Faculty & Staff

Dr. Linda Heywood is the Director of the NEH Landmarks Workshop on African Americans in Massachusetts: From Slavery to Today as well as Director of the African American Studies Program at Boston University. She is the author of Contested Power in Angola, editor and contributor to Central Africans: Cultural Transformations in the American Diaspora, and co-author with John Thornton of Central Africans, Atlantic Creoles, and the Foundation of America, which was recently awarded the prestigious Melville J. Herskovits Award. Her articles on Angola and the African Diaspora have appeared in the Journal of African History, Journal of Modern African Studies, Slavery and Abolition, and the Journal of Southern African Studies. She has served as a consultant for numerous museum exhibitions, including “African Voices” at the Smithsonian Institute, “Against Human Dignity” sponsored by the Maritime Museum, and the new exhibit at Jamestown, Virginia. She was also one of the history consultants and appeared on the PBS Series African American Lives (2006) and Finding Oprah’s Roots (2007). Dr. Heywood will preside over the workshop and will also speak on the early history of Massachusetts’ involvement in the TransAtlantic Slave Trade.

Katy Evans is the African American Studies Program Administrator at Boston University and will serve as a primary point of contact for participants in the NEH Landmarks Workshop on African Americans in Massachusetts: From Slavery to Today. She holds a BA in English Literature and International Studies from Boston College and an MA in Critical Methodologies from Kings College, University of London. Ms. Evans will handle all administrative duties for the workshops.

Alexandra Chan holds a PhD in Historical Archaeology from Boston University and a BA in Anthropology and German Language from Vassar College. She now works as the principal investigator for Monadnock Archaeological Consulting, LLC and as an Academic Advisory Council Member for the Isaac Royall House Museum. Her book Slavery and the Age of Reason offers a rare look into the lives of enslaved peoples and slave masters in early New England and analyzes the results of extensive archaeological excavations at the Isaac Royall House and Slave Quarters, a National Historic Landmark and museum in Medford, Massachusetts. Dr. Chan will guide our tour of the Isaac Royall House and Slave Quarters.

Hardin Coleman is the Dean of the Boston University School of Education and a Professor of Counseling Psychology. Dean Coleman took over his position at Boston University after many years at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where he taught and trained school counselors. Dean Coleman’s primary area of research is the strategies used by adolescents to cope with cultural diversity, particularly in how they affect school and job performance. Dean Coleman and the faculty of the School of Education will serve as pedagogical consultants on the workshops and will design and lead the small group sessions over the course of the week.

Sarah Elbert is Professor Emerita of History at the State University of New York Binghamton. She holds a PhD in History from Cornell University and has published widely on Louisa May Alcott, race, and American culture. She is the editor of Louisa May Alcott on Race, Sex, and Slavery and The American Prejudice Against Color and the author of A Hunger for Home: Louisa May Alcott’s Place in American Culture. Dr. Elbert will give a lecture on Alcott’s most influential work Little Women and its subtext of women’s rights, slavery, and other social reforms.

Rachel Fletcher is a geometer/ theater designer and restoration planner with a BA from Hofstra University, MA from SUNY Albany, and MFA from Humboldt State University. Ms. Fletcher’s essays have appeared in the Nexus Network Journal, Design Spirit, Parabola, Via, Building Design, the Lindisfarne Letter, and The Power of Place. Her design/consulting credits include an outdoor mainstage for Shakespeare & Co. in Lenox, Massachusetts and the Marston Balch Theatre at Tufts University. Ms. Fletcher is a resident of Great Barrington, Massachusetts and Founding Director of the town’s River Walk, a river bank restoration and greenway project on the Housatonic River. She currently directs the creation of an African American Heritage Trail in the Upper Housatonic Valley of Massachusetts and Connecticut and is a Founding Director of the Friends of the Du Bois Homesite. Ms. Fletcher will preside over our visit to Great Barrington and investigation into the life and work of W.E.B. Du Bois.

L’Merchie Frazier is the Director of Education at the Museum of African American History in Boston and Nantucket. A longtime activist in the New England community, Ms. Frazier attended City College of New York, the University of Hartford, and the School of the Museum of Fine Arts. She was formerly Education Director of Arts Are Academic, serving several Boston cultural institutions, including the Museum of the National Center for Afro-American Artists, the Museum of Fine Arts, the Huntington Theater, and Boston Public Schools, promoting arts literacy for students and teachers across disciplines. Ms. Frazier will offer an introduction to the Museum of African American History.

Edmund Barry Gaither serves as Director and Curator of the National Center for Afro-American Artists and Special Consultant at the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston. Since his appointment in 1969, he has transformed the NCAAA Museum from a concept to an institution with collections exceeding three thousand objects and a thirty-three year history of exhibitions celebrating the visual arts heritage of Black people worldwide. He was co-founder and first President of the African American Museums Association (now the Association for African American Museums) and headed the national committee that commissioned the bust of Martin Luther King, Jr. for the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. From 1980-1983, he was Panel Chairman for the Expansion Arts Division of the National Endowment for the Arts. Dr. Gaither will speak on the work of Elma Lewis and the National Center for Afro-American Artists.

