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Sugrue's opinion pieces, essays, and reviews have appeared in major daily newspapers,  magazines, and blogs, among them the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, the New Yorker, Washington Post, The Atlantic, The National Geographic, The Nation, London Review of Books, Politico, The Hollywood Reporter, Philadelphia Inquirer, Detroit Free Press, Chicago Tribune, Dissent, and Talking Points Memo.  He has also published dozens of scholarly articles in various edited collections and in leading academic publications including Journal of American History, Journal of Urban History, and International Labor and Working-Class History.



College Presidents Behaving Badly, Chronicle of Higher Education, May 6, 2024


El verdadero Martin Luther King, Jacobin Revista, January 18, 2024.

In the Wake of Affirmative Action: From Cradle to Admissions Office, Center for Social Solutions, University of Michigan, October 2023.

Biden Wants to Unite the Country: How Can he Do It? Two Dozen Thinkers Offer Bold Ideas for a New Administration in a Fractious Era, Politico, January 20. 2021

Pre-existing Conditions: What 2020 Reveals About the Future of Cities, Public Books, November 16, 2020. Finalist: 2021 National Magazine Award (Ellies).

Thomas Sugrue: Trump Doesn't Understand Today's Suburbs--and Neither Do You, Politico, August 6, 2020.

2020 is not 1968: To understand today’s protests, you must look further back, National Geographic, June 11, 2020

**En Español

**Em Português

**In Italiano

Stop comparing today's protests to 1968, Washington Post, June 11, 2020.

"Thomas J. Sugrue on History's Hard Lessons," Public Books, April 2, 2019.

"Restoring King," Tribune Magazine, January 21, 2019

"The Housing Revolution We Need," Dissent, Fall 2018.

"White America's Age Old, Misguided Obsession with Civility," New York TImes, June 29, 2018.

"The Big Picture: America's Real Estate Developer in Chief," Public Books, November 27, 2017.

"Until causes of riot are addressed, violence will still simmer," Detroit Free Press, July 22, 2017.

"Donald Trump Says He Wants to Fix Cities, Ben Carson Will Make Them Worse," Washington Post, December 6, 2016.

"Jeff Sessions' Other Civil Rights Problem," New York Times, November 21, 2016

"David Simon's 'Show Me a Hero' Recap: The Genius in David Simon's Pessimism," The Hollywood Reporter, August 30, 2015

"David Simon's 'Show Me a Hero' Recap: Less Springsteen, More Public Enemy Needed?" The Hollywood Reporter, August 23, 2015

"David Simon's 'Show Me a Hero' Recap: Two Experts on Urban America Weigh In," The Hollywood Reporter, August 16, 2015

"It's Not Dixie's Fault," Washington Post, Sunday Outlook, July 19, 2015

"Restoring King," Jacobin, January 20, 2014.

    ♦French translation, "Martin Luther King – Plus radicalqu’on ne le croit?" Revue Ballast, February 17, 2015.

"The Rise and Fall of Detroit's Middle Class," New Yorker online, July 22, 2013.

"A House Divided," Washington Monthly (Jan.-Feb. 2013)

"Workers' Paradise Lost," New York Times, December 14, 2012.

Obama, éternel étranger en terrain miné," Libération (Paris), October 30, 2012.

"Saul Alinsky: The Activist Who Terrifies the Right," Salon, February 7, 2012.

"A Dream Still Deferred," New York Times, March 26, 2011.

"Friday Reading: Diversity, Dogma, and the Dole," The Atlantic, August 20, 2010.

"Obama's Justice," The Atlantic, August 19, 2010.

"Tough Luck," The Atlantic, August 18, 2010.

"Kilpatrickism," The Atlantic, August 17, 2010. Excerpted in Philadelphia Inquirer, August 22, 2010.

"Hallowed Ground," The Atlantic, August 16, 2010.

"School Daze," The Atlantic, August 16, 2010.

"The Myth of Post-Racial America," Washington Post, Political Bookworm, June 10, 2010.

