Kidada Williams

Associate professor History
Phone: 313-577-2525

Areas of expertise

Civil rights


Kidada E. Williams specializes in African American history, with a special emphasis on racial violence, mostly in the South after the Civil War. She teaches courses on African American and American history, and historical research methods.Her first book, They Left Great Marks on Me, explores the vernacular history of Black southerners’ experiences of racial violence from emancipation to World War I and its link to the origins of the Civil Rights Movement. For her next project, she is investigating the ways experiencing violence after the Civil War destabilized families transitioning from slavery to freedom.

Her clear-eyed understanding of the history and politics surrounding the study and teaching of African American history informs Williams's commitment to sharing her knowledge with broad audiences. She gives lectures and talks at public institutions including the Wright Museum, Detroit Historical Museum, the Henry Ford Museum, America's Civil War Museum and shares historical information on social media. She has appeared on NPR's "Morning Edition," WDET's "Detroit Today" with Stephen Henderson, "BackStory with the American History Guys," and her writing has appeared in The New York Times, DAME, Slate, and most recently in Bridge Magazine.

Williams is also one of the co-developers of the #CharlestonSyllabus, a crowd-sourced project that helped people understand the historical context surrounding the 2015 racial massacre at Charleson's Emanuel AME Church.

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