Alumni Fellows

ashley coleman taylorAshley Coleman Taylor is an interdisciplinary ethnographer specializing in the lived experiences of black corporeality, black genders and sexualities, and African diaspora religious experience. Her current research and teaching explore? the phenomenology of black queer gender performance, queerness in Afro-Latinx dance forms, southern black femme corporeality, and the pragmatics of Atlanta queer and trans* activism. While at JWJI, she worked on An Oral History of Black LGBT Atlanta, a digital humanities project combining video and audio interviews, photographic archives, and life histories within a searchable database. This community-based project is funded in part through an Arcus Foundation grant.

Additionally, Coleman Taylor made substantial progress on revising her dissertation, Pragmatic Embodiment: Race, Class, Gender and Religious Experience in the Puerto Rican Imaginary, into a book manuscript. The book project employs Jamesian pragmatism and black feminist thought to examine lived experiences of blackness, gender, and corporeality in the Puerto Rican context. She is specifically interested in Afro-Puerto Rican sacred and secular spaces where women resist coloniality and its prescriptives for black female embodiment. 

Project Title: An Oral History of Black LGBT Atlanta

erik love

Erik Love received his doctorate in Sociology at the University of California, Santa Barbara in 2011. He was appointed Assistant Professor of Sociology at Dickinson College in Pennsylvania in 2012, where he also served as Chair of Middle East Studies. Love’s first book, Islamophobia and Racism in the United States is forthcoming from New York University Press. This book shows that even though Islamophobia is clearly a form of racism, Middle Eastern American advocacy organizations have not made use of civil rights advocacy strategies that are expected in the “post-Civil Rights Era.” By placing Middle Eastern American advocacy organizations into context with sociological knowledge about race and civil rights, the book shows how legal and social protections against racism—thought to be durable and strong—have unfortunately proven to be short-lived and weak.

At the Johnson Institute, Love worked on a new project that examines advocacy organizations working to improve public transportation in the United States. This research provides another look at the ways in which civil rights advocates negotiate race as they seek to reverse longstanding discrimination. The trend of disinvestment in public services such as transit has disproportionately affected people of color, but once again questions remain as to whether advocacy organizations can confront this problem with the tools of the “post-Civil Rights Era.”

Erik Love’s work appears in peer-reviewed journals, in two edited collections, and his opinion pieces have been featured in places like Al Jazeera English and Jadaliyya.

Project Title: Held Hostage to Race: Public Transit Advocacy in the United States

emily pope-obeda

Emily Pope-Obeda earned her PhD in History from University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and has a B.A. in History and American Studies from Brandeis University. Her research and teaching interests include late nineteenth and early twentieth century migration, race, ethnicity, and labor and working-class history Her dissertation project, entitled “’When in Doubt, Deport!’: U.S. Deportation and the Local Policing of Global Migration in the 1920s,” focuses on the rise and expansion of the modern deportation regime. She argues that deportation has played a central role in defining the nation, and traces its practice through various levels of space and authority to explain its growth from a small, selective system into one of the most powerful modern forms of state power and policing. Her work explores how deportation critically illuminates the history of immigration policy, but also reflected and shaped discourses on race, political ideology, class, criminology, medical pathologies, and gender or sexual transgressions. During the fellowship year, she worked on revising her dissertation into a manuscript, and conducted research for an article on African-American response to and discourse around deportation and immigration restriction throughout the early twentieth century.

Project Title: Deportation in the Americas: Histories of Exclusion 

katie schank

Katie Marages Schank graduated with a B.A. in Architectural History from the University of Virginia and went on to earn an M.A. and Ph.D. in American Studies from George Washington University. Her research interests include U.S urban history, U.S. cultural history, visual culture, the built environment, and the study of race and class. While in residence at Emory, she worked on a manuscript based on her dissertation titled, "Producing the Projects: How Racial and Spatial Representations Shaped Public Housing in Atlanta, Georgia, 1933-2011." In this project, Schank employs an interdisciplinary approach to examine the cultural creation of Atlanta’s public housing from the New Deal era to the neoliberal reimagining and remaking of the urban landscape. Placing visual representations of public housing and its occupants into both an historical and cultural context, Schank examines the role that Atlanta’s public housing played in larger debates about public housing policy, race, class, and 20th century urban history. Schank has presented her work widely at national conferences, and has been awarded two student paper prizes as well as research and travel grants in recognition of the originality and scholarly contributions of her work.