"Stories and Legends," The Nation, June 7, 2010.

"The New American Dream: Renting," Wall Street Journal, August 15, 2009

"The Post Civil Rights Era?" Talking Points Memo, April 2, 2009.

"Remembering and Misremembering King," Talking Points Memo, March 31, 2009.

"Obama Must Rise to Urban Challenge," Detroit Free Press, February 22, 2009.

"The Right to a Useful and Remunerative Job," Talking Points Memo, January 23, 2009.

"Integration and Community," Talking Points Memo, January 21, 2009.

"Looking Toward the Mountaintop," Talking Points Memo, January 20, 2009.  

"On Liberty, Secrecy, and the Media," Talking Points Memo, January 19, 2009

"What it Meant: In the Great National Narrative, Where Will Obama's Election Fit?" Boston Globe, November 9, 2008.

"Repair HUD, Don't Demolish It," Letter, New York Times, July 30, 2008

"Still a Poor City," Detroit Free Press, February 6, 2006.

"Sacramento Gets It Wrong at Detroit’s Expense," Detroit Free Press, November 12, 2005.

"Protests Then and Now," Pennsylvania Current, May 18, 2000.

"Throwaway Land," Philadelphia Inquirer, March 28, 1999.

"Detroit Has Yet to Recover from 1950s Turning Point," Detroit Free Press, June 1, 1997.


"Understanding Upper Manhattan: Thomas Sugrue Writes New Introduction of Brian Goldstein, Roots of Urban Renaissance," The Architect's Newspaper, March 14, 2023.


"In Memoriam: Arnold Hirsch (1949-2018) Iconic Scholar of Race and Cities," National Review of Books, March 23, 2018,

In Praise of the Black Men and Women Who Built Detroit," New York Times Book Review, Sept. 8, 2017, review of Herb Boyd, Black Detroit: A People's History of Self-Determination.

"What Next for Detroit?" Public Books, May 4, 2017.

"A Look at America's Long and Troubled History of White Poverty," New York Times Book Review, June 24, 2016.

"Inner City Blues," Bookforum, Summer 2016. Review of Mitchell Duneier, Ghetto.

"Shut Out," New York Times Book Review, July 5, 2015, review of Kristin Green, Something Must Be Done about Prince Edward County.

"Notown," Democracy, Spring 2013, review of Mark Binelli, Detroit City is the Place to Be.

"Empire and Revolution," The Nation, October 15, 2012, review of Joshua Freeman, American Empire

"Chicago and the Primacy of the Social," Public Books, September 2012, review of Robert Sampson, Great American City.

"Lincoln Resurrected," Dissent (Spring 2011), review of Michael Burlingame, Abraham Lincoln: A Life.

"Levittown to Laos," London Review of Books, July 22, 2010, review of Steven Gillon, The Kennedy Assassination: 24 Hours After .

"The Hundred Days War," The Nation (April 27, 2009): review of H.W. Brands, Traitor to His Class and Adam Cohen, Nothing to Fear.

"It's Not the Bus: It's Us," London Review of Books (Nov. 30, 2008): review of Louis Masur, The Soiling of Old Glory

"Orthogonian Visions," The Nation (September 1/8, 2008): review of Rick Perlstein, Nixonland.

"Hearts and Minds," The Nation (May 12, 2008), review of Richard Thompson Ford, The Race Card; Randall Kennedy, Sellout; Bill Cosby and Alan Poussaint, Come on People; and Stephen Steinberg, Race Relations: A Critique.

"In Your Guts You Know He’s Nuts," London Review of Books (January 3, 2008), review of Barry Goldwater, Conscience of a Conservative.

"Shanker Blows Up the World," The Nation (November 12, 2007), review of Richard Kahlenberg, Tough Liberal: Albert Shanker and the Battles over Schools, Unions, Race, and Democracy and Joshua Zeitz, White Ethnic New York: Jews, Catholics, and the Shaping of Postwar Politics.

