Jackson State University
1017 John R. Lynch Street
P.O. Box 17008
Jackson, MS 39217
601-979-3935 (MWC)

NEH Summer Institute Faculty/Staff

Daphne R. Chamberlain received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Mississippi and is preparing a manuscript on children’s participation in the Jackson (MS) Movement.  Her research deals with the critical roles of young people, between the ages of 7 and 18, in shaping and leading the freedom struggle in Jackson.  Dr. Chamberlain is the former Director of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) Civil Rights Education Center at Jackson State University.  She developed the COFO Center into a point of destination for persons with an interest in the Mississippi Movement and created programs particularly aimed at engaging young people.  Dr. Chamberlain is now an Assistant Professor of History at Tougaloo College and serves as the institution’s Director of Civil Rights and Social Justice Initiatives. 





Rico D. Chapman received his Ph.D. in African Studies from Howard University.  Dr. Chapman is currently an Associate Professor and Interim Chair in the Department of History and Philosophy and teaches courses in African and Public History at Jackson State University.  He has presented at a number of conferences and holds board appointments and membership in various organizations. He is also a previous National Trust for Historic Preservation and Fulbright-Hayes Fellow. Dr. Chapman is also the Director for the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO: Human and Civil Rights Interdisciplinary Education Center at Jackson State University. His latest book is entitled Student Resistance to Apartheid at the University of Fort Hare: Freedom Now, a Degree Tomorrow (Lexington Books, 2016). 



Miller W. Boyd, III is a native of St. Louis, Missouri and is currently a faculty Instructor of African American Studies and History at the University of Mississippi. He completed his undergraduate degree in Sociology at Xavier University of Louisiana in New Orleans in 1998. In 2006, he received a Masters in African American Studies from Boston University. Studying under pioneering Atlantic World historian John Thornton, his work focused on free people of color in Louisiana in the 18th and 19th centuries. Pulling from research conducted during his Masters program, Boyd authored an award-winning article entitled, “Privilege Lost: Shifting Creole Identity in Antebellum Louisiana,” which was published in Fall 2007 edition of The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies. In 2008, he began his doctoral studies in the Department of History at the University of Mississippi.  Working with noted Civil War historian, John R. Neff, Boyd examined the African American experience in Civil War Missouri. Boyd’s research pushes back against the notion that black men enlisted in the Union army primarily to assert their patriotism or to help destroy slavery in America. Instead he argues that the instability of black life during the war forced African American men to choose to enlist or not to enlist based on local, immediate needs. Boyd believes that the need for food, shelter, clothing, and a measure of financial stability was more important to black men than sectional reunion or collective emancipation. As a result of his research, he has received several fellowships and has been invited to speak at several institutions, including the University of Missouri, Kansas State University, Delta State University, and the Missouri History Museum. His dissertation is entitled, “The Exigencies of War: Black Military Service, Free Labor, and Education in Civil War Missouri.” His most recent article, “The Free People, Who Have Bought Themselves, Are Not Much Inclined to It, But the Others are in Favor of It”: Patterns of Black Enlistment in Civil War Missouri, 1863-1865,” was published in the October 2016 edition of the Missouri Historical Review. 

Charlie Cobb, Jr. 

Emilye Crosby is professor of history and coordinator of Africana/ Black Studies at SUNY Geneseo. She is author of A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi and editor of Civil Rights History from the Ground Up: Local Struggles, a National Movement. Recently, she was a visiting scholar at Emory University’s James Weldon Johnson Institute for the Study of Race and Difference. She has been awarded an NEH Fellowship for work on her current research on women in SNCC.  She earned her Ph.D. in History from Indiana University.




