Kidada E. Williams
Kidada E. Williams is professor of history at Wayne State University in Detroit. Her area of expertise includes African American history, specifically the eras of chattel slavery, the Civil War and Reconstruction, and Jim Crow. She is the author of I Saw Death Coming: A History of Terror and Survival (2023) and They Left Great Marks on Me (2012). She served as the host and producer of “Seizing Freedom,” a history podcast docudrama covering African Americans’ epic story of the Civil War and Reconstruction. Williams is co-editor of #CharlestonSyllabus and Charleston Syllabus Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (2016). Her scholarly essays are published in the Journal of American History, Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, Journal of the Civil War Era, Make Good the Promises: Reconstruction and Its Legacies, The World the Civil War Made, and Reconstruction and the Arc of Racial (in)Justice. Her work has been featured in popular outlets including in DAME magazine, Slate, The American Historian, and the New York Times. Williams has served as a consultant for “Finding Your Roots,” “Who Do You Think You Are?,” PBS North Carolina’s “Insurrection 1898,” and “A Man Called White.” She appeared on Hulu/ABC’s “1619 Project”; PBS’s “Reconstruction: America after the Civil War”; NPR’s “Morning Edition” and “On Point”; “BackStory with the American History Guys”; Slate Academy: Reconstruction, and “Why is This Happening? with Chris Hayes.”
Williams has provided Educator Workshops on the Civil War and Reconstruction and the Jim Crow Era for institutions including the American Civil War Museum, Humanities Texas, and the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture, and she is on the Zinn Education Project’s roster of People’s Historians.
African American Families in the War against Reconstruction
OAH Lectures by Kidada E. Williams
The Civil War is often told from the perspective of the politicians, generals, and armies whose accounts claim an outsized place in collective memory. But historical records centering African Americans help us see this pivotal era with new eyes. In this lecture, Williams transports audiences into the daily existence of the enslaved Black people and their free Black allies in the North and West who used the chaos of the bloody conflict to strike for freedom. Using gripping firsthand accounts of African Americans, Williams disrupts popular fables of the era by bringing the epic story of the Freedom War to life.