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.
Robert Greene II 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.
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.
Guy Emerson Mount is an assistant professor of African American history at Auburn University who earned his PhD from the University of Chicago in 2018. As a co-founder of the Reparations at UChicago Working Group, Prof. Mount helped uncover the University of Chicago’s historical ties to slavery while organizing alongside residents on the South Side of Chicago for reparations. His academic work focuses on the intersection of slavery, emancipation, and empire with a particular focus on Black internationalism and the afterlives of slavery. His current book project, tentatively titled From Slavery to Empire: Reconstruction in the Black Pacific analyzes the everyday lives of Black migrants to Hawai’i and the Philippines as they navigated the shifting currents of global capitalism and the rise of American overseas empire during the era of emancipation. He has been writing for Black Perspectives since 2015 and currently serves as one of its associate editors. Follow him on Twitter @GuyEmersonMount.
Melissa N. Shaw is a postdoctoral fellow at McGill University studying the university’s connection to slavery and colonization. In fall 2022, Dr. Shaw joins McGill’s Department of History and Classical Studies as an Assistant Professor. Her first book project is tentatively titled “Blackness and British ‘Fair Play’: Burgeoning Black Social Activism in Ontario and Grassroots Responses to the Canadian Colour Line.” It explores the understudied, informal everyday acts of resistance Black Canadian women crafted to fight anti-Black racism during the interwar period. Dr. Shaw’s work and writing have been published in Histoire sociale/Social History, Journal of African American History, Race & Class, and Slavery, Memory, Citizenship. Follow her on Twitter @MelissaNShaw.
Emerald Rutledge is an English PhD student at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she also received her M.A. in Afro-American Studies. She has received the University of Wisconsin-Madison Graduate School Fellowship as well as an Advanced Opportunity Fellowship, which will support her during the dissertation phase of her program. Her research interests include 20th century African American Literature, Black feminisms, and Black queer theory with a special focus on mid-late 20th century Black gay and lesbian literature. Follow her on Twitter @emeraldfaith.
Book Review Editor
Randy M. Browne, a historian of Atlantic slavery who specializes in the British Caribbean, is an associate professor of history at Xavier University. He received his Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. His first book, Surviving Slavery in the British Caribbean (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2017), focuses on slavery in nineteenth-century Berbice and won the biennial Elsa Goveia Book Prize from the Association of Caribbean Historians. Browne’s scholarship has been supported by grants and fellowships from the Library Company of Philadelphia, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the U.S. Department of Education. His articles have appeared in the William and Mary Quarterly, the New West Indian Guide, and Slavery & Abolition. In 2019-2020, Browne will be the Fletcher Jones Foundation Fellow at The Huntington, where he will be working on his current book project on slave drivers in the British Caribbean.
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.
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.
Ryan Huey is finishing up his dissertation on policing and the counterculture in Michigan to earn his PhD in history from Michigan State University. He has been copyediting pieces for Black Perspectives for over two years and is now also serving as an assistant editor. Ryan has contributed written pieces to the Lansing State Journal, Gale’s Political Extremism and Radicalism in the Twentieth Century digital archive, and the H-Net Book Channel.