Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Indiana University
Website URL
African American History, Women's History, Slavery, Southern History, Black Women, Interracial Sex, The Old South, 19th Century History,
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Amrita Chakrabarti Myers earned her doctorate in U.S. History from Rutgers University, specializing in African American History and Women’s History. A historian of black women, her work examines the intersections of race, gender, power, and freedom, specifically focusing on the lives of enslaved and free black women in the Old South.

Myers has been the recipient of several awards for her scholarship, including a 2017 fellowship from the American Council of Learned Societies; the 2013 Phillis Wheatley Book Prize from the North East Black Studies Association; the 2012 Julia Cherry Spruill Book Prize from the Southern Association of Women Historians; the 2012 George C. Rogers, Jr. Book Prize from the South Carolina Historical Society; the 2011 Anna Julia Cooper-C.L.R. James Book Prize from the National Council for Black Studies; and the 2009 Letitia Woods Brown Article Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Prof. Myers’ social justice work was recognized by Indiana University with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Building Bridges Award in 2017. In 2017, she organized a teach-in examining violence against women titled, “Violent Intersections: Women of Color in the Age of Trump.” In March 2015, she was the lead organizer of “It’s Not So Black and White: Talking Race, From Ferguson to Bloomington,” a Black Lives Matter campus- community teach-in and justice fair. In 2014, she helped to organize a public symposium at IU on “Rights and Retrospectives: The Civil Rights Act at 50.”

Myers is regularly interviewed by the news media on contemporary issues of race and gender. She appeared on PBS NewsHour in May 2018 regarding the controversial arrests in Starbucks in Philadelphia. She is also a regular political and social commentator on the “Today with Dr. Kaye,” show out of Baltimore on WEAA 88.9. Closer to home, she is co-anchor for WFHB’s award-winning African American radio show, “Bring It On!” A segment she co-anchored on racial profiling by the police for that show in the fall of 2016 won first place for “Outstanding Contributions in Reporting Events of Public Importance, Radio Public Affairs,” by the Indiana Chapter of the Society for Professional Journalists in April 2017. She is also one of the founders of Btown Justice, a community organization that functions as a social justice information clearing house, standing in solidarity with the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

Although she is a university professor and spends most of her “spare time” working with adults doing a variety of social justice work, during Black History Month you will find her giving free lectures at local area high schools on topics having to do with Black Lives Matter, the Confederate flag, #MeToo, and other topics related to matters of race, gender, power, and freedom.

Myers has the scholarly background to speak to not only the subject matter of her own books, but to a variety of issues having to do with American History more broadly, and Southern History, Slavery, and Black Women’s History specifically. Her understanding of the importance of historical context in shaping today’s institutions and structures also makes her an engaging speaker for a variety of current issues including, for example, the controversy over Confederate War Memorials, #BlackLivesMatter, and where black women fit in the #MeToo movement. People regularly refer to her informal, engaging speaking style, her passion for her subject matter, her sense of humor, as well as her deep knowledge of the material at hand, all of which make her a charismatic and appealing speaker. Several years of public speaking in a variety of venues have also helped Myers learn how to gage her audience, and she knows how to make the transition from classroom, to academic panel, to protest rally, to radio and tv interviews with a fair amount of ease. In Myers, you are getting a seasoned speaker.

Dr. Myers’ award-winning first book, Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston, was published by UNC Press in 2011. She is now completing her second book, The Vice President’s Black Wife: Resurrecting Julia Chinn. This new book examines the decades-long, antebellum relationship of a black woman named Julia Chinn with congressman, senator, and one-term Vice President Richard Mentor Johnson of Kentucky (1837-1841) and the family the pair openly built together. Myers is Ruth N. Halls Associate Professor of History and Gender Studies at Indiana University.

Recent Publications


Forging Freedom: Black Women and the Pursuit of Liberty in Antebellum Charleston (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2011).

The Vice President’s Black Wife: Resurrecting Julia Chinn (Full Draft of Manuscript Completed). Proposal now out for contract consideration. Representation by Pande Literary Management.

Additional Publications

– Op-Ed on Julia Chinn, Association of Black Women Historians Blog,, March 3, 2019.

“The Future Looks Bright: Black Women, Slavery, and Freedom, 1780-1865,” in A Companion to American Women’s History, 2nd Ed., Nancy Hewitt and Anne Valk, Co-editors (Wiley-Blackwell, Forthcoming 2020).

Media Coverage
Select Interviews - Kellie Hwang, Indianapolis Star, “Blackface Scandals Keep Happening. Indiana Students are Rarely Taught its Racist History,” February 21, 2019,
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
18th century, 19th century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, Emancipation, Gender, Race, Sexuality, Sexual Violence, Slavery, Women