James M. SoRelle

James M. SoRelle
Professor Emeritus
High Res Photo

African American History, 20th Century U.S. History, Urban American History

  • Ph.D., Kent State University, 1980
Research Interests

"As a historian specializing in the field of African American history, I have focused my research and publication on four areas of interest: (1) racial violence in Waco; (2) the development of the African American community in Houston, Texas, in the years between the two world wars; (3) the civil rights movement in Texas; and (4) the intersection between humor and protest in the African American community. In addition, for the past fourteen years I have served as co-editor of the two-volume reader, Taking Sides: Clashing Views on Controversial Issues in American History. My teaching fields are in African American history, American urban history, and late-nineteenth and early-twentieth century United States history."

Works in Progress
Book-manuscript, "The Darker Side of Heaven: The African American Community in Houston, Texas, 1917-1945"; article-length essay entitled "Cimbee's Ramblings: Simeon B. Williams and the Intersection of Humor and Protest in Houston's African American Community, 1919-1942"
Selected Publications
  • Taking Sides: Changing Views on Controversial Issues in American History. 2 vols. Guilford, CT: McGraw-Hill/Dushkin, 1989-2006.
  • "The Emergence of Black Business in Houston, Texas: A Study of Race and Ideology, 1919-1945" in Howard Beeth and Cary Wintz eds., Black Dixie: essays in Afro-Texas History in Houston. College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 1992. 103-16.
  • "Race Relations in 'Heavenly Houston', 1917-1945 in ibid., 175-91.
  • "The 'Waco Horror': the Lynching of Jesse Washington" Southwestern Historical Quarterly, 85 (April 1983): 517-36.
  • "An De Po Cullud Man Is In De Wuss Fix Uv Awl': Black Occupational Status in Houston, Texas, 1910-1940," Houston Review, 1 (Spring 1979): 15-26.
Why I Came To Baylor

"In a field like history, where academic opportunities were severely limited in the 1970s and 1980s, it was fortuitous that I was offered an interview at Baylor only weeks after I had defended my doctoral dissertation. Having been born and reared in Waco, I would never have guessed that I would one day return to my hometown to pursue my professional career; however, circumstances made that possible. What began as a one-year replacement position turned into a tenure-track slot, and in the meantime, the support for my teaching and research that I had received from my colleagues in the department and from the administration made me feel very much that you can go home again."