Participant Info

First Name
Shannen Dee
Last Name
Villanova University
Website URL
Black Nuns, Catholicism, Slavery, Education, Civil Rights, Black Power
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Dr. Shannen Dee Williams is an assistant professor of history at Villanova University, specializing in African-American history, United States history, the history of the black freedom struggle, and the Black Catholic experience. A native of Memphis, TN, Williams is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Agnes Scott College, where she earned a B.A. in History. She also holds a M.A. in Afro-American Studies from the University of Wisconsin at Madison and a Ph.D. in History from Rutgers University. A Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians, Williams received the inaugural Sister Christine Schenk Award for Young Catholic Leadership from Future Church for using history to foster racial justice and reconciliation in religious congregations of women in September 2018.




Recent Publications

Subversive Habits: The Untold Story of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States (under contract with Duke University Press)

“No Catholic MLKs?” The Catholic News Service, November 2018. Reprinted in Catholic newspapers across the country, including in Philadelphia, Chicago, Trenton, NJ, and Wilmington, DE for Black Catholic History Month.

“Sister Antona Ebo’s Lifelong Struggle against White Supremacy, Inside and Outside of the Catholic Church,” America: The Jesuit Review, November 22, 2017.

“Congratulations Georgetown. Now It’s Time to Own Up to the Racist History of the Catholic Church.” The History News Network, September 18, 2016.

“Dear U.S. Catholic Theologians: The Lives of Black Women and Girls Always Matter,” Patheos, December 12, 2014. *Reprinted on on December 13, 2014. *Also prompted correction to the U.S. Catholic Theologians’ Statement on Police Violence, which initially omitted black women and girls as victims and opponents of state violence.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Race, Rebellion & Revolution, Religion, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Slavery, Women