With its sweeping, inclusive view of American history, Created Equal emphasizes social history—including the lives and labors of women, immigrants, working people, and minorities in all regions of the country—while delivering the familiar chronology of political and economic history. By integrating the stories of a variety of groups and individuals into the historical narrative, Created Equal helps connect the nation’s past with the student’s present.
Created Equal explores an expanding notion of equality and American identity—one that encompasses the stories of diverse groups of people, territorial growth and expansion, the rise of the middle class, technological innovation and economic development, and engagement with other nations and peoples of the world.
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Jacqueline Jones was born in Christiana, Delaware, a small town of 400 people in the northern part of the state. The local public school was desegregated in 1955, when she was a third grader. That event, combined with the peculiar social etiquette of relations between blacks and whites in the town, sparked her interest in American history. She attended the University of Delaware in nearby Newark and went on to graduate study at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, where she received her Ph.D. in history. Her scholarly interests have evolved over time, focusing on American labor and women’s, African American, and southern history. She teaches American history at Brandeis University, where she is Harry S. Truman Professor. In 1999, she received a MacArthur Fellowship.
Dr. Jones is the author of several books, including Soldiers of Light and Love: Northern Teachers and Georgia Blacks (1980); Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and Family Since Slavery (1985), which won the Bancroft Prize and was a finalist for a Pulitzer Prize; The Dispossessed: America’s Underclasses Since the Civil War (1992); and American Work: Four Centuries of Black and White Labor (1998). In 2001, she published a memoir that recounts her childhood in Christiana: Creek Walking: Growing Up in Delaware in the 1950s. She recently completed a book titled Savannah’s Civil War, which spans the period 1854 to 1872 and chronicles the strenuous but largely thwarted efforts of black people in lowcountry Georgia to achieve economic opportunity and full citizenship rights during and after the Civil War.
Peter H. Wood was born in St. Louis (before the famous arch was built). He recalls seeing Jackie Robinson play against the Cardinals, visiting the courthouse where the Dred Scott case originated, and traveling up the Mississippi to Hannibal, birthplace of Mark Twain. Summer work on the northern Great Lakes aroused his interest in Native American cultures, past and present. He studied at Harvard (B.A., 1964; Ph.D., 1972) and at Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar (1964-1966). His pioneering book Black Majority (1974), concerning slavery in colonial South Carolina, won the Beveridge Prize of the American Historical Association. Since 1975, he has taught early American history and Native American history at Duke University. The topics of his articles range from the French explorer LaSalle to Gerald Ford’s pardon of Richard Nixon. He has written a short overview of early African Americans, entitled Strange New Land, and he has appeared in several related films on PBS. He has published two books about the famous American painter Winslow Homer and coedited Powhatan’s Mantle: Indians in the Colonial Southeast (revised, 2007). His demographic essay in that volume provided the first clear picture of population change in the eighteenth-century South.
Dr. Wood has served on the boards of the Highlander Center, Harvard University, Houston’s Rothko Chapel, and the Institute of Early American History and Culture in Williamsburg. He is married to colonial historian Elizabeth Fenn. His varied interests include archaeology, documentary film, and growing gourds. He keeps a baseball bat used by Ted Williams beside his desk.
Thomas (“Tim”) Borstelmann, the son of a university psychologist, grew up in North Carolina as the youngest child in a family deeply interested in history. His formal education came at Durham Academy, Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire, Stanford University (A.B., 1980), and Duke University (Ph.D., 1990). Informally, he was educated on the basketball courts of the South, the rocky shores of new England, the streets of Dublin, Ireland, the museums of Florence, Italy, and the high-country trails of the Sierra Nevada and the Rocky Mountains. He taught history at Cornell University from 1991 to 2003, when he moved to the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to become the first E. N. and Katherine Thompson Distinguished Professor of Modern World History. Since 1988 he has been married to Lynn Borstelmann, a nurse and hospital administrator, and his highest priority for almost two decades has been serving as the primary parent for their two sons. He is an avid cyclist, runner, swimmer, and skier.
Dr. Borstelmann’s first book, Apartheid’s Reluctant Uncle: The United States and Southern Africa in the Early Cold Ward (1993), won the Stuart L. Bernath Book Prize of the Society for Historians of Foreign Relations. His second book, The Cold War and the Color Line: American Race Relations in the Global Arena, appeared in 2001. At Cornell he won a major teaching award, the Robert and Helen Appel Fellowship. He is currently working on a book about the United States and the world in the 1970s.
Elaine Tyler May grew up in the shadow of Hollywood, performing in neighborhood circuses with her friends. Her passion for American history developed in college when she spent her junior year in Japan. The year was 1968. The Vietnam War was raging, along with turmoil at home. As an American in Asia, often called on to explain her nation’s actions, she yearned for a deeper understanding of America’s past and its place in the world. She returned home to study history at UCLA, where she earned her B.A., M.A., and Ph.D. She has taught at Princeton and Harvard Universities and since 1978 at the University of Minnesota, where she was recently named Regents professor. She has written four books examining the relationship between politics, public policy, and private life. Her widely acclaimed Homeward Bound: American Families in the Cold War Era was the first study to link the baby boom and suburbia to the politics of the Cold War. The Chronicle of Higher Education featured Barren in the Promis4ed Land: Childless Americans and the Pursuit of Happiness as a pioneering study of the history of reproduction. Lingua Franca named her coedited volume Here, there, and Everywhere: The Foreign Politics of American Popular Culture a “Breakthrough Book.”
Dr. May served as president of the American Studies Association in 1996 and as Distinguished Fulbright Professor of American History in Dublin, Ireland, in 1997. In 2007 she became president-elect of the Organization of American Historians. She is married to historian Lary May and has three children, who have inherited their parents’ passion for history.
Vicki L. Ruiz is a professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies and interim Dean for the School of Humanities at the university of California, Irvine. For her, history remains a grand adventure, one that she began at the kitchen table, listening to the stories of her mother and grandmother, and continued with the help of the local bookmobile. She read constantly as she sat on the dock, catching small fish (“grunts”) to be used as bait on her father’s fishing boat. As she grew older, she was promoted to working with her mother, selling tickets for the Blue Sea II. The first in her family to receive an advanced degree, she graduated from Gulf Coast Community College and Florida State University, then went on to earn a Ph.D. in history at Stanford in 1982. She is the author of Cannery Women, Cannery Lives and From Out of the Shadows: Mexican Women in 20th-Century America (named a Choice Outstanding Academic Book of 1998 by the American Library Association). She and Virginia Sánchez Korrol have coedited Latinas in the United States: A Historical Encyclopedia (named a 2007 Best in Reference work by the New York Public Library).
Active in student mentorship projects, summer institutes for teachers, and public humanities programs, Dr. Ruiz served as an appointee to the National Council of the Humanities. In 2006 she became and elected fellow of the Society of American Historians. She is the past president of the Organization of American Historians and the Berkshire Conference on the History of Women and currently serves and president of the American Studies Association. The mother of two grown sons, she is married to Victor Becerra, urban planner, community activist, and gourmet cook extraordinaire.
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