Rhonda Y. Williams

Rhonda Y. Williams

Rhonda Y. Williams is the John L. Seigenthaler Chair in American History at Vanderbilt University. A historian of low-income black women's and marginalized people's experiences, everyday lives, politics, and social struggles, she is the author of Concrete Demands: The Search for Black Power in the 20th Century (2015) and the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women's Struggles against Urban Inequality (2004). She is also a coeditor of two volumes, Women, Transnationalism, and Human Rights, a special issue of the Radical History Review (Spring 2008), and Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement: Freedom's Bittersweet Song (2002). She is the founder and former director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University, where she also initiated and directed the postdoctoral fellowship in African American studies. She is a coeditor of the Justice, Power, and Politics book series at the University of North Carolina Press and is currently working on a book-length project on race, rights, and the culture of drugs from the 1930s to the "age of crack."

Twitter: @drrhonday.


  • Low-Income Black Women's Struggles for Justice
  • Rethinking Black Power and Black Politics
  • The Evidence of Things Done: Lessons of Struggle in the Twenty-first Century
  • Your Silence Will Not Protect You: History and Social Justice


Rethinking Black Power and Black Politics

This lecture was presented as part of the Created Equal Symposium at Lycoming College, Williamsport, Pennsylvania in March 2015. Recorded by Amanda Miller, Office of Marketing and Communications, Lycoming College. Note: At 26:20, Williams shows a video of Stokely Carmichael which is commonly dated in 1964. She uses this video, in part, to discuss how the language and concepts of Black Power were articulated earlier than 1966. While this larger premise remains true, the dating of this particular video could be wrong. She has located another copy with historical description from Paul Lee that dates it as June 26, 1966, delivered in front of the Mississippi State Capitol in Jackson. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UpQ1woQ57j4)

Visit the OAH YouTube channel for more audio and video recordings.