SLSA election results are in! Robert Kortstad (Duke University) was elected unanimously as the next Vice-President, as was Seth LaShier (George Washington University) as the new grad student representative. The three new elected Board members are Kelly Kennington (Auburn University), Jay Driskell (Hood College), and Jessie Wilkerson (University of Mississippi).
Robert Korstad is Professor of Public Policy and History at Duke University. His research interests include twentieth century U.S. history, labor history, African American history, and contemporary social policy. His publications include: To Right These Wrongs: The North Carolina Fund and the Battle to End Poverty and Inequality in 1960s America (with James L. Leloudis), Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-Twentieth-Century South, Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Talk About Life in the Segregated South (coeditor), and Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World (coauthor).
Seth LaShier is a Ph.D. candidate in the history department at George Washington University. His research interests includes the histories of labor, race, liberalism, and urban political economy. He is currently writing a dissertation on the politics of work in Atlanta in the 1960s and 1970s. Seth helped organize the 2015 SLSA conference, which, despite the weather, was successfully held at George Washington University over the first weekend of March.
Kelly Kennington received her Ph.D. in history from Duke University in 2009. Currently, she is an Assistant Professor of History at Auburn University, teaching courses in United States history, the American South, World History, and the History of American Slavery. Her research interests include slavery, law, and the antebellum American South and she most recently published an article, “Geography, Mobility, and the Law: Suing for Freedom in Antebellum St. Louis,” in the Journal of Southern History. Her current book project, In the Shadow of Dred Scott: St. Louis Freedom Suits and the Development of Slaves’ Legal Culture in Antebellum America, expands on her dissertation and focuses on enslaved litigants—in St. Louis and elsewhere—who sued for freedom in the antebellum years.
Jay Driskell is currently an assistant professor of history at Hood College in Frederick, MD and has been a member of SLSA for several years. His work explores the relationship between race, gender, and the forging of effective political solidarities in struggles for power within the urbanizing, segregating South. His recent book, Schooling Jim Crow: The Fight for Atlanta’s Booker T. Washington High School and the Roots of Black Protest Politics (University Press of Virginia, 2014), tells the story of how the NAACP organized a voting bloc powerful enough to compel the city of Atlanta to budget $1.5 million for the construction of schools for black students. Jay’s next book will explore how the language of disease and public health shaped the terms of political contestation in Gilded Age Jacksonville, FL. Jay also worked for five years as an organizer for the Graduate Employees and Students Organization (GESO) at Yale University, doing consulting and research work for UNITE HERE and member education for the International Brotherhood of Teamsters (IBT). Alongside Lane Windham, he also helped build the labor history curriculum for the National Labor College. Currently, he also runs the DC-Area African American Studies Works-in-Progress Seminar, which meets in the IBT archive at George Washington University.
Jessie Wilkerson is Assistant Professor in History and Southern Studies at the University of Mississippi. She is currently working on her manuscript, Where Movements Meet: From the War on Poverty to Grassroots Feminism in the Appalachian South. Since joining the faculty at U of M, she has been learning about current labor struggles in Mississippi—including the organizing efforts of Nissan workers—and is eager to find ways to support southern labor struggles through teaching, writing, public history projects, and networking with SLSA members.