Project Title: Producing the Projects: How Racial and Spatial Representations Shaped Public Housing in Atlanta, Georgia

Nikki Brown

Nikki Brown is an Associate Professor of History at the University of New Orleans.  She majored in History at Oberlin College, and she earned a PhD in History from Yale University in 2001.  Her book, Private Politics and Public Voices:  Black Women’s Activism from World War I to the New Deal (Indiana University Press) won the Letitia Woods Brown Award for Best Book in African American Women’s in History in 2006.  The major themes in Dr. Brown’s work are: gender, race, identity, representation, and politics.  Dr. Brown is also a professional photographer, and is has recently completed a photography project on African American men in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina.  She is currently working on a book about Louisiana’s Civil Rights Movement.  She travels often to Turkey, where she is also preparing an oral history of the Afro-Turks, the African descendants of slaves in the Ottoman Empire.

Project Title: From Homer Plessy to Hurricane Katrina: A Photographic History of Louisiana’s Civil Rights Movement

Michelle Gordon

Michelle Y. Gordon works in the arenas of American literature, black studies, and cultural studies, with particular interests in the literary and cultural labors of the Left, civil rights history, black women’s studies, and cultural memory. While in residence at Emory, she focused on completing her monograph, Bringing down Babylon: The Chicago Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and African American Freedom Struggles, and developing a related, online encyclopedia of the Black Arts Movement. Bringing down Babylon offers a radical literary and cultural history of black Chicago, from the Great Depression through the rise of the Black Power era, and examines the relationships between African American arts and freedom struggles.  While exploring the work and activism of figures like Gwendolyn Brooks, Richard Wright and Lorraine Hansberry, this project contributes to the ongoing reconsiderations of radical American cultural history and developing civil rights studies beyond the U.S. South. 

Project Title: Bringing down Babylon: The Chicago Renaissance, the Black Arts Movement, and African American Freedom Struggles

Carl Suddler

Carl Suddler earned his Ph.D. in history from Indiana University. His research interests focus on  constructions of youth, race, and crime in the twentieth century United States. Specifically, Suddler explores how the justice systems and their associated authorities contributed to racialized constructions of  youth criminality, primarily in the urban North. Currently, Suddler is Visitng Assistant Professor of History at the University of Delaware. He is at work on a manuscript titled Young Forever: The Criminalization of Urban Youth, 1939–1964. In this historical study of authoritative responses to crime and delinquency, he  argues that Black youths in the mid-twentieth century experienced firsthand the ills of criminalization as the juvenile justice system shifted its priorities from saving delinquent youths to controlling crime. But the practices and processes of criminalization extended further than the juvenile justice system and, as a result, such a reach limited their social progress and ascribed Black youths as criminal and delinquent. 

Project Title: Young Forever: The Criminalization of Urban Youth, 1939-1964

Stephen A. BerreyStephen A. Berrey
Assistant Professor of American Culture & History
University of Michigan
Project Title: The Jim Crow Routine: Everyday Performances of
Race and the End of Segregation in Mississippi


anastasia curwoodAnastasia Curwood
Assistant Professor of African American & Diaspora Studies
Vanderbilt University
Project Title: Aim High: The Life and Times of Shirley Chisholm


Moon-Kie Jung
Associate Professor of Sociology
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Project Title: Denaturalizing Racism


Sherie M. RandolphSherie M. Randolph
Assistant Professor of History and AfroAmerican & African Studies
University of Michigan
Project Title: Black Feminist Radical: Florynce "Flo" Kennedy


Caroline H. YangCaroline H. Yang
Assistant Professor of Asian American Studies
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Project Title: Reconstruction's Labor: The Chinese Worker in American Literature after Slavery

Scot BrownScot Brown is a Professor of History and African American Studies at the University of California at Los Angeles.  He received a BA in History at the University of Rochester and went on to earn doctoral and master’s degrees in Africana Studies and History from Cornell University.  Brown has taught at the Rochester City School District, Prince George’s County Public Schools, The University of Rennes (France), San Francisco State University, University of Houston and Cornell University.   He is the author of the book Fighting for Us (2003), a study of cultural nationalism and the Black Power movement during the 1960s and 70s. Brown has appeared in prize-winning film documentaries -- 41st and Central: The Untold Story of the L.A. Black Panthers (2009) and The Black Candle: A Kwanzaa Celebration (2008).  Brown also serves as a music historian and commentator on the TV ONE documentary series Unsung.  While in residence at the James Weldon Johnson Institute he will be writing a book examining the impact of arts education and the politics of race in the development of a distinctive African American music tradition in Dayton, Ohio.   Beyond the disproportionately large number of soul and funk bands hailing from this mid-western city and its surrounding area--Ohio Players, Slave, Aurra, Lakeside, Steve Arrington’s Hall of Fame, Sun, Heatwave, Faze-O, Roger Troutman and Zapp--is a rich story of Black cultural innovation in the midst of the social politics of residential segregation and access to working class jobs.

