David Brodnax, Sr.
Professor of History
on faculty since 2005
If you step into a class taught by David Brodnax, Sr., you learn very quickly that God and history are inseparable.
“At Trinity, I can more fully discuss the key role that religion has played in human history, including not only the positive impact that it has had on the world, but also the ways that some people have misused God’s Word to harm the world.”
Brodnax believes that teaching and writing about history is one way to bring about social justice. He contends that many of the problems in the world are caused by a lack of understanding of history and the impact of the past on the present.
“The book of Exodus tells us that when a new pharaoh ‘who did not know Joseph’ came to power, he began oppressing the Israelites. I have always taken this as an important lesson that demonstrates the importance of knowing history.
“If young people are made more aware of the past, they are more likely to make socially responsible decisions in their own lives. For example, many Trinity students have not been exposed to a great deal of racial, ethnic, or religious diversity before coming to college, so I feel it is my responsibility to help them expand their understanding of this world before they enter it as gainfully employed adults.”
Brodnax received his bachelor’s degree in history at Illinois Wesleyan University. He earned a law degree at the University of Iowa before receiving a master’s in history at Northwestern University. In the spring of 2007, Brodnax successfully defended his doctoral dissertation at Northwestern. He joined the faculty at Trinity Christian College in 2005.
He enjoys seeing his students grow intellectually through their hard work and hearing them talk about how his classes have exposed them to historical events and ideas that they never heard before.
He lives in Oak Park, Illinois, with his oldest son David Jr., and he attends Covenant United Church of Christ in South Holland, Illinois.
Ph.D., Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 2007
M.A., Northwestern University, Evanston, Illinois, 2000
J.D., University of Iowa College of Law, Iowa City, 1999
B.A., Illinois Wesleyan University, Bloomington, Illinois, 1996
Courses and Publications/Research
- African American History
- African History
- America & Western Civilization
- Black Cinema
- Cities in America
- The Civil Rights Movement
- Europe & Western Civilization
- History of Sport
- Introduction to Historical Inquiry
- Latin American History
- Senior History Seminar
- U.S. History, 1800-1900
Papers Published and/or Presented
“Breathing the Freedom’s Air”: The African American Struggle for Equal Citizenship in Iowa, 1830-1900, in progress.
“An Element of Discord”: The African American Struggle for Education in Iowa, 1830-1900. National Association of African American Studies. Baton Rouge. February 2012.
“Righteousness Like a Mighty Stream”: The Role of the Christian Church in the Civil Rights Movement. Westminster Presbyterian Church, Munster, Indiana. February 2012.
Appeared in the documentary Alexander Clark: Lost in History, created by Communications Research Institute for Iowa Public Television. January 2012.
Black Suffrage in Postwar Iowa. Association for the Study of African American Life and History. Richmond, Virginia. October 2011.
African American Migration and White American Identity in Iowa, 1830-1865. North American Migration Conference, Universidad Iberoamericana. Mexico City. May 2011.
“He Who Is Worthy to Be Trusted with the Musket Can and Ought to Be Trusted with the Ballot”: Black Suffrage in Postwar Iowa. Missouri Valley History Conference. Omaha. March 2011.
“In the prosecution of a Godly enterprise”: The African American Church in Iowa, 1832-1900. Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Raleigh, North Carolina. October 2010.
Commentator, Race and Rights in the Antebellum Old Northwest. Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Annual Meeting. Rochester, New York. July 2010.
“George Grover Wright.” Yale Biographical Dictionary of American Law. Yale University Press, 2009.
“No longer to be property at all”: Fugitive Slaves in Iowa, 1830-1865. Northern Great Plains History Conference. St. Cloud, Minnesota. October 2009.
“Frederick Douglass: Defining Civil Rights, Defining America.” Frederick Douglass and Sojourner Truth: A Focus Workshop. American History Teachers’ Collaborative. Urbana, Illinois. October 2009.
“American Dreams to 1877: Many Dreams of Freedom.” Teaching American History Summer Institute. University of Illinois-Chicago. July 2009.
The 60th U.S. Colored Infantry, Iowa’s African American Civil War Regiment. 2009 Iowa Studies Forum. Des Moines Area Community College. Ankeny, Iowa. April 2009.
“In Defense of These Great Measures of Justice and Right”: The African American Community of Muscatine, Iowa, 1840-1891. 2009 Association for African American History Research & Preservation. Seattle. March 2009.
“Bo Jackson,” “Ralph Montgomery,” and “Nathaniel Morgan.” Henry Louis Gates and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, eds. African American National Biography. Harvard University Press, 2008.
The Early Civil Rights Movement in Iowa. Edna Griffin Lecture Series. Fort Des Moines Museum. Des Moines. November 2008.
“You can sell me to the devil, or any other place, but you can’t whip me”: African American Migration to Iowa during the Civil War. Missouri Valley History Conference. Omaha. March 2008.
“Will They Fight? Ask the Enemy”: The Story of the 60th U.S. Colored Infantry, Iowa’s African American Civil War Regiment. Annals of Iowa. Summer/Fall 2007.
Panel chair and commentator, Legislating Civil Rights: The Politics of Dismantling Racism in 1950s America. Great Lakes History Conference. Grand Rapids. October 2007.
“Not a Man Flinched”: Iowa’s 60th U.S. Colored Infantry. Northern Great Plains History Conference. Duluth, Minnesota. October 2007.
“A Mistaken Zeal”: Black Communities and White Resistance in Dubuque, Iowa, 1833-1840. Organization of American Historians Annual Meeting. Minneapolis. April 2007.
“Civil Rights Are Sacred Also”: The African American Experience in Davenport, 1830-1900. St. Ambrose University. Davenport. March 2007.
Awards and Memberships
Professional Society Membership
- Association for the Study of African-American Life and History
- Law and Society Association
- Organization of American Historians