Dr. Theodore Kornwiebel, Jr. was born on November 15, 1942. His interest in railroading began as a child when he read every
railroad book in the library. He became involved in the civil rights movement in the 1960s. He says that "what really sealed
my passion for African-American history was my first teaching job, which was at a still-segregated, all black state college
in Texas, Prairie View A&M College (The African-American Railroad Experience, KPBS.org, p. 7 of 19)
While studying for his Ph.D. in African American Studies at Yale in the late 1960s, Dr. Kornweibel volunteered as a gandy
dancer (track maintenance worker) on the Valley Railroad (an abandoned New York, New Haven & Hartford Railroad line) tourist
train service in eastern Connecticut.
After he received his degree from Yale, Dr. Kornweibel took a job at Lafayette College in Easton, Pennsylvania teaching black
studies. He became a volunteer track worker on the New Hope & Ivyland Railroad tourist line near Philadelphia. In 1977,
he moved to California to teach African American Studies at San Diego State University and started volunteering at the Pacific
Southwest Railway Museum in Campo, which he continues to do after 30 years.
In 1993, when the Railroad Museum of Pennsylvania asked him to recommend an authority on African American railroad history
to give a presentation. Dr. Kornweibel offered to prepare a lecture and slide presentation "Box Cars On My Mind: The African
American Railroad Heritage," which he brought to other railroad museums, including the California State Railroad Museum in
1994. He began in-depth research into the subject during a sabbatical taken in 1999-2000, which culminated in his book RAILROADS
IN THE AFRICAN AMERICAN EXPERIENCE: A PHOTOGRAPHIC JOURNEY, (Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2009.)
Dr. Kornweibel's other publications include:
THE DISPUTE OVER THE USE OF COLORED TROOPS AT THE BATTLE OF THE CRATER, JULY 30 1864. MA Thesis/Dissertation, University
of Santa Barbara, 1963.
“The occupation of Santa Catalina Island during the Civil War,” CALIFORNIA HISTORICAL SOCIETY QUARTERLY, Vol. 46, No. 4 (Dec.
1967), pp. 345-357.
THE MESSENGER MAGAZINE: 1917-1928. Thesis/Dissertation, Yale University, 1972.
NO CRYSTAL STAIR: BLACK LIFE AND THE MESSENGER, 1917-1928. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, Inc., 1975.
“Waiting for the war to come: Union camp life in 1861-1862,” NIAGARA FRONTIER, Vol. 22 (Winter 1975), pp. 87-97.
“An economic profile of black life in the twenties,” JOURNAL OF BLACK STUDIES, Vol. 6, No. 4 (June 1976), pp. 307-320.
IN SEARCH OF THE PROMISED LAND: ESSAYS IN BLACK URBAN HISTORY. Port Washington, New York: Kennikat Press, 1981.
“Humphrey Bogart’s sabara: Propaganda, cinema, and the American character in World War II,” AMERICAN STUDIES, Vol. 22, No.
1 (Spring 1981), pp. 5-19.
“Apathy and dissent: Black America’s negative responses to World War I,” SOUTH ATLANTIC QUARTERLY, Vol. 80, No. 3 (Summer
1981), pp. 322-338.
“Life after Milwaukee?” TRAINS MAGAZINE, October 1981, pp. 26-29.
FEDERAL SURVEILLANCE OF AFRO-AMERICANS, 1917-1925 THE FIRST WORLD WAR, THE RED SCARE, AND THE GARVEY MOVEMENT, edited by Theodore
Kornweibel. Frederick, Maryland: University Publisher of America, 1985.
BISHOP C.H. MASON AND THE CHURCH OF GOD IN CHRIST DURING WORLD WAR I: THE PERILS OF CONSCIENTIOUS OBJECTION. Natchitoches,
Louisiana: Southern Studies Institute of Northwestern State University, 1987.
SEEING RED: FEDERAL CAMPAIGNS AGAINST BLACK MILITANCY, 1919-1925. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University Press, 1998.
FEDERAL INJUSTICE: CAMPAIGNS AGAINST BLACK MILITANCY DURING THE FIRST RED SCARE. Bloomington, Indiana: Indiana University
INVESTIGATE EVERYTHING: FEDERAL EFFORTS TO COMPEL BLACK LOYALTY DURING WORLD WAR I. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press,
“VOOGD, Race riots and resistance: The red summer of 1919,” THE JOURNAL OF SOUTHERN HISTORY, Vol. 76, No. 3 (2010), p. 771.
Dr. Kornweibel is currently a professor emeritus in African American history at San Diego State University. He and his wife,
Catherine have two sons, Daniel and James.