Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies Profile Image
Associate Professor of History and Ethnic Studies History 402-472-2414 632 Oldfather Hall


Patrick Jones was born in Baltimore, Maryland, and grew up in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his B.A. in “American History, Politics and Society” from Kenyon College in 1993 and his Ph.D. in modern U.S. History and African American Studies from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in 2002.

Jones researches, writes and teaches about the civil rights and Black Power era, America in the 1960s, race relations, urban inequality, social movements, electoral politics, and post-WWII popular culture. He is particularly interested in how meaningful and lasting social change takes place at the intersections of formal politics, grassroots activism and cultural production.

Harvard University published his award-winning book, The Selma of the North: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee, in 2009. Tim Tyson called the book “...a riveting new story of the civil rights movement in America, a tale on par with Selma, Birmingham, and Montgomery in its power and importance” and Jeanne Theoharis has written, “The Selma of the North provides a devastating rebuttal of many of the conventional narratives of the civil rights movement.” “After reading this book,” Sundiata Keita Cha-Jua wrote in the Journal of American History, “I am convinced that Milwaukee's 1967 open-housing struggle played a role in the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act comparable to the roles played by the Birmingham campaign in the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act and the Selma campaign in the enactment of the 1965 Voting Rights Act.”

Jones is also the author of In Their Own Image: Artifacts from the Great Plains Black History Museum, which draws on his work reconstituting the Great Plains Black History Museum’s archive to remind readers of the rich history of accomplishment and community-building in Omaha’s African American community from the late-19th century through the recent past.

He is currently working on an article about folk singer and civil rights activist, Guy Carawan, as well as a new monograph that explores the contested meanings of Black Power in Cleveland, Ohio. The book project will span formal electoral politics in the Carl Stokes administration; civil rights activism during the school desegregation and don’t buy where you can’t work campaigns; national projects in the city initiated by CORE, SCLC and SDS; more radical activism by black nationalists and cultural nationalists; Malcolm X’s famous “Ballot or the Bullet” speech; urban rebellion during the Hough riot and Glenville Shoot-out; and the cultural politics of figures in sports, film, theater and music. Each avenue of activism highlights the agency of black Clevelanders and a different approach to racial change and empowerment during the 1960s and early 1970s.

Jones is the creator of the Roz Payne Sixties Archive, a one-of-a-kind digital archive of historical artifacts – photographs, buttons, posters, underground newspapers, manifestos, flyers, broadsides, small press publications, films, etc. – from the wide array of social movements in the United States during the 1960s, including the student movement, anti-war activism, the counterculture, the civil rights and Black Power movements, women’s liberation, gay rights, the Chicano movement, Puerto Rican nationalism, the Cuban Revolution and third World liberation struggles, early environmentalism and more. The collection provides a remarkably wide lens on struggles for justice during this transformative period in U.S. history and is a powerful research and teaching tool.

Jones also is the co-director with Will Thomas of the History Harvest, an innovative student-led and community based approach to historical education that has become a model for teachers across the country. He also helps organize and teach the nationally-recognized Making Invisible Histories Visible summer program with the Omaha Public Schools System.


ETHN 200,”Introduction to African American Studies”
HIST 288, “The Historian’s Craft: Civil Rights and Social Justice in Post-WWII America”
HIST 306, “African American History, From African origins through the Civil War”
HIST/ETHN 309, “Race, Ethnicity & 20th Century American Politics”
HIST 396, “History Harvest - Lincoln’s Refugee Community”
HIST 397, “North Omaha History Harvest”
HIST 355/855, “Post-1945 U.S. History”
HIST 397, “America in the Sixties”
HIST/ETHN 437/837, “African Americans and the Politics of Race, From the New Deal to the New Right”
HIST 439/839, “African Americans in the Jazz Age”
HIST/ETHN 460/860, “The Civil Rights/Black Power Era”
HIST 942, Graduate Research Seminar: “Civil Rights and Social Justice in Post-WWII America”
HIST 943, “Themes in U.S. History Since 1877”


“The Selma of the North”: Civil Rights Insurgency in Milwaukee. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2009.

  • “’Get Up Off of Your Knees!’: Competing Visions of Black Empowerment in Milwaukee During the Early Civil Rights Era,” in Neighborhood Rebels: Black Power at the Local Level, Peniel Joseph, ed., (New York: Palgrave, 2009).
  • “’Not a Color, But an Attitude’: Black Power Politics in Milwaukee,” in Common Ground: Local Black Freedom Movements in America, Jeanne Theoharris and Komozi Woodard, eds., (New York: New York University Press, 2005).
  • Project Director, Roz Payne Sixties Archive (forthcoming)
  • Project Co-Director (with Dr. Will Thomas), The History Harvest, University of Nebraska-Lincoln Department of History
  • “The Hidden History of African Americans in Omaha: Images from the Great Plains Black History Museum Archives,” Nation Park Service, Midwest Headquarters, Omaha, Nebraska, January 2013.
  • “Many Roads to Freedom: Working Across the Color Line for Racial Justice,” for “Black-White Dialogue” series, Omaha, Nebraska, April 2011.
  • “Why Milwaukee Matters: A New Civil Rights Paradigm?” March On Milwaukee: A 40th Anniversary Conference, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, September 2007.
  • “New Approaches to Teaching About Race Relations and African American History During the ‘Jazz Age,’” Organization of American Historians Regional Conference, Lincoln, NE, July 2006.
  • “The Catholic Roots of Fr. James Groppi’s Civil Rights Activism in Milwaukee,” Organization of American Historians Regional Conference, Lincoln, NE, July 2006.


Ph.D., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 2002
M.A., University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1996
B.A., Kenyon College. Phi Beta Kappa, magna cum laude, 1993


African American;
U.S. Twentieth Century