Letters from Jim Sleeper and Edward Beller and Sugrue response, The Nation (December 10, 2007), 3, 60.

"A Flawed Look at Tensions in Chicago Neighborhoods," Chicago Tribune (October 22, 2006), review of William Julius Wilson and Richard Taub, There Goes the Neighborhood: Racial Ethnic and Class Tensions in Four Chicago Neighborhoods and their Meaning for America.

"AmeriKKKa, " London Review of Books (October 5, 2006), review of Raymond Arsenault, Freedom Rides: 1961 and the Struggle for Racial Justice.

"The Geography of Fear," The Nation (February 27, 2006), review of Robert Bruegmann, Sprawl: A Compact History; Robert M. Fogelson, Bourgeois Nightmares; and James Loewen, Sundown Towns,

♦Breugmann letter and Sugrue response, The Nation (October 2, 2006), 2, 19.

"Separate and Unequal--Still," Chicago Tribune (Sept. 11, 2005), review of Jonathan Kozol, The Shame of the Nation: The Restoration of Apartheid Schooling in America .

"Terror in the Streets," Washington Post Book World (March 10, 2002), 6, review of James S. Hirsch, Riot and Rememberance: The Tulsa Race War and Its Legacy; Alfred Brophy, Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Race Riot of 1921; and Tim Madigan, The Burning: Massacre, Destruction, and the Tulsa Race Riot of 1921

"Teamster Spirit," Washington Post Book World ((September 2, 2001), review of Thaddeus Russell, Out of the Jungle: Jimmy Hoffa and the Remaking of the American Working Class.  

"The Real Revolution," Washington Post Book World (September 17, 2000), review of Evan Thomas, Robert Kennedy: A Life and Matthew Dallek, The Right Moment: Ronald Reagan's First Victory and the Decisive Turning Point in American Politics  

♦Reprinted as "How Camelot Blinded Liberals to Reagan's Appeal," in Guardian Weekly, London (Dec .28, 2000-Jan. 3, 2001), 23.

"Breakthrough Books: The Welfare State," contributor, Lingua Franca (August 1997), 14.        

"Poor Vision," Tikkun (September/October 1995), review of Herbert Gans, The War Against the Poor


"Livable Cities," in Kate Aronoff, Peter Dreier, and Michael Kazin, eds., We Own the Future (New York: The New Press, 2020).

"Predatory Real Estate," in Eric Klinenberg, Caitlin Zaloom, and Sharon Marcus, ed., Antidemocracy in America: Truth, Power, and the Republic at Risk (New York: Columbia University Press, 2019), 27-38.

"A Modest Sized Foundation: Barack Obama’s Urban Policy," in The Obama Presidency: A First Historical Appraisal, ed. Julian E. Zelizer (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2018), 144-61.

"From Jim Crow to Fair Housing," in Gregory D. Squires, ed., The Fight for Fair Housing:  Causes, Consequences and Future Implications of the 1968 Federal Fair Housing Act (New York: Routledge, 2018), 14-27.

"The Black Freedom Struggle in the North," Oxford Encyclopedia of American Urban History, ed. Timothy J. Gilfoyle (New York: Oxford University Press, 2018).

"The Big Picture: America’s Real Estate Developer in Chief," Public Books, November 27, 2017.

"Forward," in Making Cities Global, ed., A.K. Sandoval-Strausz and Nancy H. Kwak (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), vi-ix.

"Forward: Detroit 67," in Detroit 67: Origins, Impacts, Legacies, ed. Joel Stone (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2017), Excerpted in Detroit Free Press (July 23, 2017); In These Times (July 21, 2017); Deadline Detroit (May 23, 2017)

Less Separate, Still Unequal: Diversity and Equality in Post-Civil Rights America," in Our Compelling Interests: The Value of Diversity to Democracy and a Prosperous Society, ed. Earl Lewis and Nancy Cantor (Princeton University Press, 2016), 39-70.

