Academic interests

Nineteenth-century U.S. history (the Antebellum, Civil War and Reconstruction eras), American reform movements, and American ethnic history, American labor history


The War Against Proslavery Religion: Abolitionism and the Northern Churches(Cornell University Press 1984);
(co-editor)Biography and the Historical Moment (Greenwood Press 1994);
Slavery, Sectionalism, and American Religion (University of Georgia Press1998);
and Antislavery Violence (University of Tennessee Press 1999);
(editor of a modern edition) James Redpath's 1959 book The Roving Editor; or, Talks with the Slaves in the Southern States (Penn State University Press 1996);
and over fifty-five articles and book chapters


Director, annual Midwest Peace & Justice Summit (2005-2011) Co-Director, annual Madame C.J. Walker/Frederick Douglass Public Lecture and Workshop Series.