Program in African American History Past Fellows

Recent resident fellows have conducted research on topics including the Haitian Revolution; African American Performers and the Development of Global Mass Culture; Antebellum African American Nationalism; the Boston Antislavery Fair, 1834-1858; and the development and evolution of abolitionist discourse. Past fellows include the nation’s most prominent scholars of African American literature, history, and the social life of the period before 1900, and their work in the collections of the Library Company has produced scores of acclaimed books and articles.

Mellon Scholars Fellows


Mellon Scholars Program in African American History Dissertation Fellow

Halle-Mackenzie Ashby, PhD candidate, Department of History, Johns Hopkins University
Bound by the Womb: Reproduction, Kinship and Freedom in Barbados

Mellon Scholars Program in African American History Short-Term Fellows

Kathryn Angelica, PhD candidate, Department of History, University of Connecticut
A Nexus of 19th C Activism: The Lifelong Struggle of Eight Women Reformers

Dr. Wendy Raphael Roberts, Associate Professor, Department of English, University at Albany, SUNY
Phillis Wheatley Peters’ Poetic Worlds

Mikala Stokes, PhD candidate, Department of History, Northwestern University
Born of ‘Hardship, Trial, and Suffering:’ Black Men, Family, and Activism, 1820–1861

Dr. Ben Wright, Associate Professor, Department of History, The University of Texas at Dallas
Empires of Souls: The United States, Britain, and West African Colonization

(No fellows were offered 2021-2022.)


Postdoctoral Fellow               

April Logan, Associate Professor, Department of English, Salisbury University, Staging Mother Tongues: Black Women Writers’ Politics of Performance, 1845-1900

Dissertation Fellow

Umniya Najaer, Ph.D. Candidate, Modern Thought & Literature, Stanford University, Knotted Maternity, Infanticide and the Infant’s Corpse: Imagining Enslaved Women’s Reproductive Lives

Short-Term Fellows

Colin Anderson, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of American Studies, George Washington University, The Racial and Spatial Politics of 19th-Century American Sheet Music and Song Sheets, 1840-1900

Amanda McGee, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of History, University of Arkansas, Abolition’s Informal Gatekeepers: The Role of County Courts in the Making of Pennsylvania’s ‘Free’ Border

Cynthia Patterson, Associate Professor, Department of English, University of South Florida, Yours for God, The Race and the ‘Review’: Women Contributors to the A.M.E. Church Review 1884-1924

Tiffany Player, Assistant Professor, Department of History and Africana Studies, Southern Illinois University Carbondale, ‘What Are We Going to Do For Ourselves?’: African American Women and the Politics of Slavery from the Antebellum Era to the Great Depression


Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Tara Bynum, Department of English & African American Studies, University of Iowa, Reading Pleasures

Dissertation Fellow

Brandi Waters, PhD Candidate in History and African American History, Yale University, Debating ‘defects’: Slavery, Disability, and Legal Medicine in Late Colonial Caribbean Colombia

Short-Term Fellows

Dr. Faith Barrett, Department of English, Duquesne University, Let Music Rise from Every Tongue: Reading and Writing Poetry in Antebellum African American Communities

Bianca Dang, PhD Candidate in History, Yale University, “This country is exceedingly fertile”: Women’s Landholding, Political Contestations, and Haitian and African American Visions of Rural Autonomy, 1818-1868

Dr. Susan Goodier, Department of History, SUNY Oneonta, The St. Thomas Sanitary Committee Fair of 1864 and Louisa Jacobs

Dr. Shennette Garrett-Scott, Department of History, University of Mississippi, Domesticating Racial Capitalism: Freedwomen and Industrial Sewing Schools, 1863-1872


Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Jessica Millward, Department of History, University of California, Irvine, Broken Black Bodies: African American Women and Domestic Violence in the Post-Civil War South

Dissertation Fellow
Denise Burgher, PhD Candidate in English Literature, University of Delaware, Redeeming the Banished Spirit: Naming the Theological Praxis in Nineteenth-Century Black Women’s Writing

Short-term Fellows

Dr. Alisha Knight, Department of English, Washington College, Black Books Matter:  African American Book Publishing at  the Turn of the Twentieth Century

