Kellie Carter Jackson

Kellie Carter Jackson, Ph.D.

Historian, Author, Educator, Speaker


Kellie Carter Jackson is the Kanfel Assistant Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. She is also the 2019-2020 Newhouse Faculty Fellow for the Center of the Humanities at Wellesley College. Carter Jackson's research focuses on slavery and the abolitionists, violence as a political discourse, historical film, and black women’s history. She earned her B.A at her beloved Howard University and her Ph.D from Columbia University working with the esteemed historian Eric Foner. Her book, Force & Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press), examines the conditions that led some black abolitionists to believe slavery might only be abolished by violent force. In Force and Freedom, Carter Jackson provides the first historical analysis exclusively focused on the tactical use of violence among antebellum black activists. Force and Freedom was a finalist for the MAAH Stone Book Prize Award for 2019.

Carter Jackson is also co-editor of Reconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, & Memory (Athens: University of Georgia Press). With a forward written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Reconsidering Roots is the first scholarly collection of essays devoted entirely to understanding the remarkable tenacity of Alex Haley’s visual, cultural, and political influence on American history. Carter Jackson and Erica Ball have also edited a Special Issue on the 40th Anniversary of Roots for Transition Magazine (Issue 122}. Together, Ball and Carter Jackson have curated the largest collection essays dedicated to the history and impact of Roots. Carter Jackson was also featured in the History Channel's documentary, Roots: A History Revealed which was nominated for a NAACP Image Award in 2016.

Her essays have been featured in The Washington Post, The Atlantic, Transition Magazine, The Conversation, Boston’s NPR Blog Cognoscenti, Black Perspectives, and Quartz, where her article was named one of the top 13 essays of 2014. She has also been interviewed for the New York Times, PBS, WBUR Boston Public Radio, Al Jazeera International, Slate, The Telegraph, Reader’s Digest, CBC, and Radio One. Carter Jackson also sits on the board for Transition Magazine where other essays of hers have been published. She has been featured in a host of documentaries on history and race in the United States. Carter Jackson is also a commissioner for the Massachusetts Historical Commission, she represents the Museum of African American History in Boston.

Her current book manuscript it titled, “Losing Laroche: the Story of the Only Black Passenger on the Titanic.” She examines the story of the Haitian Joseph Laroche, his French wife, and their descendants which is largely unknown and demonstrates how we have imagined Atlantic travel on the Titanic as a set of white privileges. While much has been researched on the Titanic regarding its construction, crew, and passengers; Carter Jackson explores the unexplored aspect of race. She traces how Laroche allows us to better understand the possibilities and limitations of black travel in the Titanic moment.

She resides in the town of Wellesley with her husband and three children.

"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."

Martin Luther King Jr.