I earned a B.A. (summa cum laude) from Columbus State University and M.A. and Ph.D. from Emory University. I held a UGA General Sandy Beaver Teaching Professorship (2005-08), and have received such honors as the Martha Munn Bedingfield Excellence in Teaching Award from the Department of English (2014) and the Lorraine A. Williams Leadership Award from the Association of Black Women Historians. In 2012 I was named the Fulbright Visiting Research Chair in Society and Culture at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada. I have accepted an invitation to present in the inaugural W. E. B. Du Bois Virtual Lecture Series for the Hutchins Center for African & African American Studies, Harvard University.
My fifth scholarly book is The Magnificent Reverend Peter Thomas Stanford: Transatlantic Reformer and Race Man, co-authored by Sidonia Serafini with Rev. Paul Walker, Highgate Baptist Church, Birmingham, UK (UGA Press, 2020). I also have written a single-authored study titled Love, Liberation, and Escaping Slavery: William and Ellen Craft in Cultural Memory (UGA Press, 2015). My three previous books are: Post-Bellum, Pre-Harlem: African American Literature and Culture, 1877-1919 (NYU Press, 2006); a collection of fifteen original essays co-edited with Professor Caroline Gebhard of Tuskegee University; a teaching edition of the 1860 memoir Running 1,000 Miles for Freedom: The Escape of William and Ellen Craft from Slavery (UGA Press, 1999); and a collection of original essays, co-edited with Professor Suzanne Miller, titled Multicultural Literature and Literacies: Making Space for Difference (SUNY Press, Series on Literature, Culture, and Learning, 1993). I am currently working on three book-length projects. With Professor Martha Pitts, I am preparing an annotated edition of the memoir Twice Sold, Twice Ransomed (1926) by the black evangelists Emma and Lloyd P. Ray, for West Virginia University Press's series called Regenerations: African American Literature and Culture, co-edited by Professors John Ernest and Joycelyn Moody. With Professor Carolyn Gebhard, I am working on a collection of original scholarly essays about African American print culture from 1880-1900, for the eighteen-volume Cambridge University Press series directed by Professor Moody titled African American Literature in Transition.
In addition, I have published scores of peer-reviewed journal essays and book chapters, which have been included in such publications as The Cambridge History of African American Autobiography (2020); The Routledge Companion to American Literary Journalism (2019); Visions of Glory: The Civil War in Word and Image (UGA Press, UnCivil Wars Series, 2019); Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers (2019, 2016); The Cambridge Companion to American Civil Rights Literature (2015); The Oxford Handbook of the African American Slave Narrative (2014); MELUS special themed issue,"Cross-Racial and Cross-Ethnic Collaboration and Scholarship" (2013); and The Cambridge History of the American Novel (2011).
My national leadership currently includes membership on the editorial boards of the Journal of Transatlantic Studies, Legacy: A Journal of American Women Writers, and ESQ. I serve on the advisory boards for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers and the UGA Press / Morehouse College King Collection Series on Civil and Human Rights. Previous service has included elected membership to the executive committee of C19: The Society of Nineteenth-Century Americanists, Co-Chair of the Modern Language Association's Committee on the Status of Women in the Profession, Chair of the Women's Committee of the American Studies Association, Consultant Reader for the Society for the Study of American Women Writers, Advisory Board Member for UGA Press, Member of C19 Early Career Connections Committee, and Editor and Co-Founder with Professor Layli Phillips Maparyan of Womanist Theory and Research, formerly The Womanist, which was supported by a Rockefeller Foundation Humanities Fellowship. In 1999 I created the listserve, MISIS-L: Multicultural Studies in the American South.
I was a Co-Principal Investigator for the Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative (CRDL), initially funded by a National Leadership Grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Between 2005 and 2015 I supervised graduate students and undergraduates to conduct research and write for the CRDL website entitled Freedom on Film: Civil Rights in Georgia, to publish and present jointly authored scholarly essays on the long Civil Rights Movement, and to conduct research and write about distinguished African Americans from Georgia such as the writer-filmmaker Joseph Richardson Jones (1900-1948) and composer Robert Allen "Bob" Cole (1868-1911) . We are interviewed in the two-hour documentary How We Got Over (2009), hosted by Andrew Young, former U.N. Ambassador and Mayor of Atlanta. We earned an Emmy@ for this program, in the category of Television Crafts Achievement Excellence: Technical Achievement, from the Southeast Regional Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (2010). In 2008 we earned the Award for Excellence in Archival Program Development from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board. In 2010 we earned a national award, the Helen and Martin Schwartz Prize for Public Humanities Programs, and in 2011, an Award for Excellence in Research Using the Holdings of an Archives from the Georgia Historical Records Advisory Board.
In 2020, I was creative producer for the Georgia Incarceration Performance Project, which received an Honorable Mention for the performance By Our Hands from the National Council on Public History. I am currently co-P.I. for Culture and Community at the Penn Center National Historic Landmark funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
My specific areas of research interest are nineteenth- and early twentieth-century African American literature, African American print culture, the literature and film of the Civil Rights Movement, multiplatform storytelling and digital humanities archives, project- and place-based learning, and contemporary Black Feminist/Womanist literature. In support of this research, I have been the recipient of summer seminar grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Ford Foundation, and of prestigious fellowships from centers such as the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and W. E. B. Du Bois Institute (Harvard University), Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture (New York Public Library).
Please email me to make an appointment. Thank you.