"The Origins of the Suburban Crisis: From Zoning to Predatory Lending in Black Suburbia," Social Science History (Social Science History Association Presidential Address, under revision, expected publication 2016).

"Planning for Justice: Integrationist Planning, Community Control, Neoliberalism and the Struggle for Metropolitan America, 1954-1980,” Journal of Urban History (Urban History Association Presidential Address, under revision, expected publication, 2017).

"Not Even Past: Barack Obama and the Burden of Race," in Chad Williams, Kidada Williams, and Keisha Blain, eds., The Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2016), 315-21.

"The Reconfiguration of Political History," Tocqueville Review / la Revue Tocqueville 36 (2015), 11-20.   

"Diversity,Toleration, and Space in Metropolitan America," The Cities Papers: An Essay Collection from the Decent Cities Initiative (New York: Social Science Research Council, 2014)

"’The Largest Civil Rights Organization Today’: Title VII and the Transformation of the Public Sector," Labor: Studies in Working Class History of the Americas 11:3 (2014), 25-29.

"Notown," in Anna Clark, ed., The Detroit Reader (Cleveland: Belt Press, 2014), 18-23.

"Privatization: Looking Out for the Public Good," 2013 PILCOP Symposium on Equality, 11 Rutgers Journal of Law and Public Policy 331 (2013-14).

"’The Goddamn Boss’: Cecil B. Moore, Philadelphia, and the Reshaping of Black Urban Politics," in Raymond Arsenault and Vernon Burton, eds., Dixie Redux: Essays in Honor of Sheldon Hackney (Montgomery: New South Press, 2013), 261-86.

"For Jobs and Freedom: An Introduction to the Unfinished March," Economic Policy Institute, August 5, 2013.

"The Civil Rights Era and Beyond," Preserving American Freedom: The Evolution of American Liberty in Fifty Documents, Historical Society of Pennsylvania (2013)

"The Catholic Encounter with the 1960s," in R. Scott Appleby and Kathleen Sprows Cummings, ed., Catholics in the American Century: Recasting Narratives of U.S. History (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 2012), 61-79.

"Pourquoi les villes americaines ne brulent-elles pas plus souvent?" with Michael B. Katz, in James Cohen, Andrew Diamond, and Phillippe Vervaecke et al., L'Atlantique multiracial: Discours, politiques, denis (Paris: Editions Karthala, 2012), 33-60.

"The Right to a Decent Home," in Steven Conn, ed., To Promote the General Welfare: The Case for Big Government (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 102-17.

"From Hillburn to Hattiesburg: Activists Protest Locally, Think Globally,” in Stephen Tuck and Kevin Kruse, eds., Fog of War: World War II and the Struggle for Civil Rights (New York: Oxford University Press, 2012), 87-102.

"Civil Rights, Civility, and Disruption," in Cornell Clayton and Richard Elgar, eds., Civility and Democracy in America: A Reasonable Understanding (Pullman: Washington State University Press, 2012).

"Northern Lights: The Black Freedom Struggle Outside the South," OAH Magazine of History 26:1 (2012), 1-7.

"City of Ruins," Introduction to Yves Marchand and Romain Meffre, Détroit: vestiges du rêve américain/The Ruins of Detroit (Gottingen: Steidl, 2011).

"Concord Park, Open Housing, and the Lost Promise of Civil Rights in the North," Pennsylvania Legacies (November 2010), 18-23

"Toward a New History of Civil Rights," in Labor: Studies in Working-Class History of the Americas 7:1 (2010), 37-44.

"Jim Crow’s Last Stand: The Struggle to Integrate Levittown, " in Dianne Harris, ed., Second Suburb: Levittown, Pennsylvania (Pittsburgh: University of Pittsburgh Press, 2010), 175-99.

"The End of the ‘60s," in Brian Ward, ed., The Sixties: A Documentary Reader (Oxford: Wiley-Blackwell, 2009), 225-26.

"Racial Romanticism," Democracy: A Journal of Ideas 13 (2009), 69-73.

