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Executive Board

Terms ending 2020

Joey Fink | High Point University

Joey Fink is Assistant Professor of History at High Point University. She specializes in U.S. labor and working-class history and women’s/gender history, as well as oral history theory and method. Her work has been published by Southern Spaces and in North Carolina Women, Their Lives and Times (UGA Press). She is working on her manuscript, The Many Norma Raes, which examines women’s leadership in the campaign to unionize the J.P. Stevens textile mills, a multi-faceted struggle for workers’ rights that connected the labor, women’s, civil rights, and occupational health and safety movements in the 1970s. Her public history work includes: interviews for the Southern Oral History Program; research for the Smithsonian's Civil Rights History Project; serving on the North Carolina Historic Highway Marker committee; and working with the International Civil Rights Center and Museum to host a traveling exhibit on disability rights.

Mary Frederickson | Emory University

Mary Frederickson is currently an affiliated faculty member in the Institute for Liberal Arts at Emory University and Professor Emeritus of History at Miami University, Oxford, Ohio, where she taught from 1988-2015. At Miami, she was awarded the Distinguished Educator Award from the College of Arts and Science and the Distinguished Teaching Award from the Ohio Academy of History. Her research and teaching focus on gender, race, labor studies, and the social impact of disease. In 2010 she was a visiting scholar at the Woodrow Wilson Center in Washington, DC. The following year, she published Looking South: Race, Gender, and the Transformation of Labor, a study of the low-wage, anti-union and state-supported industries that marked the creation of the New South and now the Global South. In 2012-13, she was named Senior Mellon Fellow at the James Weldon Johnson Institute at Emory University. Since 2013 she has been a Visiting Professor at Emory, in both the Graduate Institute of Liberal Arts and the Rollins School of Public Health. She serves as series editor of “Public Health in the US and Global South,” for Southern Spaces. Recent publications include Gendered Resistance: Women, Slavery, and the Legacy of Margaret Garner, 2013, (co-edited with Delores M. Walters); and Global Women’s Work: Perspectives on Gender and Work in the Global Economy, 2018 (with Beth English and Olga Sanmiguel-Valderrama). Her many published articles include works on labor and cultural history, new trajectories in women’s history, and the relationship between historical consciousness and activism. The National Council for Research on Women, Fulbright-Hays, and the National Endowment for the Humanities have funded her research.

LaGuana Gray | University of Texas at San Antonio


Dr. LaGuana Gray is an associate professor in the Department of History at the University of Texas at San Antonio, where she is also affiliated with the Department of Race, Ethnicity, Gender, and Sexuality Studies. Dr. Gray specializes in African American, labor, southern, and women’s history. Her first book, We Just Keep Running the Line: Black Southern Women and the Poultry Processing Industry was published by LSU Press in November 2014 and was the recipient of the J. G. Ragsdale Book Award, recognizing the best non-fiction historical study of the history of race relations in Arkansas history.
Dr. Gray is currently researching the role of black women in unionizing and conducting a strike of Delta Pride Catfish, a company that began in the Mississippi Delta. She is also deeply interested in the history of black San Antonians and, in addition to her work on the local branch of the NAACP, is revising an essay on the San Antonio Mothers’ Service Organization

Terms ending 2021

Brian Kelly | Queen's University Belfast

Brian Kelly is a lifelong trade unionist active in the University and College Union (UCU) at Queen’s University Belfast. His early research was on interracial unionism in the New South, but in recent years he has focused on the formative struggles that accompanied slave emancipation. His first book, Race, Class and Power in the Alabama Coalfields, 1908-1921  (Illinois, 2001), won a number of awards, including the Southern Historical Association's H. L. Mitchell Prize for an outstanding book in Southern working-class history, and its Frances Butler Simkins Award for the best first book by an author in Southern history. In the years since he has published widely on the problem of racial antagonism and its impact on working-class politics in the US. Formerly a Walter Hines Page Fellow at the National Humanities Center in North Carolina, he holds non-residential fellowships at the Institute for Southern Studies (University of South Carolina) and the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute (Harvard University). He is past director of the After Slavery Project  and is competing a study of black labor in Reconstruction South Carolina.

Sarah McNamara | Texas A&M

Sarah McNamara is Assistant Professor of History and affiliated faculty in the Latina/o, Mexican American Studies Program at Texas A&M University. Her research focuses on Latinx, labor, women and gender, and immigration histories in the modern United States. She is at work on her first book, “From Picket Lines to Picket Fences: Latinas and the Remaking of the Jim Crow South, 1930-1964.” McNamara has two forthcoming articles, “Borderland Unionism: Latina Activism in Ybor City and Tampa, Florida,” which will appear in the 2019 summer issue of the Journal of American Ethnic History, and “A Not-So Nuevo Past: Latina Histories in the U.S. South,” in Labor: Studies in Working Class History as well as a special issue of the JAEH that interrogates the long history of multi-ethnic immigration to the U.S. South. In March 2018, her chapter “Settlement of Ybor City, 1885-1930,” was published in 50 Events that Shaped Latino History. Beyond historical work, McNamara is dedicated to interdisciplinary collaboration and sharing research on Latinx, immigration, and women and gender with a broad audience. She has written for Public SeminarThe Washington Post and published an ethnopoetic piece about the experience of undocumented activists in the U.S. South with South Writ Large. In addition to scholarship, McNamara is dedicated to student and community activism. At Texas A&M, McNamara acts as the faculty to sponsor to CMSA, previously the DREAMAct Club, which advocates for DACA and undocumented students at Texas A&M through collective action and university administrative change. McNamara’s work has received support from the American Historical Association, the American Libraries Association, and the National Endowment for the Humanities, among others.

Susan O'Donovan | University of Memphis

Susan Eva O’Donovan is Associate Professor of History at the University of Memphis and has held appointments with History and African & African American Studies at Harvard University and the Freedmen and Southern Society Project at the University of Maryland. A scholar of nineteenth-century race, labor, and politics, she has written extensively on African American experiences in the post emancipation South. Susan is currently at work on a new project, Becoming Citizens: The Political Lives of Slaves. Under contract with Metropolitan Books, Becoming Citizens explores the relationship between what slaves did for their owners and what they came to know and do for themselves in the years leading up to secession. Susan has served on/chaired numerous university and professional committees; she is co-director of the Memphis Massacre Project; a founding member of the After Slavery Project; and the district coordinator for West Tennessee History Day, an affiliate of National History Day.

CONTACT Southern Labor Studies Association 

c/o Erik Gellman, SLSA/UNC Liaison

Department of History

University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill

102 Emerson Drive, CB #3195

Chapel Hill, NC 27599-3195

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