Michan Andrew ConnorMichan Andrew Connor is an Assistant Professor of interdisciplinary studies in the School of Urban and Public Affairs at the University of Texas at Arlington. He completed his PhD in 2008 from the Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California after earning a BA in American Studies from Northwestern University.  In his research, including articles forthcoming in the Journal of Urban History, Connor seeks to develop a metropolitan framework of historical analysis, using interdisciplinary approaches to synthesize the fields of urban and suburban history, paying particular attention to the ways that fragmented local government both supports and rationalizes racial inequalities.  His project as a visiting fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute is Fulton and Milton: Metropolitan History and the Political Spaces of “Color-Blind” Racism.  This study will use the federal voting rights lawsuit Lowery v. Deal, which was filed in 2011 and dismissed in 2012, as a launching point for evaluating the past and present racial politics of local government boundaries in metropolitan Atlanta, encompassing the resistance of outlying parts of Fulton County to annexation by the city of Atlanta, the incorporation of majority-white suburban municipalities, and ongoing efforts by residents of the cities north of Atlanta to secede from Fulton County. Connor’s research will develop historical context for current controversies about political organization in greater Atlanta, evaluate the proposition that metropolitan fragmentation and place-based inequality constitute the newest front in struggles for social justice, and explore the relationship between race-neutral political discourses about community and local government that prevail today and older patterns of racial conflict and inequality.

Anastasia CurwoodAnastasia Curwood is Assistant Professor of African American and Diaspora Studies and affiliated faculty in history at Vanderbilt University. She earned an AB from Bryn Mawr College and an MA and PhD, both in History, from Princeton University.  She specializes in the history of African-American women, gender, and sexuality, the black family, and African-American intellectual, political, and cultural history in the twentieth century.  Curwood is the recipient of several grants and honors, including a 2008-2009 Career Enhancement Fellowship from the Woodrow Wilson National Fellowship Foundation and a 2004-2005 Ford Postdoctoral Fellowship.  Her first book, Stormy Weather: Middle-Class African American Marriages Between the Two World Wars (2010) centered on the cultural and social contests over African-Americans' marriages in the early twentieth century.  During her time at the James Weldon Johnson Institute Dr. Curwood will be at work on a second book entitled Aim High: The Life of Shirley Chisholm. This critical biography combines political and social history to explain why Chisholm was both the first woman and the first African American to mount a serious campaign for the United States presidency, and how her political career shows the possibilities and limitations of the civil rights and women's liberation movements. 

Mary E. FredericksonMary E. Frederickson is Professor of History at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She received her BA from Emory University and her PhD in history from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Her research and teaching focuses on gender, race, labor studies, and the social impact of disease and health care. A Visiting Bye-Fellow, Selwyn College, Cambridge, UK in 2000, she also taught at the University of Alabama, Birmingham and completed her post-doctoral training at the Center for Research on Women at Wellesley College. At Miami, she has been awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the College of Arts and Science and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Ohio Academy of History. In 2010 she was a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC.  In 2011, she published Looking South: Race, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor, a study of the low-wage, anti-union and state-supported industries that marked the creation of the New South and now the Global South. She is the co-editor of Sisterhood and Solidarity and Gendered Resistance, a new edited volume that will be published in 2013. Her published articles include works on labor and cultural history, new trajectories in women’s history, and the relationship between historical consciousness and activism. While at the James Weldon Johnson Institute, she will be working on a new book project entitled The Genetic Imaginary: Sickle Cell Disease in Global Perspective which examines the social, legal, and medical history of sickle cell disease (SCD).

Eric Darnell PritchardEric Darnell Pritchard is an Assistant Professor in African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. He holds a BA in English-Liberal Arts from Lincoln University, and an MA in Afro-American Studies and PhD in English from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research and teaching interests include: literacy history and theory, rhetoric, African American literature, Black queer theory, Black feminist theory, hip hop studies, and fashion studies. His writings appear in Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International, Southern Communication Journal, Home Girls Makes Some Noise: Hip Hop Feminism Anthology, African American Review, and Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.  He recently completed his first book-length manuscript titled Fashioning Lives: Black Queers and the Politics of Literacy. While in residence at the Johnson Institute, he will work on a project that explores the role of literacy in the activism of 1970s and 1980s grassroots Black LGBT organizations, which drew upon the connections of race and sexuality to create unique forms of intervention steeped in LGBT of color history, culture, and experience.

