Susan Eva O'Donovan

Susan Eva O

Susan O'Donovan is a professor of history at the University of Memphis; the author of Becoming Free in the Cotton South (2007), winner of the OAH James A. Rawley Prize; and a coeditor of two volumes from the Freedmen and Southern Society Project. Her current project, "Slaves and the Politics of Disunion," explores the extent to which enslaved women and men helped shape this formative moral and political debate. She is a lead participant on the British-based project, "After Slavery: Race, Labour, and Politics in the Post-Emancipation Carolinas," examining the historical circumstances that gave rise to new and violent forms of racial subordination, and a codirector of a pilot program with the National Park Service, "Memories of a Massacre: Memphis in 1866", which aims to call public attention to the first large-scale racial massacre to erupt in the post-Civil War South, prompting Congress to enact sweeping changes to federal policies and to constitutional law, and lending a new urgency to an ongoing national debate about the meaning of freedom and the rights of citizens.


  • By Land and by Water: The Problem of Mobility in American Slavery
  • Cosmopolitan Captives: Globe-trotting Slaves in the Age of Secession
  • The Problem of Freedom in the Age of Emancipation
  • Writing Slavery into Freedom’s Story
  • Memories of a Massacre: Remembering Reconstruction in a Mid-South City

Process: A Blog for American History

Remembering Reconstruction: The Memphis Massacre of 1866

Written with Beverly Bond