Black Perspectives is the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). It is the leading online platform for public scholarship on global black thought, history, and culture. As engaged scholars, we are deeply committed to producing and disseminating cutting-edge research that is accessible to the public and is oriented towards advancing the lives of people of African descent and humanity. Black Perspectives serves as the medium to advance these critical goals. Although many of the writers are historians, we provide a crucial online space for scholars working in various academic fields. We understand African American and African diasporic thought in its broadest terms and encourage the use of interdisciplinary research approaches. We also value diversity and inclusion and welcome all scholars–regardless of race, gender, class, sexual orientation, or any other social category—to contribute as long as the research is thorough and accurate in its portrayal of black thought, history, and culture.

**All contributors to the blog grant the AAIHS an unlimited perpetual license to publish the posted content in any media. Authors do not retain ownership of pieces and must obtain written permission from the blog’s senior editor in order to reprint in other venues. Anyone interested in reprinting pieces that appear on the blog must submit a request in writing to the senior blog editor via email at aaihs10@gmail.com.

 Editing Team

Senior Blog Editor–Keisha N. Blain


Keisha N. Blain is a historian of the 20th century United States with broad interdisciplinary interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She completed an MA and PhD in History at Princeton University. Her research interests include black internationalism, radical politics, and global feminisms. She is currently an Assistant Professor of History at the University of Pittsburgh. Her articles have appeared in Souls, the Journal of Social History, and Palimpsest: A Journal on Women, Gender, and the Black International. Her forthcoming book, Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018), uncovers the crucial role women played in building black nationalist and internationalist protest movements in the United States and other parts of the African Diaspora during the twentieth century. She is one of the co-editors of Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Follow her on Twitter @KeishaBlain.

 Associate Blog Editor–Ibram X. Kendi


Ibram X. Kendi is a Professor of History and International Relations and the Founding Director of the Antiracist Research and Policy Center at American University. An intellectual and social movement historian, Ibram studies racist and antiracist ideas and movements. His second book, Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America (Nation Books, 2016) was awarded the 2016 National Book Award for nonfiction. Ibram is also the author of the award-winning book, The Black Campus Movement: Black Students and the Racial Reconstitution of Higher Education, 1965–1972, and fourteen essays on the Black Campus Movement, Black power, and intellectual history in books and referred academic journals. He has received research fellowships, grants, and visiting appointments from a variety of universities, foundations, professional associations, and libraries, including the American Historical Association, Library of Congress, National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, Rutgers Center for Historical Analysis, Brown University, and Princeton University. A regular public speaker and contributor of op-eds, Ibram completed a PhD in African American Studies at Temple University. He is currently working on his next book, How to Be an Anti-Racist, which will be published by One World, a division of Penguin Random House. Follow him on Twitter @DrIbram.

 Assistant Editor–Richard M. Mares 

Richard M. Mares is a Ph.D. candidate at Michigan State University. He is currently working on his dissertation entitled, “Too Western in My Approach to Tyranny’: Black Internationalism and Robert F. Williams’ Activist Network in the Cold War, 1950-1976.” This work further builds on the connections between the Civil Rights—Black Power Movement and the politics of the Cold War. His analysis focuses on how black international activists responded and adapted to the shifting political realities of the Cold War. Using Robert F. Williams’ life and thought as a nucleus, Richard examines how an activist network weathered the domestic and international pressures of the 1960s. This cohort includes Williams, his wife Mabel Robinson Williams, journalists Julian Mayfield and Richard Gibson, activists such as Mae Mallory, the lawyer Conrad J. Lynn, and others. The project starts in the 1950s in order to establish the initial impact of the Cold War on African American international activists and ends in the 1970s in order to track the influence of détente on black internationalism. This period reveals the ways in which Cold War politics remained enmeshed with the Civil Rights—Black Power Movement.

