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.
Lead Senior Editor
Menika Dirkson, Ph.D. is an Assistant Professor of African American History at Morgan State University. She received her Ph.D. in History from Temple University while her M.A. in History and B.A. in History, Latin American Studies, and Cultural Studies are from Villanova University. She has received grants from the Philadelphia Foundation and Thomas Jefferson University’s Arlen Specter Center for her research on police-Black community relations in Philadelphia following the Civil Rights Era. Dirkson’s research and writing have appeared in articles for the Urban History Association’s The Metropole and the Washington Post. She is the author of Hope and Struggle in the Policed City: The Rise of Black Criminalization and Resistance in Philadelphia (New York University Press, 2024). You can follow her on Twitter @Philadelphian91.
Ashley Everson is a PhD candiate in Africana Studies at Brown University. Ashley earned her B.A. with honors distinction in Social Thought and Political Economy and her M.A. in Political Science with a graduate certificate in African Diaspora Studies from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. Her research interests include Black feminist thought, political theory, labor history, and Black women’s political histories. Her most recent research seeks to investigate the relationship between Black political mobilization in the Tennessee Valley region and decolonial organizing throughout the African Diaspora during the interwar period. You can follow her on Twitter @aevers0n.
Reighan Gillam, Ph. D. is an ethnographer of Black visual culture. She is an associate professor in the Department of Latin American, Latino and Caribbean Studies at Dartmouth College. 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.
DJ Polite, Ph.D. is an Associate Professor in the Department of History, Anthropology, and Philosophy at Augusta University. He earned his bachelor’s degree in American studies from Williams College, a master’s in education from CUNY-Brooklyn College and his Ph.D. in history from the University of South Carolina. Prior work includes teaching special education in a public charter high school, and as a historic guide and interpreter for home museums in South Carolina. His research looks primarily on the mutually reinforcing growth of U.S. Jim Crow policies and empire in the Caribbean, particularly Puerto Rico. It explores the ways that the solidification of both relied on each other and cemented secondary citizenship status for African Americans, Puerto Ricans, and especially women of both groups. He presented at organizations such as the South Carolina Historical Association, the Latin American Section of the Southern Historical Association, the African American Intellectual History Society, the Puerto Rican Studies Association, as well as the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. He has a chapter in the edited volume Reconstruction and Empire, published by Fordham University Press and has written for online publications such as Black Perspectives, Washington Post, and the Activist History Review.
Joshua L. Crutchfield is a scholar of 20th century Black freedom movements, intellectual history and carceral studies. He is a PhD candidate at the African and African Diaspora Studies Department at the University of Texas at Austin where he’s completing his dissertation project titled, “Imprisoned Black Women Intellectuals: Mae Mallory, Angela Davis, Assata Shakur and Safiya Bukhari and the Black Power Roots of Abolition, 1955-1980.” Crutchfield’s scholarship and writing has appeared in The Black Scholar, Black Perspectives, Reviews in Digital Humanities, The Black Power Encyclopedia, and The Austin Chronicle. A budding digital humanist, in 2015, Crutchfield co-founded #BlkTwitterstorians, a digital humanities project that connects, supports, and affirms the scholarship of Black historians and academics on Twitter. His forthcoming paper entitled “Text Mining The Abolitionist: Critical Resistance, Counter-Hegemonic Definitions, and Building the Case for Abolition,” employs digital methods to visualize prison abolitionists’ use of language when making arguments for prison abolition. Crutchfield’s scholarship has been supported by the Harry Random Center and the Carrie Chapman Catt Prize for Women and Politics. You can follow his tweets at @Crutch4.
Kiana Knight is a PhD Candidate in Africana Studies at Brown University. Her dissertation, “Translating Black Nationalism: Gender, Language, and Internationalist Politics, 1918-1955,” explores bilingual Black women’s activism in the U.S. and Greater Caribbean. Her work has been featured in Ohio State’s Origins: Current Events in Historical Perspective and Getty Images’ collaborative blog “Picturing Black History” and the African American Intellectual Historical Society’s award-winning blog, “Black Perspectives.” She received a bachelor’s degree with honors in history from North Carolina Central University and a master’s degree in history from the University of Pittsburgh. Kiana’s scholarly interests include Public History, Black Transnational Feminisms, Black Internationalism, and the African Diaspora. In her free time, she enjoys exploring her family’s history, socializing with friends, and practicing yoga. Connect with her on Twitter @kianamknight.
Book Review Editor
Mikayla Harden is a PhD student in the Department of History at the University of Delaware. Her research focuses on the Black childhood experience in the 18th and 19th century. Before Delaware, she graduated from the University of Texas at Austin with departmental honors in African and African Diaspora Studies. She has an academic interest in gender, race, and medicine centering the experience of Black children. Additionally, she interested in the Atlantic world, especially the Francophone and Anglophone nations.
Sekordri Ojo is a doctoral student in the History Department and a graduate concentrator in the Black Studies department at the University of Illinois Chicago. She was born and raised on the south side of Chicago and attended DePaul University, where she double majored in History and African & Black Diaspora studies. After graduating from DePaul, Sekordri joined Teach for America in 2014 where she taught reading and history on the south side of Chicago. Sekordri enjoys spending time with her family and her two fur babies. Sekordri’s research focuses on the intellectual history of African American women educators of the nineteenth century. Moreover, Sekordri is interested in how African American women have historically used education as a tool to redefine what it meant to be free and citizens of America.