Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Pennsylvania State University
Website URL
African American, civil rights, HBCUs, education, black women
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Crystal R. Sanders is a historian of the United States in the twentieth century.  Her research and teaching interests include African American History, Black Women’s History, and the History of Black Education.  She received her PhD in History from Northwestern University and received her BA in History and Public Policy from Duke University.

Sanders is the author of A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2016 as part of the John Hope Franklin Series in African American History and Culture.  Her work can also be found in many of the leading history journals including the Journal of Southern History, the North Carolina Historical Review, and the Journal of African American History.  She is currently writing a book on black southerners’ efforts to secure graduate education during the age of Jim Crow.

Recent Publications


A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle(University of North Carolina Press, 2016)

*Winner of the 2017 New Scholar’s Book Award, American Educational Research Association, Division F

*Winner of the 2017 Critics’ Choice Book Award, American Educational Studies Association

*Finalist for the 2016 Hooks National Book Award, Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change


“North Carolina Justice On Display:  Governor Bob Scott and the 1968 Benson Affair,” Journal of Southern HistoryLXXIX (August 2013): 659-680.

“Dignity in Life and Death: Undertaker Clarie Collins Harvey and Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Activism,” Journal of Mississippi History LXXVI (Fall/Winter 2014): 111-127.

“Blue Water, Black Beach: The North Carolina Teachers Association and Hammocks Beach in the Age of Jim Crow,” North Carolina Historical Review XCII (April 2015): 145-164.

“More Than Cookies and Crayons: Head Start Programs and African American Empowerment in Mississippi, 1965-1968,”Journal of African American History100 (Fall 2015): 586-609.

“Money Talks: The Elementary and Secondary Education Act of 1965 and the African American Freedom Struggle in Mississippi,” History of Education Quarterly(May 2016): 361-367.

“Pursuing the Unfinished Business of Democracy: Willa B. Player and Liberal Arts Education in the Civil Rights Era (forthcoming, North Carolina Historical Review)

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
Modern, 20th century
Expertise by Topic
Higher Ed, Race, Women