I am always working on several new projects at any given time. Below you will find a list of some of my most recent and current projects.

Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism: College, Community, and the Fight for Freedom and Equality in Antebellum America (UNC Press, 2014)

Yes Lord, I Know the Road: A Documentary History of African Americans in South Carolina 1526-2008

Dismal Freedom: A History of the Maroons of the Great Dismal Swamp (under contract, UNC Press) will be the first book-length study that examines the lives of African Americans in the liminal world between slavery and freedom. In it, I undertake a close analysis of the lives of thousands of self-emancipating men and women who made the swamp their home and sanctuary, and who played an outsized role in undermining slavery and its supporting ideologies in the Tidewater and beyond. This study offers a fresh reassessment of enslaved resistance to bondage, scholars’ understanding of marronage in North America, and the uses of cutting edge technology and interdisciplinarity in historical scholarship. My project has benefited from the collaborative efforts of the Great Dismal Swamp Landscape Study, an NEH-funded historical archaeology research project for which I am historian and principle writer. Our group has generated one of the largest datasets on marginalized communities in North America and the most detailed and expansive body of materials related to maroon communities currently available. Besides the NEH, this work has also been supported by the USC Institute for African American Research and a USC RISE grant. I expect to have this manuscript in press by spring 2020.

My second and third books on the history of my home state will be The Changing Palmetto State: A New History of South Carolina Since WWII and A South Carolina Chronology, 1497-2020, both under contract with USC Press, and both co-authored with Walter B. Edgar. Changing Palmetto State will be the first synthesis of the state’s history in a generation, extending the scope and revising the arguments in Walter’s South Carolina, A History (1998). To his keen analysis of recent political and economic history, I bring a close look at the postwar origins and development of the Civil Rights Movement, and bring the story in line with the new #blacklivesmatter Southern historiography. Our new third edition (with C. James Taylor) of South Carolina Chronology recounts the landmark events that have defined the past half millennium in the Palmetto State. We are anxiously watching current events and writing both books’ final chapters. Chronology will be published in 2020 to coincide with South Carolina’s 350th anniversary, while Changing Palmetto State will go to press immediately after 2020 elections for a 2021 release.

Through the support of a Sea Islands Institute grant and in conjunction with the National Endowment for the Humanities summer institute “America’s Reconstruction: The Untold Story,” I am also editing (with Orville Vernon Burton) a peer-reviewed collection of essays to coincide with the sesquicentennial of Reconstruction titled Reconstruction at 150: Reassessing the Revolutionary New Birth of Freedom. This anthology presents innovative essays that explore new directions in Reconstruction-era scholarship, appraises the current state of the field, reassesses landmark texts, and reveals important yet little-known stories that enrich the Reconstruction narrative while suggesting new ways of thinking about larger themes. 

​J. Brent Morris, Ph.D