Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Brandeis University
Website URL
African American History, criminalization of African Americans, African American women in prison, incarceration of African Americans, racial violence, policing, criminal justice system, carceral history, women and gender, California, Western History
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

I am a PhD candidate (ABD) at Brandeis University. My dissertation is tentatively entitled “The Greatest State for the Negro”? African-American Women and the Criminal Justice System in California, 1890-1950s.

My research examines the patterns of disproportionate incarceration of African-Americans in the first half of the 20th century and focuses specifically on those incarcerated in San Quentin’s female department and in its subsequent all-female prison of Tehachapi. It is guided by seven major lines of inquiry: (1) who these incarcerated women were and where they came from; (2) on what charges they were arrested and imprisoned; (3) where racism came into play in the arrest, condemnation, carceral detention, and post-prison treatment of black women; (4) in what measure these black women resisted this situation and attempted to redefine respectability in their own terms; (5) how white conceptions of black female criminality fluctuated with the growth of the black population in California and what local and national phenomena can explain these changes; (6) in what ways some parts of the black community–black elite or other members of the lower class–contributed to the construction and deconstruction of black female criminalization; and (7) to what extent the particular racial landscape and interracial dynamics of California had some influence on black female incarceration. 

Recent Publications
Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Gender, Local & Regional, Migration & Immigration, Race, Sexual Violence, Urban History, Women