Black Perspectives is the award-winning blog of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS). 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. We serve as a medium to advance these critical goals.
Black Perspectives is an outgrowth of the AAIHS blog, which was founded by Christopher Cameron in early 2014. Cameron founded the AAIHS blog to “provide a space for scholars in disparate fields to discuss the many aspects of teaching and researching Black intellectual history.” Despite a rough start, Cameron was able to bring together a diverse group of scholars who agreed to contribute monthly pieces to the blog. By December 2014, the blog included a roster of nearly twenty regular contributors, including Brandon Byrd, Kami Fletcher, Christopher Bonner, Lauren Kientz-Anderson, Emily Owens, Marcia Watson, Chernoh Sesay Jr., Janell Hobson, Greg Childs, Noelle Trent, Brian Purnell, Kellie Carter-Jackson, Keisha N. Blain, Ashley D. Farmer, and Patrick Rael. In 2015, we incorporated as a 501 (c)(3) educational non-profit organization with Chris Cameron as founding president, Keisha N. Blain as founding secretary, and Ashley D. Farmer as founding treasurer. (Read more about the AAIHS organization here).
In 2015, blogger Keisha N. Blain became the senior editor of the AAIHS blog, introducing a roster of 30 regular contributors and working to establish more consistency. To that end, Blain established an editing team, comprised of several graduate students in the field of history and African American Studies, and introduced a peer review process to help improve the overall quality of blog posts. In 2016, Ibram X. Kendi joined the editing team as the first Associate editor, working closely with Blain to expand the blog’s reach and effectiveness.
In January 2017, the AAIHS rebranded itself on multiple fronts. The organization named its blog Black Perspectives, introduced a new website, expanded the roster to 40 regular contributors, and added new content. In 2018, Blain and Kendi were awarded the Roy Rosenzweig Prize for Innovation in Digital History from the American Historical Association (AHA), the largest professional organization serving historians in all fields and all professions. Sponsored jointly by the AHA and the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (RRCHNM) at George Mason University, this prize is awarded annually to honor and support work on an innovative and freely available new media project, and in particular for work that reflects thoughtful, critical, and rigorous engagement with technology and the practice of history.
Today Black Perspectives is the leading online platform for public scholarship on global Black thought, history, and culture. Daily content, from a roster of more than 50 regular contributors and guest authors, includes features such as scholarly reflections, book features, online roundtables and forums, book reviews, and author interviews. Learn more about the blog and organization in this recent feature on the Scholarly Kitchen.
Tejai Beulah Howard, Ph. D. is assistant professor of history and African American religious and ethical studies at Methodist Theological School in Ohio in Delaware, Ohio and a certified spiritual director. Her research interests include Black religious intellectuals, gender and sexuality in U.S. history, African American music, spirituality, and social movements, and race/ethnicity studies. Outside of teaching, she is involved with Freedom Church of the Poor and several professional organizations. Dr. Beulah Howard’s recent writing is featured in the book, We Cry Justice: Reading the Bible with the Poor People’s Campaign (Broadleaf, 2021) edited by Rev. Liz Theoharis, The Other Journal, Interpretation: A Journal of Bible and Theology, and Journal of American Academy of Religion. She is currently at work on a monograph on the role of the black power movement and black evangelical preachers. For fun, she enjoys music, bookstores, true crime documentaries, and sports. She resides in Columbus, Ohio with her amazing spouse, Jenn.
Reighan Gillam, Ph. D. is an ethnographer of Black visual culture. She is an assistant professor in the Department of Anthropology at the University of Southern California. Her research examines media at the intersection of racial ideologies, anti-racism, and protest. Specifically, she focuses on the ways that Afro-Brazilian media producers create images that render Black subjects and their experiences in complex ways. Her first book, Visualizing Black Lives: Ownership and Control in Afro-Brazilian Media will be published in March 2022 from the University of Illinois Press. She earned a BA in Anthropology and Afro-American and African Studies from the University of Virginia and a PhD from Cornell University. Gillam’s next research project takes a transnational approach to the study of Black politics and culture. Her second book, entitled Diasporic Agency: Transnational Racial Leverage and Challenges to Exceptionalism examines how Afro-Brazilians engage African American people, culture, and performance. Gillam served as the Peggy Rockefeller Fellow at Harvard’s David Rockefeller Center for Latin American Studies and received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation. She was elected to the Executive Committee of the Brazilian Studies Association.
Robert Greene II, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of History in the Department of Humanities at Claflin University. Dr. Greene serves as book reviews editor and blogger for the Society of U.S. Intellectual Historians. He also serves as Chief Instructor for the South Carolina Progressive Network’s Modjeska Simkins School of Human Rights. Currently, Dr. Greene is co-editing, with Tyler D. Parry, a collection of essays on the history of African Americans at the University of South Carolina. He is also working on his first book, examining the role of Southern African Americans in the Democratic Party from 1964 through the 1990s. Finally, Dr. Greene has published several articles and book chapters on the intersection of memory, politics, and African American history, and has written for numerous popular publications, including The Nation, Oxford American, Dissent, Scalawag, Jacobin, In These Times, Politico, and The Washington Post. Follow him on Twitter @robgreeneII.
