OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Suzanne E. Smith

Portrait of Suzanne E. Smith

Suzanne E. Smith specializes in African American history with a particular interest in exploring how the history of African American entrepreneurship can transform our understanding of African American culture. She regularly teaches courses in African American history, American popular music, and civil rights and citizenship. Her first book, Dancing in the Street: Motown and the Cultural Politics of Detroit (1999), examines Motown and its relationship to the black community of Detroit and the civil rights movement. Her second book, To Serve the Living: Funeral Directors and the African American Way of Death (2010), explores the central role of funeral directors in African American life. She has given numerous radio and television interviews as well as public lectures at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Berklee College of Music, and the National Funeral Directors Association annual meeting. She has also contributed to various documentary projects including "Rachel Carson's Silent Spring" for pbs "American Experience," and "I’ll Make Me A World: African American Arts in the Twentieth Century." Her current research focuses on the history of African American religion in modern America.

OAH Lectures