"The White Ethnic Strategy,” with John David Skrentny, in Bruce Schulman and Julian Zelizer, eds., Rightward Bound: Making America Conservative in the Seventies (Cambridge: Harvard Univ. Press, 2008), 171-92.

"Poverty in the Era of Welfare Reform: The ‘Underclass’ Family in Myth and Reality," in Stephanie Coontz, ed., American Families: A Multicultural Reader, Second Ed. (New York: Routledge, 2008), 325-37. Substantially revised version of 1999 article.

"Plainfield Burning: Black Rebellion in the Suburban North," with Andrew M. Goodman, Journal of Urban History 33 (May 2007), 568-601.

"Burn, Bébé, Burn," Dissent (Winter 2006), 5-7.

"Driving While Black: The Car and Race Relations in Modern America," Automobile in American Life and Society (Dearborn: Henry Ford Museum and University of Michigan, 2005).

"From Motor City to Motor Metropolis: How the Automobile Industry Reshaped Urban America," Automobile in American Life and Society (Dearborn: Henry Ford Museum and University of Michigan 2005),

"Affirmative Action from Below: Civil Rights, the Building Trades, and the Politics of Racial Equality in the North, 1945-1969," Journal of American History 91 (June 2004), 145-73.

   ♦Reprinted in Joyce Appleby, ed., Best Articles in American History 2006 (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2006), 231-62.

   ♦Reprinted in Joe William Trotter and Kenneth Kusmer, eds., African American Urban History Since World War II (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2009), 219-44.

"All Politics is Local: The Persistence of Localism in Twentieth-Century America," in Meg Jacobs, William Novak, and Julian Zelizer, eds., The Democratic Experiment: New Directions in American Political History (Princeton: Princeton Univ. Press, 2003), 301-26.

"Revisiting the Second Ghetto," Journal of Urban History 29 (March 2003), 281-90.

"The Power of Place: Race, Political Economy, and Identity in the Postwar Metropolis," with Robert O. Self, in Roy Rosenzweig and Jean-Christophe Agnew, eds., A Companion to Post 1945 America (Oxford: Blackwell Publishers, 2002), 20-43

"Breaking Through: The Troubled Origins of Affirmative Action in the Workplace," in John David Skrentny, ed., Color Lines: Affirmative Action, Immigration, and Civil Rights Options for America (Chicago: Univ. of Chicago Press, 2001), 31-52.

"Urbanization," in Oxford Companion to United States History, ed. Paul Boyer (New York: Oxford University Press, 2001), 794-96

"The Power of Unlikely Coalitions," University of Pennsylvania Journal of Labor and Employment Law 2 (Spring 2000), 737-45.

"Suburbanization and African Americans," in Encarta Africana, ed. Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, third edition, CD-Rom (Cambridge and Seattle: Microsoft/Afropaedia LLC, 1999); reprinted with misattribution in Africana Encyclopedia, second edition (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005).

"Nagyvárosi szegénység - Amerikában" (special issue on Poverty in America), Budapesti Negyed [Budapest Quarterly Review}, 7-28 (1999-2000), co-edited with Michael B. Katz.

"Poor Families in the Era of Urban Transformation: The 'Underclass' in Myth and Reality," in Families: A Multicultural Reader, ed. Stephanie Coontz (New York and London: Routledge, 1999), 243-57.

"The Compelling Need for Diversity in Higher Education: Expert Report of Thomas J. Sugrue," University of Michigan Journal of Race and Law 5 (Fall 1999), 261-310.

"The Tangled Roots of Affirmative Action," American Behavioral Scientist 41 (April 1998), 886-87.

"The Incredible Disappearing Southerner?" Labor History 39 (1998), 161-66.

"Responsibility to the Past, Engagement with the Present," Labor History 39 (1998), 60-69.

"Carter's Urban Policy Crisis," in The Carter Presidency: Policy Choices in the Post New Deal Era, ed. Gary Fink and Hugh Davis Graham (Lawrence: Univ. Press of Kansas, 1998), 137-57.

