OAH Distinguished Lecturer Profile

Manisha Sinha

Portrait of Manisha Sinha

Manisha Sinha is the Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut. Born in India, she is the author of The Counterrevolution of Slavery: Politics and Ideology in Antebellum South Carolina (2000), named one of the ten best books on slavery by Politico and featured in the 1619 Project, and The Slave's Cause: A History of Abolition (2016), long listed for the National Book Award and winner of the OAH Avery O. Craven Award, the Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Book Prize, the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, and the Southern Historical Association's James A. Rawley Award. She received the Chancellor's Medal, the highest faculty honor, from the University of Massachusetts, where she taught for over twenty years. A member of the Society of American Historians, Sinha is the recipient of numerous fellowships, including two year-long fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and two from the Mellon Foundation. Her research interests lie in the transnational histories of slavery, abolition, and feminism and the history and legacy of the Civil War and Reconstruction. She is a member of Board of the Society of Civil War Historians and of the advisory council of the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg, New York Public Library. She has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Review of Books, the Times Literary Supplement, the Nation, the New York Daily News, the Washington Post, among other newspapers and journals. She appeared on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart in 2014 and was an adviser and on-screen expert for the Emmy-nominated pbs documentary, The Abolitionists (2013), which is part of the National Endowment for the Humanities' Created Equal film series.

Featured Lecture

OAH Lectures

Sinha’s talk illuminates the forgotten origins of the women's suffrage movement in the abolition movement and reconsider the break between abolitionists and some feminists after the Civil War. It shows how the Reconstruction constitutional amendments opened a path to women's suffrage and the Nineteenth Amendment. Despite black disenfranchisement, the Nineteenth Amendment eventually paved the way for black women to emerge as the most progressive voting block in American politics.
This talk examines how abolitionists pushed for emancipation during the Civil War. Drawing from Sinha's forthcoming work on abolition, it illustrates how African Americans and abolitionists pushed President Lincoln to occupy abolitionist ground, emancipation without compensation and black rights. They are the forgotten emancipationists.
This lecture examines the origins of women activism in the abolition movement and looks at the forgotten role of abolitionist feminists in women's suffrage.