“Surviving R. Kelly” in context: Insights from the history of black girlhood

While many elements of the predatory behavior revealed in “Surviving R. Kelly” are distinctly contemporary—the centrality of cell phones, for instance, in facilitating Kelly’s luring young girls to his side—the documentary also highlights some continuities rippling through the lives of generations of black girls and women. Studies which place black girls at the center of American history are arguably more important now than ever because they add empirical weight to what many of us know intuitively: that African American girls, instead of reaping the full rewards of social change, have historically experienced more than their fair share of punishment, blame, and vulnerability.


The Association of Black Women Historians is pleased to announce the 2018 Letitia Woods Brown Prize for the best book, anthology, and article in African American/African Diaspora women’s history.  The competition is open to all books, anthologies, and articles concerning African American/African Diaspora women’s history published between June 1, 2017, and May 31, 2018, including those written by members and non-members of ABWH.  The prizes are awarded annually. Authors should ask their press to nominate …

Congratulations Dr. Karen Cook Bell

Congratulations to Karen Cook Bell, who received tenure and promotion at Bowie State University in Bowie, MD.  Dr. Bell is now Associate Professor of History at Bowie State University.  Her book Claiming Freedom: Race, Kinship, and Land in Nineteenth-Century Georgia will be published in January 2018 by the University of South Carolina Press.

Thompson Wins Pulitzer Prize in History

This week the Pulitzer Prize Committee awarded the history prize to Heather Ann Thompson, University of Michigan for her book on the Attica Prison Uprising: Blood in the Water: The Attica Prison Uprising of 1971 and Its Legacy (Pantheon).  The citation read in part “For a narrative history that sets high standards for scholarly judgment and tenacity of inquiry in seeking the truth about the 1971 Attica prison riots.” Congratulations, Heather …

Sanders Wins AERA 2017 New Scholars Book Award; Giddings Elected to American Academy of Arts and Sciences

Our sincere congratulations go out to Dr. Crystal R Sanders whose new book A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle  (University of North Carolina Press, 2016  in the John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture) won the AERA 2017 New Scholars Book Award. The History and Historiography Division of the American Educational Research Association (AERA) has recognized the book as the best published in the …