Holly A. Pinheiro Jr., Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of African American History in the Department of History at Furman University. His research focuses on the intersectionality of race, gender, and class in the military from 1850 through the 1930s. Counter to the national narrative which championed the patriotic manhood of soldiering from the Civil War through the 1930s, his research reveals that African American veterans and their families’ military experience were much more fraught. Economic and social instability introduced by military service resonated for years and even generations after soldiers left the battlefield. He has published articles in edited volumes and academic journals, in and outside of the United States. His manuscript, The Families’ Civil War: Black Soldiers and the Fight for Racial Justice, highlights how racism, in and outside of military service, impacted the bodies, economies, family structures, and social spaces of African Americans long after the war ended. He has also started preliminary work for a new monograph that will examine all Pennsylvania born soldiers who trained at Camp William Penn. He’s also been interviewed by the History Channel, Curiosity Streams, the Washington Post, and New York Times.
Joshua L. Crutchfield is a scholar of 20th century Black freedom movements, intellectual history and carceral studies. He is a PhD student in the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin where he’s working on his dissertation project titled, “Imprisoned Black Women Intellectuals: Mae Mallory, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur, Safiya Bukhari and the Struggle for Abolition, 1961-1890.” Crutchfield’s scholarship has appeared in publications such as The Black Scholar, Ethnic and Third World Review of Books, Reviews in Digital Humanities, The Austin Chronicle, and in the African American Intellectual Historical Society’s award-winning blog “Black Perspectives.” Crutchfield is also a budding digital humanist. In 2015, he co-founded #BlkTwitterstorians, a digital humanities project that connects, supports, and affirms the scholarship of Black historians and academics on Twitter. In addition, his scholarship employs digital methods to visualize prison abolitionists’ language usage in his paper titled, “Text Mining The Abolitionist: Critical Resistance, Counter-Hegemonic Definitions, and Building the Case for Abolition.” Crutchfield’s community activism drives his scholarship. In 2015, he and a determined cadre of activists co-founded Black Lives Matter Nashville, a community-based group that organizes to end state-sanctioned violence against black people in Nashville. In 2021, Crutchfield was awarded the Harry Ransom Center’s inaugural UT-Austin fellowship. He resides in Austin, TX with his partner Tiffany and chihuahua Tinkerbell. You can follow his tweets at @Crutch4.
Tiana U. Wilson is a doctoral candidate in the Department of History with a portfolio in Women’s and Gender Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. Her research interests include Black Women’s Internationalism, Black Women’s Intellectual History, Women of Color Organizing, and Third World Feminism. At UT, she led her department’s Anti-Racism Action Committee (2020-2021), served as the 2019-2020 Graduate Research Assistant for the Institute for Historical Studies, and was a research fellow for the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy between the years of 2017-2019. In the broader intellectual community, Tiana is the graduate student representative for the Association of Black Women Historians. Her dissertation has been supported by the Center for Engaged Scholarship, Sallie Bingham Center, Carrie Chapman Catt Center for Women and Politics, Smith College Libraries, and the Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice. Follow her on Twitter @PhenomenalTiana.
Lacey Hunter, Ph.D. is a faculty instructor in the African American Studies and the Honors College at Rutgers University, Newark. She received her PhD from Drew University. Her dissertation focused on the role of African American religious ideologies on racial constructions. She holds an MA in American History from Rutgers University-Newark and is currently teaching courses on African American Studies and Afro-American History. She is actively involved in organizations that help urban students transition into college, as well as collaborative programs for “at-risk” college freshman. She is also deeply committed to restructuring historical teaching and encouraging greater literacy rates among students of color.
Book Review Editor
Gloria Ashaolu is a doctoral student in the Department of History at Michigan State University. In spring 2020, she graduated from UC Berkeley with a B.A. from the Department of History, a B.A. from the Department of African American Studies and African Diaspora Studies, and a minor certificate in Education. Her commitment to historical research coupled with effective, innovative, and instructional practices that will dismantle structural barriers, is rooted in her desire for a fair and inclusive society that advances the lives of people within the Black diaspora and promotes the betterment of humanity. A culmination of her community-rooted engagements and academic work also inform how she hopes to create change through learning and teaching, and the creation of meaningful historical work that helps us better understand the present through our collective history. Her fields of interest include Black women’s history, Black intellectual history, the Black historical enterprise, and the history of Black education. Her research examines the contributions of Black female teachers in the Early Black History Movement. The broader impact of this study not only entails a better understanding of how Black women professionals worked as active agents in order to advance the Black freedom struggle, but it also offers us an insight into how Black female teachers informally became part of the Black intellectual tradition during the late 19th and early 20th century.