Ashley Dennis

Assistant Professor

Address: Maybank Hall 212
Office Hours: By appt.
Phone: 843.953.1420

Ashley D. Dennis is an Assistant Professor of History at the College of Charleston. She is also the Public History Coordinator of the MA program in History and a faculty affiliate of the African American Studies Program. Dr. Dennis is a scholar of African American history, with specialties in Black women’s history, the history of Black education, and Black intellectual history. Her current book manuscript, Intellectual Emancipation: Black Women, Education, and Anti-Blackness in the Age of Jim Crow, explores how and why Black women teachers, librarians, and authors promoted the study of Black history and culture among children during the mid-twentieth century. She examines their involvement in debates about book banning, the causes and solutions to racism, the nature of slavery in the U.S., and the relationship between Africa and the African diaspora.

As a public historian, Dr. Dennis has written a digital tour for the Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture and given tours at Roosevelt House Public Policy Institute, among other institutions. She is a Certified Interpretive Guide with the National Association for Interpretation.

Dr. Dennis has received fellowships from the American Council of Learned Societies, The Department of African and African American Studies at Washington University in St. Louis, Roberta Buffett Institute for Global Affairs at Northwestern University, and the Black Metropolis Research Consortium. In recognition of her scholarship on Madeline Morgan and the mandatory Black history curriculum in Chicago during World War II, she won the 2021 Henry Barnard Prize from the History of Education Society and the 2019 Drusilla Dunjee Houston Memorial Scholarship Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Her work has been published in The History of Education Quarterly, Historical Studies in Education, Black Perspectives, and The Washington Post.


Ph.D., African American Studies, Northwestern University, 2022

M.A., African American Studies, Northwestern University, 2019

B.A., History, Hunter College, City University of New York, 2016

Honors and Awards

Washington University in St. Louis Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2022

Mellon/ACLS Dissertation Completion Fellowship, 2021

History of Education Society Henry Barnard Prize, 2021

Northwestern Buffett Institute Global Impacts Graduate Fellowship, 2020

Association of Black Women Historians D.D. Houston Award, 2019

Black Metropolis Research Consortium Summer Short-Term Fellowship, 2019

Gilder Lehrman History Scholar Award, 2016


Book Manuscript

Intellectual Emancipation: Black Women, Education, and Anti-Blackness in the Age of Jim Crow (in progress)

Peer-Reviewed Article

“The Intellectual Emancipation of the Negro:” Madeline Morgan and the Mandatory Black History Curriculum in Chicago during World War II, History of Education Quarterly 62, no. 2 (April 2022).


“The Black Women Who Launched the Original Anti-racist Reading List,” Washington Post, June 18, 2020. 

Book Reviews

Review of From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twentieth-First Century, by William A. Darity and A. Kirsten Mullen, Black Perspectives, October 8, 2020.

Review of Transforming the Elite: Black Students and the Desegregation of Private Schools, by Michelle A. Purdy, Historical Studies in Education, (Spring 2020): 142-144.