Richard Pierce

Richard Pierce

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John Cardinal O'Hara, C.S.C., Associate Professor of History and Chair of Africana Studies

Office: 456 Decio
Phone: 574-631-7191

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Areas of Expertise

African-American, urban, and civil rights history

Specializing in social and political protest in urban environments, Pierce is the author of “Polite Protest: The Political Economy of Race in Indianapolis, 1920-1970,” which chronicles the protest methods used by blacks in Indianapolis that set the city apart from Chicago, Milwaukee and Detroit. He served as a consultant for the “Faith and Community Initiative” of the Project on Religion and Urban Culture at POLIS Research Center and “For Gold and Glory,” an award-winning documentary that depicted the African-American automobile racing league of the 1920s. Pierce has published articles and essays in the Journal of Urban History, The State of Indiana History 2000 and the Chicago Tribune. His essay, “In Pursuit of Civil Discourse in the Academy,” was featured in Diverse Magazine, formerly known as Black Issues in Higher Education.

Currently, Pierce is researching the processes by which African American families and institutions taught Jim Crow to their children in the United States during the time period 1895-1965. The resulting volume, tentatively titled, Teaching Jim Crow, will examine the methods and strategies African Americans employed to preserve self-esteem within a system designed to dehumanize. He is presently seeking interviews with parents, teachers, and community leaders who reared children during the Jim Crow segregation era to enrich his research.


Erskine Peters Fellowship


Notre Dame to honor Martin Luther King Jr. with prayer service, community events

ScreenPeace Film Festival begins Jan. 31

Martin Luther King to be honored by Notre Dame events

Historian writes book on Indy’s “polite” civil rights protests

New Department of Africana Studies established