Kidada Williams - Associate Professor

Kidada E. Williams researches African American history after slavery with a focus on issues of racial violence and social trauma. Her first book, They Left Great Marks on Me, explores the vernacular history of Black southerners’ experiences of racial violence from emancipation to World War I and its link to the origins of the Civil Rights Movement. For her next project, she is investigating the ways experiencing violence after the Civil War destabilized families transitioning from slavery to freedom. Williams's research has been supported by the Ford Foundation.

Williams shares her historical insight with diverse audiences. She has given lectures and talks at public institutions including the Wright Museum, Detroit Historical Museum, and the Henry Ford. She has appeared on NPR's Morning Edition and WDET's Detroit Today with Stephen Henderson. Williams is also one of the co-developers of the #CharlestonSyllabus



Ph.D., University of Michigan, 2005

M.A., Central Michigan University, 1998

B.S., Central Michigan University, 1996


Select Publications


They Left Great Marks on Me: African American Testimonies of Racial Violence from Emancipation to World War I. New York University Press, 2012.



Edited Books

With Chad Williams and Keisha N. Blain, Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence. University of Georgia Press, 2016.

A portion of the royalties will go to the Lowcountry Ministries Fund to address issues of social justice and economic empowerment in underserved communities in the South Carolina Lowcountry.



Articles and Chapters

  • "The Wounds that Cried Out: Reckoning with African Americans' Testimonies of Trauma and Suffering from Nightriding" in Gregory Downs and Kate Masur, eds. The World the Civil War Made. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2015. 
  • "The Aftermaths of Lynching," Journal of American History 101:4 (2014). 

Select Public Scholarship

Select Awards

  • Career Development Chair, Wayne State University, 2014
  • Board of Governors Faculty Recognition Award, Wayne State University, 2013
  • President’s Award for Excellence in Teaching, Wayne State University, 2011
  • College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Award for Teaching, Wayne State University, 2011
  • Humanities Center Faculty Fellowship Competition, Wayne State University, 2011
  • Ford Foundation Diversity Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2008
  • Eisenberg Institute for Historical Studies, “Topographies of Violence” Residency Research Grant, The University of Michigan, Fall 2008
  • Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship for Minorities, 2002  

Courses Regularly Taught

  • African American History I (AFS/HIS 3140)
  • African American History II (AFS/HIS 3150)
  • African American History & Memory (AFS/HIS 5261/7261)
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction (HIS 5040/7040)


Black Detroit in History and Memory (Fall 2015)

3069 FAB
Research Area
African American
Trauma & Suffering
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