Arlisha Norwood, PhD Candidate in History, Howard University, “To Never Truck with No Man”: Single African American Women in the Post-Emancipation Era

Maria Ryan, PhD Candidate in Music, University of Pennsylvania, Hearing Power, Sounding Freedom: Black Practices of Listening, Music-Making, and Ear-Training in the British Colonial Caribbean, 1807-1860

Dr. Kay Wright Lewis, Department of History, Howard University, The Children of Africa Have Been Called


Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Cheryl Hicks, Department of History, University of North Carolina-Charlotte, Black Enchantress: Hannah Elias, Interracial Sex, Murder, and Civil Rights in Jim Crow New York. 

Dr. Nazera S. Wright, Department of History, University of Kentucky, African American Women Writers and Research Libraries.

Short-term Fellows

Lucien Holness, PhD Candidate in History, University of MarylandCollege Park, Between North and South, East and West: The Antislavery Movement in Southwestern Pennsylvania

Dr. Lacey Hunter, Department of History, Drew University, Nineteenth Century African American Women Intellectuals and the American Jeremiad

Dr. Myrna Sheldon, Department of Classics and World Religions, Ohio University, The Ontology of a Mixed-Race Woman

Dr. Wendy Wilson Falls, Department of Africana Studies, Lafayette College, Indian Ocean Maritime Labor, Black Sailors, and American Merchants: The Port of Philadelphia



Dr. Vanessa Holden, Department of History, Michigan State University, Forming Intimacies: Queer Kinship and Resistance in the Antebellum American Atlantic.

Dr. Rashauna Johnson, Department of History, Dartmouth College, “A Looking Glass for the World”: Slavery, Immigration, and Overlapping Diasporas in the U.S. South.


Crystal Webster, Ph.D. Candidate in Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Fugitive Play, Discursive Resistance: The Politics of Black Childhood in Nineteenth-Century America.

Nakia Parker, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Texas, Austin, Trails of Tears and Freedom: Slavery, Migration, and Emancipation in the Southwest Borderlands, 1830-1887.


Dr. Tara Bynum, Department of English, Rutgers University, Reading Pleasures.

Dr. James Ford, Department of English, Occidental College, Disheveling the Origins: Impossible Canonicity and African Diasporic Writing.

Damon Turner, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Morgan State University, The Reinventing of an Abolitionist: The Transatlantic Study of the United States, Sierra Leone, England, and the Quest for an Omaginary Homeland in Africa through the Eyes of Paul Cuffe, 1776-1817.



Dr. Jessica Marie Johnson, Department of History, Michigan State University, Practicing Freedom: Intimacy, Kinship, and Property in Atlantic New Orleans, 1685-1810.


Michael Dickinson, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Delaware, Surviving Slavery: Oppression and Social Rebirth in the Urban British Atlantic, 1680-1807.


Julia Bernier, Ph.D. Candidate in Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, A Papered Freedom: Self-Purchase and Compensated Manumission in the Antebellum United States.

Dr. Daina Ramey Berry, Department of African and African American Studies, University of Texas, Austin, Ghost Values of the Domestic Cadaver Slave Trade.

Dexter Gabriel, Ph.D. Candidate in History, State University of New York, Stony Brook, A West Indian Jubilee in America.

Holly Pinheiro, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Iowa, Men of Color to Arms!: Race, Manhood, and Citizenship during the Civil War Era.



Dr. Kabria Baumgartner, Department of History, College of Wooster, In Pursuit of Knowledge: African American Women and Educational Activism in America’s Republic

Dr. Aston Gonzalez, Department of History, University of Michigan, Designing Humanity: African American Activist Art, 1830-1880


Emahunn Campbell, Ph.D. Candidate in Afro-American Studies, University of Massachusetts-Amherst, The Imagination and Construction of the Black Criminal in American Literature, 1741-1910

Emily Owens, Ph.D. Candidate in African and African American Studies, Harvard University, Fantasies of Consent: Black Women’s Sexual Labor in 19th c. New Orleans


Westenley Alcenat, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Columbia University, Escape to Zion: Black Emigration and the Elusive Quest for Citizenship, 1816-1868

Dr. Frederick Knight, Department of History, Morehouse College, Black Elders in Early America

Tiffany Player, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Washington University in St. Louis, Black Women and the Politics of Slavery from the Antebellum through the Great Depression

Dr. Selena Sanderfer, Department of History, Western Kentucky University, Tennessee’s Postwar Black Emigration Movements, 1868-1888

Albert M. Greenfield Foundation Fellows in African American History


Dr. Anna Lawrence, Department of History, Fairfield University; Jarena Lee’s Calling.