Emilye CrosbyEmilye Crosby is Professor of History and coordinator of Africana/Black Studies at SUNY Geneseo. She received her B.A. from Macalester College and her M.A. and Ph.D. from Indiana University. Her teaching and scholarly interests lie in African-American and women's history, especially the modern Civil Rights Movement. At Geneseo, she has been awarded the Chancellor's Award for Excellence in Teaching, the President's Award for Excellence in Research and Creativity, and the Spencer Roemer Supported Professorship. Her first book, A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi (University of North Carolina press, 2005), was supported by a National Endowment for the Humanities fellowship, was awarded the McLemore Prize by the Mississippi Historical Society, and earned an honorable mention for the Organization of American Historians' Liberty Legacy award. She also edited Civil Rights History from the Ground Up: Local Struggles a National Movement (University of Georgia press, 2011). While in residence at the Johnson Institute, she will work on a new book project, "Anything I was big enough to do: A History of SNCC Women," with a focus on case studies of SNCC women in Albany and Atlanta, Georgia. By combining case studies with thematic chapters, Crosby will ground the experiences of SNCC women in the complexity and particulars of specific communities and contexts, while engaging the broad sweep of women's experiences in the organization.

Hilton KellyHilton Kelly is an Assistant Professor of education at Davidson College. He received his B.A. in history from the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and both his M.S. in labor studies and Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. In 2006-2007, Kelly received a Consortium for Faculty Diversity Dissertation Fellowship. His research and teaching interests include the Age of Jim Crow, education in African-American history and culture, the lives, work and careers of black educators, critical race theory, and social memory studies. In 2010, he published his first book, titled Race, Remembering, and Jim Crow’s Teachers, in the Routledge Studies in African-American History and Culture Series. The book advances a new theory of collective remembering based upon James Scott’s notion of hidden transcripts--latent reports of the social world created and lived in all-black schools and communities. He argues that participants in his study remember from hidden transcripts which challenge official records of what legally segregated schools used to be; the oral narratives of Jim Crow’s teachers reveal a critique of power and a fight for respectability that shaped teachers’ work in the Age of Jim Crow. During his residency at the Johnson Institute, he will investigate the life and death of civil rights scholar- activist Marion Thompson Wright, a former student and professor at Howard University who committed suicide in 1962. In addition to this biographical project, he is guest co-editing a special issue of Educational Studies on “black teachers theorizing” that rethinks the way in which research on black teachers has focused more on practice than theorizing, which promises to make a significant contribution to the fields of African-American studies and educational studies. His articles have appeared in Urban Education, Educational Studies, The Urban Review, and The American Sociologist.

Daniel RiversDaniel Rivers is a historian of U.S. radical social movements and LGBT communities in the twentieth century, the family and sexuality, and Native American history with interdisciplinary training in American Literature and critical theories of gender, race, and sexuality.  He received a BA in English Literature from the University of California at Berkeley, an MA in U.S. Literature from the University of California at Santa Barbara, and a PhD in United States History from Stanford University. He is the recipient of a number of fellowships, including a Social Science Research Council Sexuality fellowship and a Mellon Postdoctoral Fellowship at Smith College, where he taught LGBT history and the history of sexuality and the family. His publications include an article on the history of gay and lesbian custody cases in Journal of Social History and an article on oral histories and lesbian and gay experiences in the pre-liberation movement era that will appear in a forthcoming anthology from Oxford University Press.  He is currently finishing revisions on his book, Radical Relations: Lesbian Mothers, Gay Fathers, and their Children in the United States since the Second World War, under contract with the University of North Carolina Press.

R. Drew SmithR. Drew Smith is Scholar-in-Residence at the Leadership Center at Morehouse College and is a Fellow in the Department of Philosophy and Systematic Theology at the University of South Africa. He has held faculty appointments at Indiana University and Butler University, visiting appointments at University of Virginia and Case Western Reserve University, and has served as the Director of the Center for the Church and the Black Experience at Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary in Illinois. He has also served as a Fulbright Professor at the University of Pretoria and as a Fulbright Senior Specialist at Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Cameroon. He earned his Bachelor’s degree from Indiana University, a Master of Divinity degree from Yale Divinity School, and an M.A. and Ph.D. in political science from Yale University. His research and teaching has focused on intersections between religion, race, civil rights, and poverty and has informed a number of projects he has initiated and directed on religion and public life. His work has received support from funders such as Pew Charitable Trusts, the Annie E. Casey Foundation, Ford Foundation, the Center for Social Development, and the Society for the Scientific Study of Religion. He is the editor of five books on religion and public life, guest editor of three special journal collections, and is the author of dozens of articles, chapters, and reports. While at the Johnson Institute, he is writing a book under contract with Columbia University Press on contemporary black clergy activism. The book examines operational changes related to the skill sets, professional profile, and financial resources required for effective political participation within America’s contemporary public square, with close attention paid to tactical uses of media technologies and professionalized organizational vehicles, including organized lobbying structures.

