Academic, Historical and Other Professional Writing

Living the California Dream: African American Leisure Sites during the Jim Crow Era   University of Nebraska Press, January 2020. The book cover art is by artist Derrick Adams from his 2016 “Culture Club” series.

  • See media on the book and other articles I made a contribution to here.

  • Download and share a book flyer with your network here.
Save 40% with CODE 6AF19 and CODE CS40UNP (Outside North America) 
  • Brian Tanguay, California Review of Books, February 2024.
  • M. Alison Kibler, New Mexico Historical Review, Vol. 98, (2), May 2023: 203-205.
  • Victoria W. Wolcott, American Historical Review, September 2022: 1525–1527.
  • Gretchen Sullivan Sorin, The Journal of African American History, Summer 2022: 472-474.
  • Kim Nalley, California History, Summer 2022: 97-99.
  • Reynolds J. Scott-Childress, Journal of American History, March 2022: 847-848.
  • Andrew Kahrl, Southern California Quarterly, Fall 2021: 349-351.
  • Azariah M. Reese, Journal of Geography, Vol. 121 (2), 2021: 87.
  • Jean K. Hope, The Western History Quarterly, Summer 2021: 223-24.
  • Melissa A. Esmacher, The Public Historian, May 2021: 172-74.
  • Joy Miller, The Journal of San Diego History, Spring 2021: 84-85.
  • Elsa Nefertari Ulen, “Reclaiming Black Beaches: On Alison Rose Jefferson’s Living the California Dream,” Los Angeles Review of Books, December 15, 2020.
Other Recognition for the Book:

More Articles and Publications


  • “Long Beach Airport and Southern California: A Brief New Aviation and Aeronautics History (1900s – 1980s)” with Philip S. Hart.
    Commissioned by the Historical Society of Long Beach and Long Beach Airport as part of LGB’s 100th anniversary celebration, 2023. See the Historic Report section to read the essay and other items about the celebration here.
  • Leisure’s Race, Power and Place: The Recreation and Remembrance of African Americans in the California Dream
    Doctor of Philosophy in History Dissertation (2015), University of California, Santa Barbara.
  • Remembering Santa Monica’s Black Beach
    When surf and sand was practically segregated, the Inkwell was both a slur and a badge of pride for African Americans
    The Argonaut News, in This Week section, Wednesday, May 27, 2015.
  • Encyclopedia Entries for
    “The Inkwell, Santa Monica, California (1905–1964),” “Nick Gabaldon (1924–1951)” with Rick Blocker, and “The Inkwell, Martha’s Vineyard (1890s–).” is a web portal reference center providing information to the general public on the history of African Americans and their worldwide ancestry.
  • African American Leisure Space in Santa Monica: The Beach Sometimes Known as the “Inkwell,” 1900s–1960s
    Southern California Quarterly, Vol. 91, No. 2 (2009): 155–189. A section of the Ocean Park beach in Santa Monica, California, served as an African American leisure space during the era of segregation. This article identifies the discrimination that African Americans endured, but also celebrates both the local black community formation and the sociable relaxation that Los Angeles African Americans enjoyed at this site.

  • Lake Elsinore: A Southern California African American Resort Area During the Jim Crow Era, 1920s–1960s, and the Challenges of Historic Preservation
    Master of Historic Preservation Thesis (2007), University of Southern California.
    As soon as African Americans could afford leisure experiences after the end of American slavery, they joined Euro-Americans at resorts and in travel to other places domestically and overseas. Being able to take a vacation or an overnight trip for pleasure became a critical marker and entitlement of middle class status. This thesis examines the Lake Elsinore resort in Riverside County, California, and the involvement of African American actors in the area’s history and development during the period of legal segregation in the 20th century — an issue overlooked in the past. The cultural landscape of this African American resort community presents challenges and opportunities under current preservation policy for commemoration, because significant built artifacts are not extant in this heritage area. When physical traces are lost, how do we memorialize in the collective history a more expansive view of the citizenry, when historic preservation efforts in the United States emphasize tangible aspects of culture?
  • Intersections of South Central Los Angeles: People and Places in Historic and Contemporary Photographs
    with Christopher D. Jimenez y West, Matthew W. Roth, and Morgan P. Yates.
    Los Angeles: Automobile Club of Southern California, 2006. Available for purchase through the California African American Museum at Exposition Park, Los Angeles.
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