Blair L. M. Kelley (NHC Fellow, 2022–23)

Project Title

Black Folk: The Promise of the Black Working Class

John Hope Franklin Fellowship; NEH Fellowship, 2022–23

Professor of History, North Carolina State University


Blair L. M. Kelley is professor of history at North Carolina State University. In January 2023, Kelley will join the faculty at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill as director of the Center for the Study of the American South, co-director of the Southern Futures Initiative, and Joel R. Williamson Distinguished Professor of Southern Studies. At the National Humanities Center, Kelley is completing a new book project entitled Black Folk: The Roots of the Black Working Class (Liveright, W.W. Norton and Company), which was awarded a 2020 Creative Nonfiction Grant by the Whiting Foundation. Her first book, Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship (UNC Press), won the Letitia Woods Brown Best Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Selected Publications

Right to Ride

  • Kelley, Blair L. M. “Silencing a Generation.” In Journalism and Jim Crow: White Supremacy and the Black Struggle for a New America, edited by Kathy Roberts Forde and Sid Bedingfield, 285–304. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2021.
  • Kelley, Blair L. M. “1894–1899: Plessy v. Ferguson.” In Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019, edited by Ibram X. Kendi and Keisha N. Blain, 258–61. New York: One World, 2021.
  • Kelley, Blair L. M. “Unabated Protest: American Citizenship and African American Resistance to Jim Crow Segregation.” In The United States and the Question of Rights, edited by Irina Brittner, Sabine N. Meyer, and Peter Schneck, 43–61. American Studies: A Monograph Series. Heidelberg: Universitätsverlag, 2020.
  • Kelley, Blair L. M., and Claudrena N. Harold. “The Historiography of the Black South: From Reconstruction to Jim Crow.” In Reinterpreting Southern Histories: Essays in Historiography, edited by Craig Thompson Friend, and Lorri Glover, 245–73. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2020.
  • Kelley, Blair L. M. Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2010. Awarded the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award, Association of Black Women Historians.
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