Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York

February 19, 2021

Carl Suddler, Ph.D., with Michael Dickinson, Ph.D.

A stark disparity exists between black and white youth experiences in the justice system today. Black youths are perceived to be older and less innocent than their white peers. When it comes to incarceration, race trumps class, and even as black youths articulate their own experiences with carceral authorities, many Americans remain surprised by the inequalities they continue to endure. In his revealing book, Carl Suddler brings to light a much longer history of the policies and strategies that tethered the lives of black youths to the justice system indefinitely.

This event was presented as part of the Race, Ethnicity and Social Justice Speaker Series and was co-sponsored by the VCU Department of History.

Carl Suddler, Ph.D.

Carl Suddler, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of history at Emory University. His primary historical research interests examine the intersections of youth, race and crime in the United States. His work has appeared in scholarly and popular outlets such as the Journal of American History, the Journal of African American History, American Studies Journal, the Journal of Sports History, as well as op-eds for the Washington Post, The Conversation, HuffPost, Bleacher Report and the Brookings Institute. Suddler has appeared on venues such as CNN, ABC News, Al Jazeera, and NPR. His first book, "Presumed Criminal: Black Youth and the Justice System in Postwar New York," was published by New York University Press in 2019.

Michael Dickinson, Ph.D.

Michael Dickinson, Ph.D., is an assistant professor of history at Virginia Commonwealth University. He is the former interim director of the Mellon Scholars Program at the Library Company of Philadelphia. More recently, he was the 2019-20 Barra Sabbatical Fellow at University of Pennsylvania's McNeil Center for Early American Studies. His research examines black lives and communities in eighteenth and nineteenth century cities. His book "Almost Dead: Slavery and Social Rebirth in the Black Urban Atlantic, 1680-1807" is forthcoming with University of Georgia Press.