I specialize in the history of political economy, the postwar U.S., African American history, and public policy.
My dissertation, “Kids, the New Cash Crop: The Promise and Limits of Educating for Economic Development in the New South,” traces how North Carolina—a rural Jim Crow state which long had the nation’s lowest manufacturing wages, abysmal educational attainment, and massive outmigration—became an emblem of the “New Economy,” focused on research, marketing, and financial services. Through archival government and nonprofit records, personal papers, and oral history, my work examines policy construction at the state level and its effects in the plantation belt, where rural white elites had long stymied equitable development.
Before returning to school, I worked as a high school teacher in northeastern North Carolina and a journalist in Charlottesville, Virginia.
Ph.D., History, Fall 2018 (Expected)
Masters, History, Spring 2014
Bachelor of Arts, Spring 2002
Fellowships, Supported Research, & Other Grants
National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Dissertation Fellowship awarded by National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation (2017 to 2018)
Moody Research Grant awarded by Lyndon B. Johnson Foundation (2015)
Tobin Project Fellow on Democracy & Markets awarded by Tobin Project (2013 to 2014)
James B. Duke Fellowship awarded by Duke University (2011 to 2015)
Goldsmith, W. "Review of Radford, Gail, The Rise of the Public Authority: Statebuilding and Economic Development in Twentieth-Century America. (Published online)" H-Law, H-Net Reviews (December 1, 2014).
A Short History of Education. Creator, Performing artist. https://modu.ssri.duke.edu/module/short-history-education-overview (2017)
This module covers some basic stepping stones to get you started on topics like the rationales behind public school systems, the struggles of teachers, how America has struggled to increase quality and opportunity in schools, how our advancements in science have changed how we educate our children, and why North Carolina is a good microcosm of national trends in education.