Michelle D. Deardorff is the Adolph S. Ochs Professor of Government and Head of the Department of Political Science and Public Service at the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga; she has previously served as Professor of Political Science and Chair at Jackson State University, as well as the Griswold Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Millikin University. She is a constitutional law scholar and co-author (with Schultz and Vile) of the two-volume set Constitutional Law in Contemporary America (Oxford University Press, 2011; new edition, West Academic 2017); co-author of American Democracy Now (with Harrison and Harris; McGraw Hill, 5th edition 2017) and regularly publishes on the intersections between gender, race, and law. Her most recent monograph was Pregnancy and the American Worker (with Dahl, Palgrave 2016). She has served on the American Political Science Association’s (APSA) governing council and as the chair of the Political Science Education section of APSA. A founding faculty member of the Hamer Institute, she has been Project Director or Co-Director of several NEH projects through the Hamer Institute and was the PI of the federal earmark that created the COFO Civil Rights Education Center and Gallery1 on the campus of Jackson State.

John Dittmer is Professor Emeritus of History at DePauw University; he served on the DePauw faculty from 1985 until his retirement in 2003. Dittmer’s Local People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi (University of Illinois, 1995) received the Bancroft Prize, generally considered the most prestigious award in the field of American history writing. The book also received the McLemore Prize and Lillian Smith Book Award, and the New York Times named it one of the "notable books of 1994" in the history category.

Most recently, Dittmer published The Good Doctors: The Medical Committee for Human Rights and the Struggle for Social Justice in Health Care (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2009). This work tells the story of the Medical Committee for Human rights, a group of health care professionals active not only in the Deep South at the height of the civil rights movement but also as part of the New Left during the late 1960s and 1970s. It provides an insightful and inspiring account of a group of idealists who put careers on the line for their belief that "health care is a human right. John Dittmer is also the author of Black Georgia in the Progressive Era, 1900-1920 (University of Illinois Press, 1980). Along with Hamer Institute colleagues Jeff Kolnick and Leslie McLemore, Dittmer is at work on a book on Freedom Summer, to be published by Bedford St. Martin's Press in its documentary series.

Dittmer has served as a distinguished lecturer of the Organization of American Historians (2006-2007) and has been the recipient of fellowships from the Ford Foundation (2005-07), National Humanities Center (2001-02), National Endowment for the Humanities (2000-01), Center for the Study of Civil Rights (1988-89) and the American Council of Learned Societies (1983-84). John Dittmer received bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Indiana University. From 1967-1979 Dittmer taught American history at Tougaloo, before coming to DePauw in 1985, Dittmer also taught at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (visiting associate professor, 1982-84), and Brown University (visiting associate professor, 1979-80, 1981-82, 1983-84).

Hasan Kwame Jeffries was born in Brooklyn, New York. He graduated summa cum laude from Morehouse with a BA in history in 1994.While matriculating at Morehouse, he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa honor society and initiated into the Pi Chapter of Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc. After graduating from Morehouse, he enrolled at Duke University, where he earned a MA in American history in 1997 and a PhD in African American history in 2002.  In 2003, Hasan joined the faculty at The Ohio State University in the history department and at the Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. He was recently promoted to associate professor with tenure.

In 2009, Hasan published his first book, Bloody Lowndes: Civil Rights and Black Power in Alabama’s Black Belt (NYU Press). Bloody Lowndes tells the remarkable story of the ordinary people and college organizers from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) who ushered in the Black Power era by transforming rural Lowndes County, Alabama from a citadel of violent white supremacy into the center of southern militancy. They achieved this extraordinary feat by creating the Lowndes County Freedom Organization, an all-black political party that was also the original Black Panther Party. Bloody Lowndes has been praised as “an invaluable contribution to understanding current and future ‘conversations’ on race and politics.”

His current book project, entitled Stealing Home: Ebbets Field and Black Working Class Life in Post-Civil Rights New York, explores the struggle of working class African Americans to secure and enjoy their freedom rights, from the height of the civil rights era through the present, by examining the experiences of the residents of Ebbets Field Apartments, an expansive, 1,200 unit, affordable housing complex built in 1962 on the site of old Ebbets Field, the former home of Major League Baseball’s Brooklyn Dodgers.

Hasan resides in Columbus, Ohio with his wife Rashida and daughters Asha, age 3, and Aliyana, age 1. They travel frequently to the South to visit friends, and return often to Brooklyn to visit family.

