I am a writer and historian who studies what happened to African American survivors of racist violence. As of February 2021, I’m the host of ‘Seizing Freedom’ a podcast docudrama about African Americans’ fight for liberty and equality.
I’m from West Michigan, by way of Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina. I live and work in Detroit.
I have published work on African Americans’ accounts of the impact of racist violence on their inner lives. My first book, They Left Great Marks on Me, explores Black people’s personal testimonies of violence and their role in mobilizing civil rights advocates to fight lynching and other forms of white supremacist oppression. I am a co-editor of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence, a collection of readings that provide historical context for understanding the 2015 massacre of nine African Americans at Charleston’s Emanuel A.M.E. Church. My second book, I Saw Death Coming, tells the story of what African American families gained at emancipation and then lost to white terror after the Civil War.
My writings have appeared in DAME magazine, Slate, The American Historian, and the New York Times. I have appeared on NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “On Point,” “BackStory with the American History Guys,” and on WDET’s “Detroit Today.”
My interest in producing stories of African American history that reach academic and lay audiences has grown in recent years and been rewarded. I was one of the co-developers of #CharlestonSyllabus. I’ve had the great fortune of contributing to podcasts and to documentaries, both behind the scenes like on TLC’s “Who Do You Think You Are?”: Regina King and up front with PBS’s Reconstruction: America after the Civil War.
When I am not working, I’m minding my business and indulging my love of fiction, photography, podcasts, and streaming international TV shows while also taking advantage of the many perks of living and playing in The D.