Sep 01

Black Women and the Criminal Justice System


How do we make sense of the increasing menace of racial terror in America? Is there a pattern to this racial violence? What is the history of this criminalization of Black women?  Why is there no mercy for Black women in the criminal justice system?  And how have Black women challenged these injustices in the criminal justice system?

Join the conversation with Sarah Haley, Keisha Blain, and Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor as they explain the role of race and gender not only in punishment but also in the Making of Jim Crow Modernity. They will explain why race and gender matter for understanding violence, degradation and mass incarceration then and now as well as the ways Black women have resisted these unjust systems.


  • Keisha N. Blain

    Brown University

    Keisha N. Blain, a 2022 Guggenheim Fellow and Class of 2022 Carnegie Fellow, is an award-winning historian of the 20th century United States with broad interests and specializations in African American History, the modern African Diaspora, and Women’s and Gender Studies. She completed a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University in 2014. Professor Blain is the author of Set the World on Fire: Black Nationalist Women and the Global Struggle for Freedom (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2018). The book won the 2018 First Book Award from the Berkshire Conference of Women Historians and the 2019 Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians. Her second book, Until I Am Free: Fannie Lou Hamer's Enduring Message to America (Beacon Press, 2021), was nominated for an NAACP Image Award and a finalist for the 2022 National Book Critics Circle Award.

    Professor Blain has also published four edited volumes. She is the co-editor of To Turn the Whole World Over: Black Women and Internationalism (University of Illinois Press, 2019); New Perspectives on the Black Intellectual Tradition (Northwestern University Press, 2018); and Charleston Syllabus: Readings on Race, Racism, and Racial Violence (University of Georgia Press, 2016). Her latest volume is Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619-2019, edited with Ibram X. Kendi (2021). Four Hundred Souls debuted at #1 on the New York Times Best Sellers' list and was selected as a finalist for the 2022 Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Nonfiction. Professor Blain is now writing A Global Struggle: How Black Women Led the Fight for Human Rights (W.W. Norton). The book offers a sweeping history of human rights framed by the work and ideas of Black women in the United States from the nineteenth century to the present.

  • Sarah Haley


    Dr. Haley is Assistant Professor of Gender Studies and African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. She received her PhD and M.A in African American Studies and American Studies at Yale University. Haley's book, No Mercy Here: Gender, Punishment, and the Making of Jim Crow Modernity was published by The University of North Carolina Press in 2016.

  • Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor

    Princeton University

    Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor writes and speaks on Black politics, social movements, and racial inequality in the United States. She is the author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation, which won the Lannan Cultural Freedom Award for an Especially Notable Book in 2016. She is also the editor of How We Get Free: Black Feminism and the Combahee River Collective, which won the Lambda Literary Award for LGBTQ nonfiction in 2018. Her third book, Race for Profit: Black Housing and the Urban Crisis of the 1970s, is forthcoming from University of North Carolina Press.

    Taylor is a widely sought public speaker and writer. In 2016, she was named one that one hundred most influential African Americans in the United States by The Root. Her writing has been published in the New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, Boston Review, Paris Review, Guardian, The Nation, Souls: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture and Society, Jacobin, and beyond.

    Taylor received her PhD in African American Studies at Northwestern University in 2013. She is assistant professor in the department of African American Studies at Princeton University.



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