Jeff Kolnick, Professor of History at Southwest Minnesota State University in Marshall, Minnesota, is a modern U.S. historian who is also a scholar of the American Civil Rights Movement. He is one of the founding members of the Fannie Lou Hamer National Institute on Citizenship and Democracy and has served as a core faculty member in several of the Hamer Institute’s Landmark grants. Kolnick is currently under contract with Bedford St Martin’s Press for a book on the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project (Freedom Summer), due out in 2015.






Hilliard L. Lackey is Associate Professor of Urban Higher Education, History, and Geography at Jackson State University. He served as president of the Jackson State University National Alumni Association from 2004 to 2010. He attended JSU, the University of Arkansas, and the University of Mississippi. His entire career has been in higher education as an administrator and faculty member, mostly at JSU. His research interests are two-fold: 1.) Historical geography of the Mississippi Delta and 2.) How to help Black children succeed in schools and colleges. He has written several books, including:  Marks, Martin and the Mule Train; Mining Delta Minds; Storm Splitter; WWJD and Puppy Love in a Rosenwald School: and. Raising Geniuses.

His passion is recruiting and mentoring college students. Since 1967, he has recruited approximately 200 students per year to Jackson State University where he also teaches and mentors many of these same students. He believes lives change when people care. In 2008, he was inducted into the National Black College Alumni Hall of Fame for having recruited 400 students to JSU from his hometown of Marks, Mississippi; the county rose from the worst to 61st in America.

Dr. Lackey is married to his childhood sweetheart, Mrs. Lillian Troupe Lackey, a retired Jackson Public Schools math teacher. They are the parents of: Dr. Katrina Lackey Davis (medical doctor); Hilliard Lawrence Lackey IV (marine biologist); Dr. Tahirih Charryse Lackey (engineer); and Darryl William Lackey (early childhood educator). Dr. Lackey believes that he has been created to Know God, to Serve God, and to contribute to an ever-advancing civilization. He is committed to doing all the good he can, for all the people he can, for as long as he can.

Charles McKinney is the Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and an Associate Professor of History at Rhodes College in Memphis, TN. He teaches courses in African American History and 20th century social and political history of the United States. His particular areas of interest is the civil rights movement. He is the author ofGreater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina, a work which sheds light on the building of a movement in the Rural South, and the evolving nature of social change in the middle of the twentieth century. McKinney has provided commentary for the Memphis Commercial Appeal, the Kansas City Star, the Boston Herald, CNN, and has provided on-camera interviews for the documentaries “I AM A MAN: From Memphis, A Lesson in Life” and “Stepping: Beyond the Line.”  He is married to Natalie McKinney, The Director of Policy for Shelby County Schools, and they have two children, both of whom attend SCS schools.

Leslie Burl McLemore previously served as Project Director of the Landmarks of American History Project. He is a recognized authority on the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party and the Mississippi Movement in general. He is former Dean of the Graduate school and Founding Chair and Professor of Political Science at Jackson State University. Dr. McLemore also served as Project Director for several Mississippi Humanities Council grants and was Chair of the Mississippi Humanities Council. In 2010, Dr. McLemore served as Interim President of Jackson State University.  McLemore is currently under contract with Bedford St Martin’s Press for a book on the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project (Freedom Summer), due out in 2015.





Keith Lamont Mcmillian is a business professional who, through collaboration, partnerships and relationships, creates win-win situations.  After several years of industry training in management and customer service, Mcmillian earned his Master of Arts degree in Political Science with a focus in policy and administration.  Now, Program Manager of the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO,  he continues to foster productive relationships under the auspices of the Institute for Social Justice and Race Relations.  The Fannie Lou Hamer Institute @ COFO supports the mission of Jackson State University as it continues to empower diverse students to become leaders. As the Program Manager, McMillian is responsible for the overall direction and effective management of the Hamer Institute @ COFO. This includes: daily administration of the Title III Program, development of effective administrative compliance procedures, ensuring proper resource allocation, recordkeeping and maintaining systems for all grants and awards.