Jake Adam YorkJake Adam York is an Associate Professor of English and Creative Writing at the University of Colorado Denver. He holds a BA in English from Auburn University, an MFA in Creative Writing from Cornell University, and an MA and PhD in English, with a specialization in American Poetry, from Cornell University. He is the author of one work of literary history—The Architecture of Address: The Monument and Public Speech in American Poetry (Routledge 2005), a discussion of the ways visual and architectural systems influenced public poetry from Whitman to Robert Lowell. He is also the author of three books of poems that explore the meaning of the Civil Rights era in contemporary memory, including A Murmuration of Starlings (Southern Illinois University Press 2008), winner of the Colorado Book Award, and Persons Unknown (SIUP 2010). His articles and poems have appeared in numerous publications including The Oxford American, The Southern Review, Arts and Letters Daily, Ninth Letter. While in residence at the Johnson Institute, he will be working on a study of responses to the Civil Rights Movement in sculpture, painting, music, and literature, entitled Monument and Memento. This study seeks to articulate the cultural meaning of the Civil Rights Movement as recorded in works of art; the study will situate those works in the history of their media and in currents of thought that penetrate those media at the moment of their creation. Monument and Memento will examine the work of Maya Lin, Kerry James Marshall, Wynton Marsalis, Jason Moran, Robert Glasper, OutKast, William Faulkner, Harper Lee, and others.

Devin FergusDevin Fergus is Assistant Professor of History at Hunter College, City University of New York. He received his B.A. from North Carolina State University, and Ph.D. in history from Columbia University. His scholarly and teaching interests include politics, social policy, and race. Previous sponsors include the Mellon Fund (Cambridge), the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the Rothermere American Institute (Oxford), the Gilder Lehrman Institute, NEH, and the DuPont, Ford, and Rockefeller foundations. At the Johnson Institute, Professor Fergus is finishing research on Land of the Fee. The book explores the historical reasons for the sharp increase in economic inequality beginning in the 1970s, what policy makers have done to aggravate and remedy this disparity, and what has proven to be its significance in the U.S. and abroad. Land of the Fee also serves as the basis for a documentary film with Rubicon Productions. In addition to the monograph and film, he is guest coeditor of a special issue of the journal Kalfou, titled Banking Without Borders: Culture and Credit in the New Financial World, that maps the "new world" of race, social and economic restructuring, and wealth transfer forged by deregulation and neoliberalism. His first book, Liberalism, Black Power, and the Making of American Politics, 1965-1980 (Georgia, 2009) was named the "Choice Outstanding Academic Book" by the American Library Association.

Kai Jackson IssaKai Jackson Issa is managing editor of the Howard Thurman Papers Project at Morehouse College. She earned her BA in Liberal Studies from Sarah Lawrence College and her MA and PhD in American Studies from the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts at Emory University. Her teaching and scholarly interests lie in African American women's literature, biography and activism, particularly as it relates to constructions of identity and self. Her dissertation was a critical study of the Harlem, New York political activist Queen Mother Moore. In addition to her scholarly work, Kai has held residencies at the Callaloo Writer's Workshop and the MacDowell Colony for her fiction projects. Her 2008 children's book, Howard Thurman's Great Hope, was selected a Notable Books for Children by Smithsonian Magazine. During her residency at the Johnson Institute, she will engage in a critical examination of Sue Bailey Thurman (1903-1996), who was an important figure in the twentieth-century movement for social justice and civil rights as well as the wife of noted theologian Howard Thurman. A major outcome of Kai’s work at the Johnson Institute will be completing a critical anthology of Bailey Thurman's letters and writings, which will illuminate the global focus of her educational projects, her pioneering work in archival preservation, and her visionary leadership and participation in leading black women's organizations of the period. The Bailey Thurman and Louise Thompson Patterson Collections housed at Emory University’s Manuscript and Rare Book Library will serve as a major resource. The project is an outgrowth of her work since 2003 on The Papers of Howard Washington Thurman, a multi-volume documentary edition edited by Walter Earl Fluker and published by the University of South Carolina Press.