Frances Jones-Sneed is Professor of Art History and Director of Women’s Studies at Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts in North Andover, Massachusetts. Dr. Jones-Sneed has taught and researched local history over twenty years and is co-director of the Upper Housatonic Valley African American Heritage Advisory Council that pioneered the first African American Heritage Trail in rural New England. She also co-directed a National Endowment for the Humanities Grant entitled “The Shaping Role of Place in African American Biography”; spearheaded a national conference on African American biography in September 2006; and is presently directing an NEH Faculty Workshop on “Of Migrations and Renaissances: Harlem, NY and South Side Chicago, 1915-1975.” Dr. Jones-Sneed is currently working on a monograph about W.E.B. Du Bois and will speak about Du Bois’ life and legacy.

Kathy-Anne Jordan is an Assistant Professor of Education at Boston University. She holds her BS from New York University and her MA and EdD from the Teachers College at Columbia University. In the past, Dr. Jordan has collaborated with the African American Studies Program as a guest lecturer for a joint course entitled “The (Mis)Education of Black Boys.” For these workshops, Dr. Jordan will provide pedagogical support and will also give the introduction to the curricular goals for the program.

Tom Lincoln is the part-time Executive Director of the Royall House Association, the owner and operator of the Royall House and Slave Quarters, a National Historic Landmark in Medford, Massachusetts. Mr. Lincoln has a BA from Macalester College and a JD from the State University of New York Buffalo. He served on the Royall House Association Board for ten years prior to his present position. He has a long resume in historic preservation and environmental advocacy and is very interested in presenting public history to a broad and diverse audience. Mr. Lincoln will lead tours of the Royall House and Slave Quarters.

Beverly Morgan-Welch serves as the Chief Executive of the oldest and most visible African American history museum in New England. Under Ms. Morgan-Welch’s leadership, the Museum of African American History has grown to be a nationally recognized institution. She has increased the roster of the museum’s scholars, research opportunities, and collections, attracting donations of artifacts, sculpture, books, furniture, and archival materials. Her career spans three decades of expertise in education, museums, not-for-profit management, and development and corporate philanthropy. She lectures at the Harvard University Extension School and Suffolk University and travels across the country, appearing on television and radio to share the stories of African Americans whose institutions, citizenship, and communities provide lessons for today. Ms. Morgan-Welch will lead our visit to the Museum of African American History and speak about its role in bringing this history to the broader community.

Vita Paladino is the Director of the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center at Boston University, one of the largest and most prestigious contemporary archives in the country. A native of Brooklyn, New York, she first came to the Center in 1976 and began a 29-year apprenticeship under the tutelage of the Founder and Director Dr. Howard Gotlieb. As Managing Director, Ms. Paladino took over the acquisition activities of the Center and created an aggressive, proactive student educational outreach program consisting of classes and seminars that allow students to have exposure to and make sure of the unique manuscript holdings. Ms. Paladino holds her Bachelors and Masters degrees from Boston University. She serves on the boards of several Boston cultural arts organizations, as well as the on the boards of the Boston University Women’s Council, Friends of the Library, and the African American Studies Program. She also serves as the Principal Investigator on the Martin Luther King, Jr. Archival Collaborative Project. Ms. Paladino will speak about the role of Boston University in educating the leaders of the Civil Rights movement.

Robert Paynter is Professor of Anthropology and historical archaeology at the University of Massachusetts. He conducts his fieldwork on sites in Western Massachusetts, including Deerfield Village in Deerfield and the W.E.B. Du Bois Boyhood Homesite in Great Barrington. He will provide an introduction for teachers to the ongoing archaeological excavation in the Upper Housatonic Valley and at the Du Bois homesite in particular.

Julia Rabig received her PhD in 2007 from the University of Pennsylvania and has completed postdoctoral fellowships at the Center for the Study of African American Politics and the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African American Studies, both at the University of Rochester. Her research analyzes civil rights and Black power activists’ attempts to remake local politics and federal policy in the aftermath of the 1960s urban uprisings. Her doctoral dissertation “The Fixers: Devolution, Development, and Civil Society in Newark, New Jersey, 1960-1990” is currently under review for publication, and an article adapted from that dissertation appears in Black Power at Work: Community Control and Affirmative Action in the Construction Industry, 1960s-70s. Dr. Rabig will speak about Boston’s role in the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.

John Thornton is a Professor of History and African American Studies at Boston University. Dr. Thornton taught at Millersville University for seventeen years before joining the Boston University faculty in 2003. He is the author of Kingdom of Kongo: Civil War and Transition, 1641-1718; Africa and Africans in the Formation of the Atlantic World, 1400-1680; The Kongolese Saint Anthony: Dona Beatriz Kimpa Vita and the Antonian Movement, 1684-1706; and Warfare in Atlantic Africa, 1500-1800. His most recent book Central Africans, African Creoles, and the Foundation of America, co-authored with Linda Heywood, won the Melville J. Herskovits Award for the most important scholarly work in African Studies published in English in 2008. Dr. Thornton will speak about New England’s role in the early history of the TransAtlantic slave trade.

Jan Turnquist is the Executive Director of Orchard House and the founder and director of InterAct Performances, an organization devoted to the impact that living history presentations and seminar series can have in the worlds of education, business, and personal enrichment. She is an educator, actress, and historian who holds her teaching certification and degrees in English and Comparative Literature from the University of Wisconsin. She has been featured in television roles on PBS, the Fox Network, and several BBC productions. For eighteen years, she has been on staff at the Orchard House Museum, where Louisa May Alcott wrote Little Women in 1868,  as a Living History Coordinator, Education Coordinator, and Historic Interpreter. Ms. Turnquist will offer a first-person seminar from the perspective of Louisa May Alcott.