Charles M. Payne is the Frank P. Hixon Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago.  His interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history.  His most recent books are So Much Reform, So Little Change (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2008) which examines the persistence of failure in urban schools, and a co-edited anthology,  Teach Freedom: The African American Tradition of Education For Liberation (Teachers College Press, 2008), which is concerned with education as a tool for liberation  from Reconstruction through Children’s Defense Fund Freedom Schools.  He is also the author of Getting What We Ask For:  The Ambiguity of Success and Failure In Urban Education (1984) and I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (1995).  The latter has won awards from the Southern Regional Council, Choice Magazine, the Simon Wisenthal Center and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.  He is co-author of Debating the Civil Rights Movement (1999) and co-editor of Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African American Activism, 1850 -1950 (2003).

During the 2014- 15 school year, he will be a Fellow at the Institute for Advanced Studies at Princeton, working on a book that continues the conversation from So Much Reform.  Tentatively entitled,  Fragile Victories: The State of the Debate on Urban School Reform, this will be a strategic overview of what we should have learned about large-scale change in urban schools over the last decade and how our deeply polarized national debate keeps us from acting on the best practice. He is also finishing a book with the working title of  “When I Discover Who I Am….”: Reframing the Conversation About Black and Latino Youth (forthcoming, 2015, Beacon Press) which argues that the current national debate about education has become narrowly academic in a way that underestimates the importance of the sense of disconnection that many minority youth feel from the larger society and its institutions and the importance of helping those youth develop the capacity to think critically about their social identities.  With the support of the Carnegie Foundation, he is exploring how schooling for minorities in France, the United Kingdom and Hungary compares to the United States.

He is the recipient of a Senior Scholar grant from the Spencer Foundation and was a Resident Fellow at the foundation for 2006-7.  He has won an Alphonse Fletcher Fellowship, granted in recognition of work that contributes to improving race relations in American society and furthers the broad social goals of the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown v.Board of Education decision of 1954. 

Payne has been a member of the Board of the Chicago Algebra Project, of the Steering Committee for the Consortium on Chicago School Research, the Board of Directors of MDRC, the Research Advisory Committee for the Chicago Annenberg Project, the editorial boards of Catalyst, the Sociology of Education and Educational Researcher, the advisory board for Teacher College Press’ series on social justice.  He currently serves on the MDRC Education Committee,  and the research committee for the Public Education Fund in Chicago.  For 2013-14 , he serves as Senior Fellow for the Center for the Study Policy.  He is a co-founder of the Duke Curriculum Project, which involved university faculty in the professional development of public school teachers and also co-founder of the John Hope Franklin Scholars, which tries to better prepare high school youngsters for college.  He is among the founders of the Education for Liberation Network, which encourages the development of educational initiatives that encourage young people to think critically about social issues and understand their own capacity for addressing them. Payne was also founding director of the Urban Education Project in Orange, New Jersey, a nonprofit community center that broadens educational experiences for urban youngsters.

He has taught at Southern University, Williams College, Northwestern University and Duke University.  He has won several teaching awards; at Northwestern, he held the Charles Deering McCormick Chair for Teaching Excellence and at Duke, the Sally Dalton Robinson Chair for excellence in teaching and research. In 2010-11, he served as the acting executive director of the Woodlawn Children’s Promise Community, an effort, modeled on the Harlem Children’s Zone, to dramatically improve youth outcomes in the Woodlawn neighborhood of Chicago.  He served briefly as Interim Chief Education Officer for Chicago Public Schools.                                   

Payne holds a bachelor's degree in Afro-American studies from Syracuse University and a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern.  

Leniece Titani Smith Associate Professor of Political Science, Jackson State University.

Dr. Smith received her PhD in Political Science from the University of Chicago in 2005. She was appointed Assistant Professor at Jackson State University in 2011, and earned tenure and promotion in 2017. Dr. Smith’s areas of research specialization include African-American political attitudes and behaviour, specifically attitudes towards immigrants and immigration, Chicago politics, and Black culture and politics. Her teaching areas include American government, urban politics, African-Americans and the American political system, Black music and the African-American experience, and race and racism in the United States and Europe, as well as the politics of dissent.  Dr. Smith recently completed a book chapter entitled "The Racial Contract: The Case of Ferguson, MO" (forthcoming 2017) in Out of the Fire: Readings in Africana Studies. As well as a journal article titled "Chicago Dailies’ Framing of Corruption: 'Operation Haunted Hall,'" in the Illinois Political Science Review 2016. She has also published in journals such as the National Political Science Review and the Journal of Sports History. She is currently conducting research to produce a thematic map of the housing stock in West Jackson, MS with a group of five undergraduate researchers. 

