Robert F. Jefferson Jr.

Photo: Robert Jefferson

Associate Professor

Office: Mesa Vista Hall 1079


B.A. Elon College
M.A. Old Dominion University
Ph.D. University of Michigan

Research Interests:

African American History, Twentieth Century United States History, Military History, International Relations, Race and Disability Studies


Robert F. Jefferson, Jr. is an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Mexico. His research focuses on the relationship between race, gender, and citizenship in Twentieth Century United States history.  He is the author of Fighting for Hope: African Americans and the Ninety-third Infantry Division in World War II and Postwar America (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008) which was nominated for the William Colby Book Prize and is currently working on two books, the first titled The Color of Disability:  Vasco Hale and Twentieth Century America and a second monograph titled American Negritude:  Will Mercer Cook, the American Society of African Culture, and the Politics of Liberation, 1957-1968. He has written extensively on the relationship between African American GIs and their communities during the Second World War and the Black Panther Party, and has written articles that have appeared in Oral History and Public Memories (Philadelphia:  Temple University Press, 2008), the Journal of Family History, the Annals of Iowa,Quaderni Storici (Bologna), Contours:  A Journal of the African Diaspora, and the Historian

He also holds memberships in the American Historical Association, the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the National Council of Black Studies, and is a participating speaker in the Organization of American Historians’ Distinguished Lectureship Program.

Recent/Select Publications:

“‘The Veterans’ Angle’:  Ninety-Third Ex-GI Vasco Hale, Disability, and the NAACP’s Struggle for Fair Housing and Power in Post-World War Two Hartford, Connecticut,” in Geoffrey Jensen, ed., The Routledge Handbook of the History of Race in the American Military (London:  Routledge, 2016), 183-190.

with Bruce Fehn, “The Des Moines, Iowa, African American Community and the Emergence and Impact of the Black Panther Party for Self Defense, 1948-1973,” in Judson Jeffries, ed., On the Ground:  The Black Panther Party in Communities Across America (Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2010), 186-223. 

 Fighting for Hope:  African American Troops of the 93rd Infantry Division in World War Two and Postwar America (Baltimore:  Johns Hopkins University Press, 2008)

“Interfaced Memory: Black World War II Ex-GIs and Veterans’ Reunions of the Late Twentieth Century,” in Paula Hamilton and Linda Shopes, eds., Oral History and Public Memories (Philadelphia:  Temple University Press, 2008), 187-204.

 “Enabled Courage: Race, Disability and Black World War II Veterans in Postwar America,” The Historian 65:5 (September 2003): 1102-1124.



United Negro College Fund/Mellon Summer Seminar Award, 2014.

Harry S. Truman Library Institute Grant, Summer 2014.


  • The History of the African Diaspora from the Iron Age through the Civil War
  • African American Military History Since 1865
  •  Hypothesizing the Modern Civil Rights Movement
  • In-Between People:  Racial Identity in United States History
  • African Americans and International Social Movements of the 1940s
  • The United States and Liberia