil Rights in America
HIS 419: Race and the American City
HIS 459: American Utopias
HIS 503:  American History Core II
HIS 550:  The Long Civil Rights Movement


US, African American History, Gender/Sexuality, Social/Cultural History, Urban History,

Current Research

My current research examines the emergence of experimental interracial communities in mid-twentieth century America. These “interracial utopias” ranged from transient radical pacifist communities in cities like Chicago and Washington, D.C., to rural communes that combined Christian pacifism with a commitment to racial equality. I am also researching the life of an African American pacifist and civil rights activist, Eroseanna Robinson

Selected PublicationsRace, Riots, and Roller Coasters

Race, Riots, and Roller Coasters: The Struggle Over Segregated Recreation in America (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2012)

Remaking Respectability: African-American Women in Interwar Detroit (Chapel Hill:  University of North Carolina Press, 2001)

“Recreation and Race in the Postwar City: Buffalo’s 1956 Crystal Beach Riot,” Journal of American History (June 2006): 63-90.

“The Culture of the Informal Economy:  Numbers Runners in Inter-War Black Detroit,” The Radical History Review (Fall 1997): 46-75.

“‘Bible, Bath, and Broom’:  Nannie Helen Burroughs, the National Training School, and the Uplift of the Race,” Journal of Women’s History (Spring 1997): 88-110.

“Mediums, Messages, and Lucky Numbers:  African-American Female Spiritualists and Numbers Runners in Inter-War Detroit,” in The Geography of Identity, edited by Patricia Yeager (Ann Arbor:  University of Michigan Press, 1996), 273-306.


  • Distinguished Lecturer, Organization of American Historians, 2014-present
  • Susan B. Anthony Institute Research Grant, University of Rochester, Spring 2010
  • Abraham J. Karp Award for Excellence in Teaching, University of Rochester, Spring 2005
  • Beveridge Grant, American Historical Association, 2002
  • Lerner-Scott Dissertation Prize of the Organization of American Historians, 1997