Margaret Washington, professor of history at Cornell University, specializes in African American history and culture; African American women and the American South. She is the author of numerous articles and several volumes. She published the only edited and annotated edition of the Narrative of Sojourner Truth, which is a Vintage Books Classic. Her book, A Peculiar People: Slave Religion and Community Culture Among the Gullahs, won the Sierra Prize from the Western Association of Women's Historians.

Washington’s Sojourner Truth’s America, won the Letitia Woods Brown Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians for the best book on African American women. Sojourner Truth's America also won the inaugural Darlene Clark Hine Prize from the Organization of American Historians for the best book in African American women’s and gender history. And Choice Magazine voted Sojourner Truth's America one of the 10 outstanding academic books of 2009.

Washington's work in public history includes consulting for the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, the National Endowment for the Humanities and serving on the Executive Board of the New York Council for the Humanities. She has been advisor and historical consultant for numerous films including “Daughters of the Dust”; “When the Lion Wrote History: the Life of Frederick Douglas;” “Liberty;” “Africans in America;” “The Musical Legacy of Gullah Culture;” “John Brown’s Holy War;” “Abraham and Mary Lincoln, A House Divided;” “The Gettysburg Address;” “Jazz;” “Unchained Memories: the Narratives of Former Slaves,”  “This Far by Faith: A History of the Black Church;” “The Slave Trade,” and “God in America.” Washington is also on the Board of John Brown Lives! a social justice organization involved in issues such as human trafficking and prison reform.

Currently, Professor Washington is writing a book on antislavery and the Underground Railroad.  She is also a consultant with the National Park Service on the Harriet Tubman Underground Railroad National Park on Maryland's Eastern Shore.


Dr. Michael Vinson Williams is the son of James and Delois Williams of Etta, Mississippi.  He is the oldest sibling in a close-knit family of seven sisters and three brothers and has two beautiful daughters named Ayo and Marimba.

Williams earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in history and sociology, a Master of Arts in history and the Doctor of Philosophy in history from the University of Mississippi. He was also among the University’s first Phi Beta Kappa initiating class.  His research and teaching interests include social and political resistance movements, Civil Rights struggle and conflict, black intellectuals and radicalism and various aspects of African history. He has spoken extensively on the Civil Rights movement, NAACP Field Secretary Medgar Wiley Evers and the impact of the civil rights struggle on the social and political development of America.   

He continues to serve on numerous boards and committees including the President’s Advisory Committee on Diversity at the University of Texas at El Paso. He has given radio interviews for the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS), National Public Radio (NPR) and the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) regarding the life and legacy of Medgar Evers and the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi. He was also featured on C-SPAN’s titled series BookTV in Jackson Mississippi and has received a number of awards and recognition for his scholarship, teaching and community service including the Bharati Mehrotra Excellence in Teaching Award, the Union County Branch NAACP Freedom Fund Banquet Award and the Phenomenal Man Award.

Williams has presented his research at a number of national and regional conferences and programs throughout the country. In addition, he has published on a variety of topics.

Williams is the author of the biography on NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers titled Medgar Evers: Mississippi Martyr. He also has publications in The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies, has an essay in the anthology The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi and his article “With Determination and Fortitude We Come to Vote: Black Organization and Resistance to Voter Suppression in Mississippi,” won the Mississippi Historical Society’s Willie D. Halsell Prize. He continues to receive requests for interviews and documentary and film cameos with news agencies, including radio and television, requesting his expertise in the areas of civil rights and social struggle.

Williams is currently Director of the African American Studies Program, Black Student Union Advisor and Professor of History at the University of Texas at El Paso.