Our Advisors

“Thousands of candles can be lighted from a single candle, and
the life of the candle will not be shortened.”
_ Buddha

Bruce E. Baker, PhD, is Senior Lecturer in United States History at Royal Holloway, University of London, and the author of This Mob Will Surely Take My Life: Lynchings in the Carolinas, 1871-1947 and What Reconstruction Meant: Social Memory of Reconstruction in South Carolina, 1890-1955. He has also written important essays on the cultural history of lynching.

E.M. Beck, PhD, a Meigs Distinguished Teaching Professor Emeritus at the University of Georgia has researched lynching for more than 25 years, compiling extensive databases that use U.S. Census and historical voting data to study the scope and causes of lynching. From A Festival of Violence: An analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930, written with Stewart Tolnay, PhD, to his current research on averted and foiled lynchings, his work has made a vital contribution to the field.

Patricia Bernstein researched the national files of the NAACP and interviewed descendants of people involved in the 1916 Waco, Texas lynching to write The First Waco Horror: The Lynching of Jesse Washington and the Rise of the NAACP. Her book helped raise the national consciousness about the atrocities of lynching and its impact on the development of the NAACP.

Alfred Brophy, PhD, Reef C. Ivey II Professor of Law at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, has written extensively on race and law in American history. His book Reconstructing the Dreamland: The Tulsa Riot of 1921 explores the debate about reparations while examining measures African Americans took in Oklahoma to defend themselves against the brutality of lynching. Another book, Reparations Pro and Con, explores the moral and legal case for and against reparations for slavery and Jim Crow.

Fitzhugh Brundage, PhD is William B. Umstead Professor of History at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Based on analysis of nearly 600 cases, Dr. Brundage’s Lynching in the New South: Georgia and Virginia, 1880-1930 offers an in-depth appraisal of the complex character of lynching.

Cynthia Carr was compelled to write Our Town: A Heartland Lynching, a Haunted Town, and the Hidden History of White America after discovering that her grandfather had been a member of the Ku Klux Klan and possibly among the spectators at the 1930 Marion, Indiana lynching. Carr’s work has unearthed many of the contradictions of that heartland town transformed by collective racial violence.

Michelle Duster is a writer, speaker, project manager and artist with over 20 years of experience in advertising and marketing. In the past five years she has compiled and written two books that include the original writing of her great-grandmother, Ida B. Wells – journalist, civil rights activist and suffragist, Ida In Her Own Words and Ida From Abroad. Her work provides historical perspective and valuable insight into lynching and the African American experience.

Michael Fedo is the author of several books, most notably The Lynchings in Duluth. He is a former New York Times correspondent whose work has also appeared in The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and The Christian Science Monitor.

Crystal Feimster, PhD, is Assistant Professor of African American Studies and American Studies at Yale University. Her book, Southern Horrors: Women and the Politics of Rape and Lynching, provides a startling view into the Jim Crow South where the precarious and subordinate position of women linked black and white anti-rape activists together in fragile political alliances. It is a story that reveals how the complex drama of political power, race, and sex played out in the lives of Southern women.

Leon F. Litwack, PhD is Professor Emeritus of History at the University of California, Berkeley, and has researched and written extensively about the African-American experience. In 1980, Dr. Litwack was awarded a Pulitzer Prize for Been in the Storm So Long: The Aftermath of Slavery, and contributed a riveting essay to Without Sanctuary: Lynching Photography in America.

James H. Madison, PhD serves as Thomas and Kathryn Miller Professor of History at Indiana University, Bloomington, and his book, A Lynching in the Heartland: Race and Memory in America, helps uncover many of the forgotten facts of the 1930 Marion, Indiana lynching.

Jonathan Markovitz, PhD is the author of Legacies of Lynching: Racial Violence and Memory which examines the evolution of lynching as a symbol of racial hatred and a metaphor for race relations in popular culture. His new book, Racial Spectacles: Explorations in Media, Race, and Justice examines a variety of mass media events, including “spectacle lynchings,” that helped to shape popular understandings of race and racialized violence.

Warren Read writes and teaches elementary school on Bainbridge Island, Washington, and his captivating memoir, The Lyncher in Me: A Search for Redemption in the Face of History, reveals how generations of his family have been affected by the 1920 lynching in Duluth, Minnesota.

Stewart Tolnay, PhD, is S. Frank Miyamoto Professor of Sociology at the University of Washington. He is co-author with E.M. Beck (University of Georgia) of A Festival of Violence: An Analysis of Southern Lynchings, 1882-1930. Along with Beck and Amy K. Bailey (Utah State University), Tolnay recently completed a project that linked lynch victims to their individual- and household-records in the original enumerators’ manuscripts for the U.S. Census that immediately preceded their deaths. His innovative work serves as a model for using social science tools to present an analysis of lynching in a broad historical, social scientific context.

Christopher Waldrep, PhD is Pasker Chair of American History at San Francisco State University and author of Lynching in America: A History in Documents. Ranging from personal correspondence to courtroom transcripts to journalistic accounts, this extensive collection serves as a valuable documentary record of lynching in America.

Laura Wexler, faculty member at Goucher College, Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction, is the author of Fire in a Canebrake: The Last Mass Lynching in America, which peels back the layers of the stories of the 1946 Moore’s Ford Bridge lynching in Monroe, Georgia and reveals the evidence in the case of the two couples who were brutally murdered there.

Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at Stanford University and has extensively researched the dynamics of human aggression and violence. Dr. Zimbardo’s most recent book, The Lucifer Effect: Understanding How Good People Turn Evil, summarizes more than 30 years of research on the factors that lead ordinary people to engage in evil actions. He has now founded the Heroic Imagination Project as a non-profit organization focused on encouraging everyday heroes to challenge injustice and inhumanity, and you can learn more by visiting www.heroicimagination.org.

Advisory Board Members

Bruce Baker, PhD
E.M. Beck, PhD
Patricia Bernstein
Alfred Brophy, PhD
Fitzhugh Brundage, PhD
Cynthia Carr
Michelle Duster
Michael Fedo
Crystal Feimster, PhD
Leon F. Litwack, PhD
James H. Madison, PhD
Jonathan Markovitz, PhD
Warren Read
Stewart Tolnay, PhD
Christopher Waldrep, PhD
Laura Wexler
Philip G. Zimbardo, PhD