"The Context of The Philadelphia Negro: The City, the Settlement House Movement, and the Rise of the Social Sciences," with Michael B. Katz, in W.E.B. DuBois, Race, and the City (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1998), 1-38.

   ♦Reprinted in Harold Bloom, ed., W.E.B. DuBois (Philadelphia: Chelsea House, 2001), 177-209.

"John Hersey and the Tragedy of Race," introduction to John Hersey, The Algiers Motel Incident (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998), ix-xx.

"Labor, Liberalism, and Racial Politics in 1950s Detroit," New Labor Forum 1 (1997), 19-25.

"Segmented Work, Race-Conscious Workers: Structure, Agency, and Division in the CIO Era," International Review of Social History (December 1996), 389-406.

"More than Skin Deep: Redevelopment and the Urban Crisis," Journal of Urban History 22 (1996), 750-59 (review essay).

"Reassessing the History of Postwar America," Prospects: An Annual of American Culture Studies 20 (1995), 493-509.

"Crabgrass-Roots Politics: Race, Rights, and the Reaction Against Liberalism in the Urban North, 1940-1964," Journal of American History 82 (1995), 551-78.

   ♦Winner of the 1996 Best Article Prize, Urban History Association.

   ♦Reprinted in Jack Davis, ed., The Civil Rights Movement (Cambridge: Blackwell, 2000), 64-84.

     ♦Reprinted in Raymond A. Mohl and Roger Biles, eds., The Making of Urban America,            Third Edition  (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2011).

    ♦Reprinted in James Sabathne and Jason Stacy, eds., Past Forward: Articles from the Journal of American History, Vol. 2 (New York: Oxford University Press, 2016), 188-210.

"'Forget about Your Inalienable Right to Work': Deindustrialization and Its Discontents at Ford, 1950-1953," International Labor and Working-Class History 48 (1995), 112-30.

"History, Public Policy, and the Underclass Debate," SSRC Working Paper (New York: National Center for Children in Poverty, 1995), co-authored with Michael B. Katz.

"The Impoverished Politics of Poverty," Yale Journal of Law and Humanities 6 (1994), 163-79.

"The Structures of Urban Poverty: The Reorganization of Space and Work in Three Periods of American History," in The "Underclass" Debate: Views from History, ed. Michael B. Katz (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1993), 85-117.

   ♦Translated and published as "A városi szegénység szerkezete: a tér és a munka újjászervezõdése         az amerikai történelem három korszakában," Budapesti Negyed 26-27 (1999-2000), 234-74.

"The Peopling and Depeopling of Early Pennsylvania: Indians and Colonists, 1680-1720," Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 116 (January 1992), 3-31.


Review: Joshua Freeman, Working-Class New York, in International Labor and Working-Class History 62 (Fall 2002), 240-42.  

Review: Judith Stein, Running Steel, Running America: Race, Economic Policy, and the Decline of

Liberalism in Industrial and Labor Relations Review 54 (2000), 190-92.

Review: Roger Horowitz, "Negro and White, Unite and Fight": A Social History of Industrial Unionism in Meatpacking, 1930-1990, in Industrial and Labor Relations Review 52 (1999), 323-25.  

Review: Nelson Lichtenstein, The Most Dangerous Man in Detroit: Walter P. Reuther and the Fate of American Labor; Kevin Boyle, The UAW and the Heyday of American Liberalism, 1945-1968; and Stephen Amberg, The Union Inspiration in American Politics: The Autoworkers and the Making of a Liberal Industrial Order in International Labor and Working-Class History 52 (Fall 1997), 243-48.

Review: Irving Bernstein, Promises Kept: John F. Kennedy's New Frontier in Presidential Studies Quarterly 23 (Spring 1993), 378-80.  

Review: William Cronon, Changes in the Land: Indians, Colonists and the Ecology of New England and Neal Salisbury, Manitou and Providence: Indians, Europeans, and the Making of New England, 1500-1643 in History Workshop Journal 27 (1987), 311-14.

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