Vincent LloydVincent Lloyd is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Georgia State University. He received his B.A. from Princeton and his M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of California - Berkeley. His teaching and research interests lie at the intersection of religion, race, and politics. His research at the Johnson Institute focuses on Martin Luther King, Jr.'s use of natural law. This is part of a larger project examining the role of natural law language, including "higher law" and "God’s law," in African American political thought and rhetoric from Frederick Douglass to King. The project suggests that the black natural law tradition can inflect current debates about natural law as well as debates about African American political theory. Lloyd’s publications include two books, Law and Transcendence and The Problem with Grace (forthcoming), and he is currently co-editing a collection of essays on race and political theology. His articles have appeared in academic journals including Philosophia Africana, Social Text, Journal of Religious Ethics, and Theory & Event.

Shana L. RedmondShana L. Redmond is Assistant Professor of American Studies and Ethnicity at the University of Southern California. She received her B.A. in African American Studies and Music from Macalester College (St. Paul, MN) where she was a Mellon Mays Fellow and her combined Ph.D. in African American Studies and American Studies from Yale University. Her scholarly and teaching interests include the formation and political cultures of the African diaspora, Black popular culture (especially music), comparative ethnic studies, labor and working class studies, and African American history. She has received awards and fellowships from the Social Science Research Council, The Woodrow Wilson Foundation, University of Notre Dame, Association of Black Women Historians, and the College of Letters, Arts & Sciences at USC. Prof. Redmond has presented her work at numerous conferences in the U.S. as well as abroad in Ghana and Germany and her publications appear in The Western Journal of Black Studies, The Journal of Popular Culture, and African and Black Diaspora (forthcoming). While in residency at the Johnson Institute, she will complete her manuscript, Anthem: Movement Cultures and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora, which traces the modern development and performance of anthems amongst Afro-diasporic populations and argues the centrality of this "sound franchise" to the cultural, social, and political formations of the African diaspora in the twentieth century.

Richard Steven StreetRichard Steven Street is an academically-trained historian, fluent in the photographic and journalistic idioms, who founded a business, Streetshots photography. For a quarter century he covered agriculture, defined broadly, including the farmworker movement. He received his A.B. from U.C. Berkeley, his M.A. from U.C. Davis, and his Ph.D from the University of Wisconsin, Madison. He has been a Guggeheim Fellow; an NEH Fellow, with special "We the People" project designation; the Ansel Adams Fellow, Center for Creative Photography; the Alicia Mellon Burrows Senior Fellow, National Gallery of Art, Center for Advanced Study in Visual Art; and a Visiting? Professor and Fellow in the Stanford University Humanities Center and History Department. Street is finishing a multi-volume, comprehensive history of California farmworkers.? He is finishing two research projects. 1) Subversive Images: Leonard Nadel’s Massive Photo Essay on Bracero Laborers in 1956, to be published by the University of Nebraska Press. I am an academically-trained historian, fluent in the photographic and journalistic idioms, who founded a business, Streetshots photography. I spent 35 years as a commercial photographer specializing in agriculture, defined broadly. But I trained as an academic historian (PhD Wisconsin) and deliberately veered from the anointed path in order to completely master all facets of my field of study, and to produce first-rate scholarship. "The most important aspect of my "double life," as SMU history Professor David Weber calls it, is the way it has allowed me to complete the core of my research, produce four volumes of a multi-volume history of California farmworkers, and to base my work on in real life experiences with migrant farmworkers."

Dr. Trimiko MelanconDr. Trimiko Melancon is an Assistant Professor of English, Women’s Studies and Africana Studies at Auburn University. She earned her B.A. in English from Xavier University of Louisiana and her M.A. and Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Her teaching and scholarly interests lie primarily in African American and American literature and culture; black feminist theory and criticism; critical race, gender, and sexuality studies; and African American and Black German Studies. An inaugural Visiting Scholar at the James Weldon Johnson Institute, Professor Melancon has been the J. William Fulbright Scholar of American Literature and American Studies in Berlin, Germany, a Mellon Mays University Fellow, and a Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar. She has received grants and fellowships that have facilitated the continued support of her interdisciplinary research and teaching: from the Andrew W. Mellon, Woodrow Wilson, and Nellie Mae Foundations, as well as the Social Science Research Council. Her publications appear in African American Review, Callaloo, and the Encyclopedia of African American Women Writers. During her residency at the Johnson Institute, she is completing her manuscript Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women and the Politics of Representation, which examines, through the trope of sexuality, post-civil rights novelists’ subversion of representations of black women in the American literary and cultural imagination.

