Leslie Brown was born in New York City and grew up in Albany, New York. She attended Tufts University in Medford, Massachusetts, where she received a B.A in sociology and English. After working for the McDonald’s Corporation as a manager and field supervisor she served as a college administrator at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York, where she directed the Higher Education Opportunity Program. She returned to graduate school in 1990, and received a certificate in Women’s Studies and her A. M. and Ph.D. degrees in history from Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. From 1990-1995 she co-coordinated “Behind the Veil: Documenting African American Life in the Jim Crow South, a collaborative research and curriculum project at the Center for Documentary Studies at Duke.
She is the author of Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Urban South (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008), winner of the 2009 Frederick Jackson Turner Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best book in U.S. History written by a first time author. With Anne Valk (Brown University), she edited Living With Jim Crow: African American Women and Memories of the Jim Crow South (New York: MacMillan, 2010), which in 2011 received the Oral History Association’s Biennial Book Award. Her newest publication, a collection of primary source documents, African American Voices: From Emancipation to the Present (London: John Wiley), will be available late fall 2013. Brown is also co-editing (with Leslie Harris, Emory University) the Oxford University Press Handbook of African American History, projected to go online to accompany the opening of the Smithsonian Museum of African American History. Her current projects focus on gender and migration, urban race relations, and teaching across the color line.
A nationally renowned teacher, Brown has been invited to teach content and methodology courses on slavery and emancipation, civil rights, and Jim Crow for junior high and high school teachers. Before coming to Williams in 2008, Brown taught a range of courses in race, gender, and documentary studies including American and African American history and studies; American, comparative, and African American women’s history and studies; and oral history at colleges and universities, including Duke University, Skidmore College, Washington University-St. Louis.
Brown, Leslie and Harris, Leslie. Oxford University Press Handbook of African American History, in progress.
Brown, Leslie. African American Voices: From Emancipation to the Present. London: John Wiley, 2014.
Brown, Leslie and Valk, Anne. Living With Jim Crow. African American Women and Memories of the Segregated South. Palgrave MacMillan, 2010
Brown, Leslie. Upbuilding Black Durham: Gender, Class, and Black Community Development in the Jim Crow South. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008
Brown, Leslie. “How A Hundred Years of History Caught Up With Me.” In Telling Histories: Black Women Historians in the Ivory Tower. Edited by Deborah Gray White. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008.
Brown, Leslie. “African American Women and Migration.” In The Practice of U. S. Women’s History: Narratives, Intersections, and Dialogues. Edited by S. Jay Kleinberg, Eileen Boris, and Vicki Ruiz. New Brunswick: Rutgers University Press, 2007.
Brown, Leslie and Anne M. Valk. “‘Our Territory’:Race, Place, Gender, Space, and African American Women in the Urban South.” In Her Past Around Us: Interpreting Sites for Women’s History. Edited by Polly Welts Kaufman and Katharine T. Corbett. Malabar, FL: Krieger Publishing Company, 2003.
Brown Leslie. “‘Sisters and Mothers and Called to the City: African American Women and an Even Greater Migration.” In Stepping Forward: Black Women in Africa and the Americas. Edited by Catherin Higgs, Barbara A. Moss, and Earline Rae Ferguson. Athens: Ohio University Press, 2002.
African American History, American Women’s History, Documentary Studies, Gender and Race Relations, and Teaching Across the Color Line
Arnold Capute, ’16 – The South Starts Here: The History of Race Relations and Southern Identity on Maryland’s Lower Eastern Shore
Samuel Chapin, ’15 – ‘The Mecca of a Thousand Noble Aspirations’: The Struggle for Freedom in New Bern
Don Polite, Jr., ’13 – Arturo A. Schomburg: Redefined Revolutionary Afro-Puerto-Rican Black Historian for the Africana Studies Program
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