About the Author

Carla Peterson’s most recent book Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americas in Nineteenth-Century New York City (Yale UP, 2011) is a social and cultural history of African Americans in nineteenth-century New York City as seen through the lens of family history.

Peterson is a professor in the Department of English and affiliate faculty of the Comparative Literature Program, the departments of Women’s Studies, American Studies, and African-American Studies. She chaired the Committee on Africa and the Americas from January 1994-January 1997; January 1998-May 2001. Her publications include “Doers of the Word”: African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North (1830-1880) (Oxford, 1995) and numerous essays on nineteenth-century African American literature and culture.

Peterson has been the recipient of numerous fellowships, most notably from the Ford Foundation, the Center for Advanced Study in the Behavioral Sciences, the American Council of Learned Societies, the Gilder-Lehrman Institute of American History, the New York Public Library Center for Scholars and Writers, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.

In addition to her teaching and scholarship, Peterson works to bring African American issues to non-academic audiences. She was a speaker for the Maryland Humanities Speakers Bureau from 1997 to 2004, served as a member of the Board of Humanities Council of Washington D.C. from 1995 to 2001. She has conducted curriculum development workshops for public school teachers in Maryland, Virginia, and Pennsylvania, notably for the George Mason University “Teaching American History Project”; the University of Maryland Center Alliance for Secondary School Teachers and Texts; the Gilder-Lehrman Seminar for Master Teachers “Slavery in Comparative Perspective”; Millersville University; and the “Visible Knowledge project at Georgetown University. On television and radio, Peterson was an interviewed scholar for the TV documentaries, “Remembering Slavery” (PBS, 2005) and “The Remarkable Journey: Ticket to Freedom” (NBC 2004).

Peterson has served on several museum consulting teams: the Underground Railroad and Freedom Center in Cincinnati; the Education Initiative Symposia of the National Park Service; two New York Historical Society exhibits (“From Bondage to Freedom: Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition in New York, 1625-1865” and “New York Divided”) on slavery and its legacy in New York (2005-2007); and the permanent exhibit of the planned Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture (2010). In 1998, she helped inaugurate the African American Civil War Memorial in Washington D. C. as well as the Post Office’s Anna Julia Cooper stamp in 2009. In fall 2010, she organized a commemoration of black physician James McCune Smith in New York City. She published two essays in spring 2011 for the online New York Times Disunion Project.

Internationally, Peterson has served as a USIA academic specialist in American Studies at Quisqueya University, Port-au-Prince, Haiti; lectured in Japan; taught summer seminars in Rio de Janeiro and Mexico City; and was a visiting professor at the John F. Kennedy Institute for North American Studies at the Free University in Berlin. In Washington, she has led seminars for international scholars for the USIA Winter Institute for International Scholars and the USIA Academy for Educational Development.