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University of Sussex, Brighton, England

Lecturer in American History

Jan 2016-Present

Teaching Fields: 16th, 17th-, 18th-, 19th, 20th, and 21st- century African American History, Slavery and Emancipation in the U.S. and Atlantic World, African-American Political History; History of African American Women; U.S. Civil War and Reconstruction, U.S. Civil Rights Movement,

Legal History, Social Justice Movements, Race and Ethnicity in U.S. History 

Columbia University, New York, NY

Visiting Scholar and Instructor, Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race,

June 2014-Dec. 2015

ACLS New Faculty Fellow, History Department/Center for the Study of Ethnicity and Race, Sept. 2012-May 2014

American Academy of Arts & Sciences/ Harvard Humanities Center, Cambridge, MA Visiting Scholar, Sept. 2011-May 2012


New York University, New York, NY

Ph.D., U.S. History, May 2011

Dissertation: “From Slave to Litigant: African Americans in Court in the Post-War South, 1865-1920”

Received High Pass on qualifying exams

Advisor: Professor Martha Hodes

Committee Members: Professors Linda Gordon, Michele Mitchell, Paul Finkelman (Albany Law School), Ariela Gross (University of Southern California Gould School of Law)

Brigham Young University, Provo, UT

Master of Arts, U.S. History, April 2004

Thesis: Analyzed and edited the 1879-1887 diaries of Mary Lois Walker Morris of Utah Advisor: Professor Grant Underwood

Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA

Bachelor of Arts with Honors, History, June 2002

Honors Thesis: “Fascism, Communism and Collective Bargaining: The Salinas Lettuce Strike of 1936”

Advisor: Professor David Kennedy



Litigating Across the Color Line: Civil Cases Between Black and White Southerners from the End

 of Slavery to Civil Rights (Oxford University Press, 2018).


Before the Manifesto: The Life Writings of Mary Lois Walker Morris (Logan, UT: Utah State

University Press, 2007). Awarded Kanner Book Prize by Western Association of Women




“Reframing Black Southerners’ Experiences in the Courts, 1865-1950.” Law & Social Inquiry 44:4

(November 2019), 1113-1140.


“Taking their Former Masters to Court: Cases Between Former Slaves and Former Masters in the

            Post-emancipation South.” Slavery & Abolition 40:2 (June 2019), 240-255. Part of a themed

issue on civil cases involving African Americans during slavery and emancipation.


“Slavery, Freedom, and Law in the Civil War Era.” Slavery & Abolition 40:2 (June 2019), 219-224.

 Introduction co-written with Kelly Kennington for themed issue.


“New Directions in the Historiography of African Americans and the Law in the Antebellum United

States.” Slavery & Abolition 40:3 (Sept. 2019), 606-613.


“Justice in an Unjust World: The untold story of African-Americans’ civil cases in the segregated

South,” History Today 68 (June 2018).


“Rethinking the Role of the Courts in the Lives of Black Southerners,” The American Historian

 (Nov. 2017).


“From Slave to Litigant: African Americans in Court in the Post-War South, 1865-1920,” Law and

History Review 30 (Aug. 2012), 723-769.


Selected Book Reviews

Loren Schweninger. Appealing for Liberty: Freedom Suits in the South, in The Journal of the Civil

War Era, forthcoming.


Kimberley M. Welch, Black Litigants in the Antebellum American South, in American Nineteenth

Century History, forthcoming.


Anders Walker, The Burning House: Jim Crow and the Making of Modern America, in Journal of

American History, 106:1 (June 2019).


Christopher W. Schmidt, The Sit-Ins: Protest & Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era, in American

Historical Review, 124:3 (June 2019).


Paul Quigley, ed., The Civil War and the Transformation of American Citizenship, in Journal of

Southern History, 85:2 (May 2019).


Selected Digital Publications

“Fighting Jim Crow in the 19th Century South: The Untold Story,” (Aug. 2018).

 “African Americans’ Civil Cases in the Jim Crow South,” Black Perspectives (Nov. 2017).

“Can We Count on the Courts to Curb Trump?” History News Network (Dec. 2017).


In Progress

Book project: A history of the intersection between race, medicine, and the law that examines the

ways in which people of color throughout the United States used the courts in the 19th and

20th centuries to contest physical impositions on their bodies, including medical

experimentation, sterilization and rape, as well as the ways in which medical expertise and testimony in the courtroom has been used to justify relations of power.


“Inventing Women’s Rights: Black Women, Gender and Civil Courts from Emancipation to Jim

Crow.” Article in progress for submission to Journal of Southern History.


“Contesting Police Violence and Criminal Injustice in Southern Courts, 1865-1950.” Article in



Article “Justice in an Unjust World” selected as one of “The Best Articles of 2018” by History Today magazine, December 2018.

Runner-up, Deep South Book Prize, Frances S. Summersell Center for the Study of the South, 2018.


BAAS/US Embassy Grant, February 2018.

Conference space awarded for Transatlantic, Scholar-Activist Black Lives Matter Research Network Conference from The British Library, 2017

Postgraduate Certificate in Higher Education (PGCert), Distinction, 2017

ACLS New Faculty Fellowship, Columbia University, 2012-2014

Cassius Marcellus Clay Postdoctoral Fellowship, Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance & Abolition, Yale University, 2012-2014 (declined)

Honorable Mention, Cromwell Dissertation Prize, American Society for Legal History, 2012

American Academy of Arts & Sciences Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2011-2012

American Fellowship, American Association of University Women, 2011-2012 (declined)

Dean’s Dissertation Fellowship, New York University, 2011-2012 (declined)

CCWH Ida B. Wells Award for a history dissertation focusing on race, Coordinating Council for Women in History, December 2010

Kanner Book Prize for best learned study of autobiographical writings of a woman, Western Association of Women Historians, 2010  

Joel Williamson Visiting Scholar Grant, Southern Historical Collection, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2010

Littleton-Griswold Research Grant for Research in U.S. Legal History, American Historical Association, 2008

Archie K. Davis Fellowship, North Caroliniana Society, UNC-Chapel Hill, 2008

MacCracken Fellowship, Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, New York University, 2006-2010    

William A. Snow Award, Graduate Merit Scholarship, Brigham Young University

James B. Weter Prize for Outstanding Honors Thesis, History Department, Stanford University (1 of 3 prizes)


Contributor, “Ruth Bader Ginsburg, family secrets, Voyeurism Bill, comfy shoes,” BBC Radio 4

Woman’s Hour Programme, January 2019.


Interviewee, “Melissa Milewski on Civil Litigation Between Black & White Southerners After Slavery,” Ipse Dixit (legal scholarship) podcast, December 2018.

Contributor, “The Radio Ballads, Dorothea Lange, Archaelogy of the A14,” BBC Radio 4 Making History Programme, June 2018.


Contributor, “Judge Lynch on Trial,” documentary film directed by John Wertheimer, Davidson College, April 2018.


Co-Founder and Host of TrumpWatchSussex, a podcast associated with the Centre for American Studies at Sussex University which interviews scholars and experts to get the back story on various elements of the Trump Administration. Hosted and helped edited nine podcasts, including a podcasts on populism, Confederate monuments, Trump and the Southwest, and Trump and celebrity. The podcasts I have hosted have led to articles in Newsweek and Politico that have helped to shape coverage on issues such as white supremacy in the US.


Interviewee, “Litigating Across the Color Line,” New Books Network podcast, November 2017.

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