Developing Scholars: Race, Politics, and the Pursuit of Higher Education
(March 2023Morel_Developing Scholar Cover_1.12.23, Oxford University Press)

Over the past fifty years, debates concerning race and college admissions have focused primarily on the policy of affirmative action at elite institutions of higher education. But a less well-known approach to affirmative action also emerged in the 1960s in response to protest and urban unrest. These programs offered a more radical, community-centered approach to college access: admitting and supporting students who do not meet regular admissions requirements and developing scholars at their local public institutions of higher education. In Developing Scholars, Domingo Morel explores the history and political factors that led to the creation of college access programs for students of color. Through a case study of an existing program, Talent Development, Morel shows how protest, including violent protest, has been instrumental in the maintenance of college access programs. He also reveals the hidden forms of restriction that emerged in response to these programs, which have significantly impacted students of color and the promise of higher education as a mechanism of opportunity.

Takeover: Race, Education, and American Democracy          (2018, Oxford University Press)
Winner of the 2019 W.E.B. Du Bois Distinguished Book of the Year Award, National Conference of Black Political Scientists

Available here: Oxford University Press,, Barnes and Noble.

Takeover_BookCoverTakeover examines how state takeovers of local governments affect Black and Latino political empowerment. The book argues that although the era of “New Federalism” in the 1970s and 1980s was associated with devolution of government authority, the shift of power from the federal level to states, led to centralization of state authority. As states gained greater powers, urban localities became increasingly subjected to state intervention. The emergence of state takeovers of local school districts in the 1980s was a consequence of the increasing authority of state governments.

The book argues that the emphasis on devolving authority to state governments was a response to the rise of Black political empowerment in American cities. I show that as cities gained greater Black representation in city government, the likelihood of a state takeover of their school district increased.  Furthermore, as Black empowerment increased, state takeovers had a negative effect on Black representation on school boards.  At the same time, the book also demonstrates that under certain conditions, state takeovers can advance Black and Latino political empowerment, contrary to conventional wisdom. State takeovers can help politically marginalized groups by disrupting the existing dominant governing regimes and by providing opportunities for previously excluded groups.

This book offers new insight into the post-1960s government response to the growth of Black political empowerment while also bucking the conventional wisdom in Political Science that state intervention in local communities is unequivocally disempowering; thus offering a novel framework for understanding how state intervention affects racialized communities.

Latino Mayors: Power and Political Change in the Postindustrial City (2018, Temple University Press)

(Co-edited with Marion Orr)

Latino Mayors web imageLatino Mayors is the first collective study of Latino mayors in the U.S.  It covers eleven (11) Latino mayors and six cities. This volume looks at Latino mayors’ political campaigns and how race, class, and economic issues shaped the formation of their winning electoral coalitions.  All of the nation’s Latino mayors entered City Hall in the post-industrial era, when the local economy became increasingly focused on service provision, finance, tourism, entertainment, and culture.  The volume examines the challenges Latino mayors have faced as they navigate the political tensions that manifest when they attempt to address the needs of low-income racialized communities and assemble governing coalitions comprised of leading corporate elites.  The volume also addresses dimensions of leadership; providing analysis of the background, motivation, skills, style, and coalition-building abilities of these pioneering mayors.


2021. Morel, Domingo, Akira Drake Rodriguez, Mara Sidney, Nakeefa Garay and Adam Straub. “Measuring and Explaining Stalled Gentrification in Newark, New Jersey: The Role of Racial Politics,” Urban Affairs Review.

2021. Matos, Yalidy and Domingo Morel. “Dominican Political Incorporation in the United States,” Latino Studies.

2021. “How Community Engagement Helped Transform the Union City Public Schools.” Peabody Journal of Education.

2020. “Who Governs?: How Shifts in Political Power Shape Perceptions of Local Government Services,” with Sally A. Nuamah. Urban Affairs Review.

2016. “Race and State in the Urban Regime.” Accepted for publication, Urban Affairs Review.

2016. “The Effects of Centralized Government Authority on Black and Latino Political Empowerment,” Political Research Quarterly.

2016. “Latino Public School Engagement and Political Socialization,” with Marion Orr, Kenneth Wong,and Emily Farris. In Urban Citizenship and American Democracy: The Historical and Institutional Roots of Local Politics and Policy, eds Amy Bridges and Michael Javen Fortner. New York: SUNY Press.

2014. “Black and Brown Coalition Formation in New England: Latino Perceptions of Cross-Racial Commonality,” with Marion Orr and Katrina Gamble. In Ciencia Politica: The Scientific Analysis of Latino Politics in the United States, eds. Anthony Affigne, Evelyn Hu-DeHart, and Marion Orr. New York: New York University Press.