I am a writer and historian who studies what happened to African American survivors of racist violence. As of 2021, I’m the host of a new podcast called ‘Seizing Freedom.’
Growing up playing along and in Lake Michigan, I’m a Michigan girl by way of Illinois, Arkansas, Mississippi, and South Carolina. I earned my PhD in History at the University of Michigan. 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My interest in producing (and helping to produce) historical content that reaches academic and non-academic audiences has grown in recent years and been rewarded.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. I enjoy reaching broad audiences and hope opportunities continue to come my way.
When I am not working, I indulge my love of fiction, podcasts, and streaming international TV shows while also taking advantage of the many perks of living, playing, and working in The D.