Book Review Editor

Melissa Shaw is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at Queens University, studying 20th century Black Canadian History. She was awarded her B.A. (Hons.) from the University of Toronto with a Specialist in History and Political Science and Minors in Francophone Studies and Philosophy of Science. Her dissertation, “Blackness and British “Fair Play”: Burgeoning Black Social Activism in Ontario and its Responses to the Canadian Colour Line, 1919-1939,” explores the symbiotic relationship between anti-Black racisms in Canada and the rise of Black Canadian activism in Ontario. Focusing on the social articulations of race consciousness within a variety of Black Canadian organizations, it examines the ways activism initiatives contended with anti-Black racism by claiming rights for Blacks as Canadian citizens and British imperial subjects through local, continental, and Pan-African methods and race politics networks. Follow her on Twitter at @MelissaNShaw.

Editorial Assistants ( Spring 2018)

Grace D. Gipson is a doctoral candidate in the African American Studies program with a designated emphasis in New Media at the University of California Berkeley. Her area of research interests centers on black popular culture, digital humanities, representations of race and gender within comic books & graphic novels, Afrofuturism, and race and new media. Her current dissertation project interrogates the formation of a Black female superhero identity within comics and graphic novels through such topics as, African queer love, disability as empowering, coloring utopias/dystopias, promoting Black Girl Magic in STEM, and creating a new media legacy for Black female voices. She is currently a visiting lecturer of African American Studies at Georgia State University. Her work has appeared in the Huffington Post, NPR.org, The Diaspora (publication of the Department of African American Studies at UC Berkeley), and the FCH Annals. Additionally, she is one of the contributors of Afrofuturism 2.0: The Rise of Astro-Blackness, Vol. I (Lexington Books-Rowman & Littlefield, 2016); and has a forthcoming chapter in the edited collection #identity: Hashtagging Race, Gender, Sex, and Nation (University of Michigan Press, 2018). Grace is one fourth of the #BlackComicsChat twitter podcast crew and regular contributor for the website Black Girl Nerds. Follow her on Twitter @GBreezy20.


Emerald F. Rutledge is a recent Honors graduate of The College of Wooster, where she majored in Africana Studies. She was accepted into the University of Wisconsin-Madison as an Advanced Opportunity Fellow and will be attending their Master’s program in Afro-American Studies in the fall. During her undergraduate career, she completed two major Independent Study Research Theses in addition to attending the Leadership Alliance Summer Research Program. Her Senior Independent Study Thesis entitled Black Women’s Bodies and the Restoration of Glory: Understanding Beyoncé’s Lemonade as Political Resistance received the grade of Honors, and she hopes to build on this research in the near future. Her research interests include Black feminisms, artistic activism, and Black popular culture. Follow her on Twitter @emeraldfaith.


Christopher Shell is a senior at Howard University. He is currently majoring in History and pursing a minor in Political Science. His research explores the critical impact and legacy that Marcus Garvey and Black internationalism played in Australian Aboriginal movements of the 20th century. He is a member of the  Golden Key International Honour Society and has received several awards and fellowships including the Schomburg-Mellon Research Fellowship. He is currently serving as the President of the Howard University Chess Club and has plans to pursue a PhD in History. Follow him on Twitter at @ChrisShell95.


Erica Sterling is a doctoral student in the history department at Harvard University. Her research interests include twentieth-century U.S. history and African American educational and political history. More specifically, she focuses on the intersection of race, rights, and the privatization of education reform. As a Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellow, Erica graduated in May 2015 from Emory University where she double-majored in History and Psychology. She is originally from California.
Editorial Assistant & Social Media Manager

Kevin C. Quin is a PhD student in Africana Studies at Cornell University. Broadly, his research interests include twentieth-century African American history, gender and sexuality, and visual and material culture. He holds a B.A., summa cum laude, from DePaul University in Journalism, Communication and Media, and African and Black Diaspora Studies. Follow him on Twitter @kevincquin.