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James L. RoarkSamuel Candler Dobbs Professor Emeritus

James L. Roark, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor Emeritus of American History, (B.A., University of California-Davis, 1963; M.A., 1964; Ph.D., Stanford University, 1973); southern history and nineteenth-century American history. Author of Masters without Slaves: Southern Planters in the Civil War and Reconstruction; coauthor, Black Masters: A Free Family of Color in the Old South (with Michael Johnson); coeditor, No Chariot Let Down: Charleston's Free People of Color on the Eve of the Civil War (with Michael Johnson); The American Promise: A History of the United States.

I am presently working on a comparison of the free black populations of the North and the South in the nineteenth century. By engaging the historiographical representation of the two groups and through archival analysis, the study aims to revise the standard answer to the question of the meaning of the Mason-Dixon line in African American history.


  • BA, University of California, Davis, 1963.
  • MA, University of California, Davis, 1964.
  • PhD, Stanford University, 1973.


  • Southern history
  • Nineteenth-century American history