Chandra Tyler MountainChandra Tyler Mountain is Associate Professor of English at Dillard University in New Orleans. She received her B.A. in English and Communications from Oakwood College in Huntsville, Alabama, and her M.A. and Ph.D in English from the University of Florida in Gainesville. Professor Mountain’s teaching and scholarly interests lie in African and Caribbean women’s literatures, American ethnic literatures, and feminist theories.  Her current research, entitled Dead End Street:  Reading the Signs, Hitting the Walls and Speaking Madness, explores madness in the writings of women of Africa and the African Diaspora, seeks to define it and advance a theoretical position on madness as a social text.  The project uses Africana women’s literary texts: to provide an alternative and (Afri)woman-centered theory of madness; to elucidate representations of madness in Africana women’s texts; to examine the social and political contexts and experiences of Africana women and unveil the reasons for Black women’s literary madness; to reveal moments of connection and disconnection between women of Africa and women of the Diaspora and discuss how those connections and disconnections impact social, mental, emotional stability and discusses literary responses to Africana women’s madness.  The full manuscript focuses on a narrow selection of novels by authors from West Africa, the Caribbean, and the United States.  In most cases, individual chapters focus on literary texts either set in or by an author from each of the three areas and illuminates representations, manifestations, and activities of madness and “mad” characters in the literature of Africana women.  Professor Mountain is in residence at the Johnson Institute under the auspices of the Faculty Residency Program.

Mab SegrestMab Segrest is currently Fuller-Maathai Professor of Gender and Women’s Studies at Connecticut College in New London.   She received her BA from Huntingdon College in Montgomery, Alabama, and her MA and PhD from Duke University in British and American Literature.   She has worked as teacher, writer and organizer for over thirty years.  She is author of My Mama’s Dead Squirrel:  Lesbian Essays on Southern Culture; Memoir of a Race Traitor; and Born to Belonging:  Writings on Spirit and Justice.  Her current project, LUNACY ADMINISTRATION, focuses on the state mental hospital in Milledgeville, Georgia (by its own claims the largest in the world in the 1950s an 1960s with the largest graveyard of disabled people) and extends her intellectual work over the past three decades on Southern studies and on anti-racist, feminist and queer political movements.  LUNACY ADMINISTRATION uses archival materials and oral history to explore the links between the African-American civil rights movement and the movement for the rights of psychiatric patients.  The locale in Jim Crow Georgia of this gargantuan hospital – “American psychiatry writ large,” in the terms of psychiatric historian Edwin Shorter – foregrounds the role of race, gender, class and sexuality in the construction of mental illness and its treatments in state institutions that by mid-twentieth century became egregious violators of what were emerging in national and international law as civil and human rights.  The recognition and response to the treatment of psychiatric patients in turn helped to produce and inform the resurgence of feminism, the early gay rights movement and the movement for disability rights. The history of the Milledgeville hospital makes clear that all of these movements had shared roots in anti-fascist modernity. The writings of Georgia liberation theologians Howard Thurman and Martin Luther King, JR, provide an alternative psychology of struggle and freedom that stands in dialectical relationship to the increasingly truncated versions of the “real,” the “sane,” and the “normal” in the diagnostic categories and treatments of hospitals such as Milledgeville.

William B. Turner William B. Turner is a leading authority on the history of the lesbian/gay/bisexual/trangender (LGBT) civil rights movement, having published an article in The Journal of Policy History on the statutory exclusion of lesbian/gay aliens from the United States from 1917 to 1990, and the chapter on lesbian/gay civil rights in the Carter and Reagan administrations in his co-edited volume, Creating Change: Sexuality, Public Policy, and Civil Rights, still virtually the only scholarly work on the topic.  During his year at the Johnson Institute, he investigated the connections and disconnections between the LGBT and the African American civil rights movements, primarily by examining the papers of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force (NGLTF) on microfilm.  This research will materially advance Turner’s work on his next book, The New Civil Rights: Lesbian/Gay/Bisexual/Transgender Politics and Policy in the United States, 1973 to 2000.  The NGLTF is the nation’s oldest LGBT civil rights organization, and has a long-standing commitment to anti-racist work as part of its mission.  On one hand, many prominent African American leaders, including Coretta Scott King, Jesse Jackson, and Georgia’s own John Lewis, actively support LGBT civil rights as an extension of the African American civil rights movement.  On the other hand, some prominent African Americans deplore such comparisons and more or less actively oppose LGBT civil rights.  Conservative activists have deliberately encouraged African American hostility toward LGBT civil rights and activists. 