Mary Maillard, Independent Scholar, Vancouver, B.C.; Lulu and Genie: The Letters of Louisa Jacobs to Eugenie Webb, 1879-1911.

Marie Stango, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Michigan; Antislavery and Colonization: African American Women in Nineteenth Century West Africa.

Katie Johnston, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Columbia University; The Experience of Hot Climates: Health, Race and the Body in the British Atlantic World.


Marcus A. Allen, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Morgan State University; Institutionalizing Black Capitalism: An Examination of the African American Depositors at the Savings Bank of Baltimore, 1850-1900.

Christopher Bonner, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Yale University; Making Citizenship Meaningful: Language, Power, and Belonging in African American Activism, 1827-1868.

Abigail Cooper, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Pennsylvania; “Until I reach My Home”: Inside the Refugee Camps of the American Civil War.

Dr. Brooke N. Newman, Department of History, Virginia Commonwealth University; Island Masters: Gender, Race, and Power in the Eighteenth-Century British Caribbean.


Dr. David Crosby, Independent Scholar, Jackson, Mississippi; An Annotated Critical Edition of Anthony Benezet’s Antislavery Writings

Aston Gonzales, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of Michigan; Black Activist Art in Philadelphia, 1820-1860

Lori Leavell, Ph.D. Candidate in English, Emory University; Imagining a Future South: David Walker’s Appeal and Antebellum American Literature

Anna Stewart, Ph.D. Candidate in English, University of Texas at Austin; Lives Reconstructed: Slave Narratives and Freedmen’s Education


Dr. Ric N. Caric, Department of Government and Regional Analysis, Morehead State University; Occupied by Blackness: Early Blackface Minstrelsy in Philadelphia

Dr. James W. Cook, Department of History, University of Michigan; The Lost Black Generation: African American Performers and the Making of Global Mass Culture

Dr. Peter Reed, Department of English, University of Mississippi; Dancing on the Volcano: The Haitian Revolution and American Performance Cultures, 1790-1865

Dr. Terri Snyder, American Studies, California State University, Fullerton; Suicide, Slavery and the Rise of Abolitionism in North America


Ronald Johnson, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Purdue University; In Close Alliance; How the Early American Republic and Revolutionary Saint-Domingue Made Their Way in a Hostile Atlantic World

Dr. Alice Taylor, Department of History, University of Western Ontario; Selling Abolitionism: The Commercial, Material and Social World of the Boston Antislavery Fair, 1834-1858

Dr. Beverly Tomek, Department of History, Wharton County Junior College; Pennsylvania Hall: The Lynching of a Building

Andrew Diemer, Ph.D. Candidate in History, Temple University; Black Nativism: African American Politics and Nationalism in Antebellum Baltimore and Philadelphia, 1817-1863


Corey Brooks, Ph.D. Candidate in History, University of California, Berkeley; Building an Antislavery House: Political Abolitionists and Congress, 1835-1861

Dr. Martyn J. Powell, Department of History, University of Wales Aberystwyth; The White Slave Trade: Print Culture and Irish Emigration to American in the Late 18th Century

Derrick R. Spires, Ph.D. Candidate in English, Vanderbilt University; Reimagining a “Beautiful but Baneful Object”: Black Writers’ Theories of Citizenship and Nation in the Antebellum United States

Kaye Wise Whitehead, Ph.D. Candidate in Language, Literacy, and Culture, University of Maryland, Baltimore County; Washing Her Bowl: Using Diary Entries to Reconstruct the Life of a 19th-Century Free Black Woman