"Change does not roll in on the wheels of inevitability, but comes through continuous struggle."

        -- Martin Luther King Jr.



Kellie Carter Jackson is a 19th century historian in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. Carter Jackson's research focuses on slavery and the abolitionists, violence as a political discourse, historical film, and black women’s history. Her upcoming book, Force & Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence (University of Pennslyvania Press), examines the political and social tensions preceding the American Civil War and the conditions and that led some black abolitionists to believe that slavery might only be abolished by violent force. Before coming to Wellesley College, Carter Jackson was a Harvard College Fellow in the Department of African & African American Studies at Harvard University in Cambridge, MA. She earned her Ph.D in American History at Columbia University working under the esteemed historian Eric Foner and her bachelor's degree (cum laude) in Print Journalism from the John H. Johnson School of Communications at Howard University in Washington, DC.


In addition to Force & Freedom, Carter Jackson is co-editor of Reconsidering Roots: Race, Politics, & Memory (Athens: University of Georgia Press).With a forward written by Henry Louis Gates Jr., Reconsidering Roots is the first scholarly collection of essays devoted entirely to understanding the remarkable tenacity of the film’s visual, cultural, and political influence on American history. Erica Ball and Carter Jackson have also edited a Special Issue on the 40th Anniversary of Roots for Transition Magazine (Issue 122). Carter Jackson was also featured in the History Channel's documentary, Roots: A History Revealed which was nominated for a NAACP Image Award in 2016.


Her latest article tells the story of her maternal grandmother, Ethel Phillips, who worked for 59 years as a domestic worker outside of Detroit. ‘‘ ‘She was a Member of the Family:’ Ethel Phillips, Domestic Labor and Employer Perceptions,” will be featured in the Women’s Studies Quarterly Special Issue on “Precarious Work” this fall. Her article, "Is Viola Davis in it?: Black Women Actors and the Single Stories of Historical Film” was published in Transition Magazine, Issue 114. She has also published an essay, "Violence and Political History," in the American Historical Association's Perspectives on History magazine. Carter Jackson' s chapter, " 'At the Risk of Our Own Lives': Violence and the Fugitive Slave Law in Pennsylvania" was published in the edited collection, The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience (Heinz History Center:2013) which won the American Association of State and Local History Award for Merit in 2014.  Carter Jackson has served as the Guest Editor for The National Journal of Urban Education & Practice's special issue on "Race and Urban Space: A Discourse on Power, Struggle, and Change" (Summer 2012). She is also a contributor to CognoscentiWBUR's Ideas and Opinion page (Boston's NPR news station), The Conversation, the AAIHS Blog Black Perspectives,  and Quartz, a sub- division of The Atlantic Monthly, where her article was named one of the top 13 essays of 2014. She has been interviewed for The New York Times, TV One, Al Jazeera International, Slate, The Telegraph, CBC Radio One (Nationally Syndicated Radio in Canada), and the History Channel.

Carter Jackson was a 2010-2011 Gilder Lehrman Fellow and a Richard Hofstadter Faculty Fellow at Columbia Univerity. She was also a Ronald E. McNair Scholar and a National Visionary Leadership Project Fellow, headed by Dr. Camille Cosby and Rene Poussaint.  As a fellow, her interviews of NVLP visionaries were archived at the Smithsonian Anacostia Museum of African American Life and Culture.

Carter Jackson has presented research at numerous national and international conferences held at the University of Cambridge, the Ubuntu Kraal in Johannesburg, South Africa, Yale University, Boston University, the American Historical Association (AHA), the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the American Studies Association (ASA), and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) among others. She has served as a keynote speaker on an array of lectures and discussions as well.

Carter Jackson  sat on the board for Freedom Rising: 150th Anniversary of the Emancipation Proclamation and African American Military Service Conference held at Harvard University in May of 2013. For the conference, Carter Jackson and Natalie Leger co-wrote the official program’s historical context entitled, “Roots of Liberty: Understanding the Haitian Revolution and its Impact” which was also translated into Haitian Kreyòl.  In conjunction with the conference, Carter Jackson was a fellow for the Massachusetts Foundation for the Humanities where she worked as a historical consultant for Roots of Liberty, a play with the theatrical contributions of Danny Glover and Edwidge Danticat. She also sits on the Editorial Board for Transition Magazine (Harvard University).

Kellie Carter Jackson is a historian, educator, and activist. She has taught at classes at Hunter College, Harvard University, Columbia

University, Barnard College, New York University, and Gonzaga University.  She has given presentations in both academic and non-academic settings, and is available to speak on a broad range of topics, including Black Abolitionists, American Slavery and Freedom, Violence as a Political Discourse, and Historical Film, and Black Women's History. She currently resides in Wellesley.

For more information, please direct all inquiries via email.