Tekla Ali JohnsonTekla Ali Johnson earned a Ph.D. in history at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2005. Dr. Johnson served as Assistant Professor of History at North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University from 2004-2006. She is presently an Assistant Professor of History at Johnson C. Smith University in Charlotte, North Carolina, where she serves as the Coordinator of the African & African American Studies Program, Coordinator of the History Program; and is the co-founder of a Program in Public History. Dr. Johnson has published articles on race in the Journal of Contemporary American Studies, and the Black Scholar, and has authored a chapter on Frederick Douglass in Commemorating the Sesquicentennial of the Kansas-Nebraska Act of 1854, John R. Wunder, Ed., the University of Nebraska Press, 2008; and co-authored a chapter in Africana Cultures and Policy Studies: How African American HistoryCulture, and Studies Can Transform Africana Public Policy, in the Contemporary Black History Series, at Palgrave Macmillan, Ed. Manning Marable and Peniel Joseph, 2008-2009. She co-edited a textbook, Africana Legacy: Diasporic Studies in the Americas, (Tapestry Press, 2006) with Dr. Cecily B. McDaniel. Dr. Johnson was recently named an Exemplary Diversity Scholar for 2008-2009, by the University of Michigan’s National Center for Institutional Diversity. While in residence at the Johnson Institute, she will complete her book Defender of the Downtrodden: a Political Biography of Ernest Chambers, currently under review with Texas Tech University Press. Professor Johnson is in residence at the Johnson Institute under the auspices of the UNCF/Mellon Faculty Residency Program.

Robbie LiebermanRobbie Lieberman received her B.A. from the University of California at Berkeley and her M.A. and Ph.D. in American Culture from the University of Michigan.  She is currently Professor of History in the Department of History at Southern Illinois University at Carbondale, Illinois. The working title of her current project is “`Peace and Civil Rights Don’t Mix, They Say’:  Division, Repression, and Resistance, 1945-1963.”  Her research will examine the relationship between the peace movement and the African American freedom movement from the end of World War II to the early 1960s, before Vietnam became a major public issue. The project explores some of the ways in which pressure on individuals and organizations to distance themselves from ideas and organizations associated with the Left contributed to dividing civil rights from peace, but it will also highlight examples of activists who resisted these constraints.

Dr. Trimiko MelanconDr. Trimiko Melancon is an Assistant Professor of English, Women’s Studies and Africana Studies at Auburn University.  She received her B.A. in English from Xavier University of Louisiana and her M.A. and Ph.D. in African American Studies from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Massachusetts. Professor Melancon’s teaching and scholarly interests lie primarily in African American and American literature and culture; black women’s literature and feminist theory; critical race, gender, and sexuality studies; and African American and Black German Studies.  During her residency at the Johnson Institute, she will complete her manuscript Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women and the Politics of Representation, which examines, through the trope of sexuality, post-civil rights novelists’ subversion of representations of black women in the American literary and cultural imagination.  Foregrounding selected texts, this study analyzes these writers’ characterizations of black women who not only diverge from stereotypical images imposed by ideologies of “whiteness,” but also rebel unapologetically against constructions of female identity imposed by nationalist discourse generally and black nationalism particularly. Drawing upon black feminist, critical race, and performance theories, as well as gender and sexuality discourse, Unbought and Unbossed examines these characters’ transgressive behavior, particularly with regard to their sexuality, as, in part, a means to create a modern black identity.

Joshua M. Price Joshua M. Price is Associate Professor in the Program in Philosophy, Interpretation, and Culture at the State University of New York at Binghamton, where he is also affiliated with the Program in Latin American and Caribbean Areas Studies. He received his doctorate in socio-cultural anthropology from the University of Chicago in 1998. From 2004 – 2007, he directed the NAACP’s Broome County Jail Health Care Project. This university-community collaboration, which he co-founded, monitors the health care of incarcerated people at the county jail, primarily through training students and community members to conduct interviews with currently and formerly incarcerated people. In 2006, he co-founded the Southern Tier Social Justice Project, composed of formerly incarcerated people and their allies, to advocate for formerly incarcerated people in the face of discrimination in housing, employment, health care, at the hands of parole officers, the police, and in other areas. For his efforts he has been honored as Citizen of the Year by the Broome/Tioga County NAACP. He has also received a citation by the New York State Assembly for ‘Outstanding Commitment to the Civil Rights of New Yorkers.’ He writes on institutionalized gendered and racial violence. While at the Johnson Institute, he will study the history and contemporary viability of a civil rights struggle to combat the social exclusion and discriminatory treatment of currently and formerly incarcerated people. He is at work on a manuscript tentatively entitled Incarceration and Social Death.