Crystal R. Sanders, 2020–21

America’s Forgotten Migration: Black Southerners’ Quest for Graduate Education in the Age of Jim Crow

Anthony E. Kaye Fellowship, 2020-21

Associate Professor of History, The Pennsylvania State University


Crystal Sanders

Crystal R. Sanders is associate professor of history at The Pennsylvania State University. Professor Sanders received her BA in history and public policy from Duke University and her PhD in history from Northwestern University.  Her dissertation won the C. Vann Woodward Prize for the best dissertation in southern history. She is the author of of the award-winning book, A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle (UNC Press, 2016). The book received much acclaim including the Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association and the New Scholar’s Book Award from Division F of the American Educational Research Association. The book was also a shortlist finalist for the Benjamin Hooks National Book Award.

Professor Sanders’s scholarship can also be found in the Journal of African American History, the Journal of Southern History, the North Carolina Historical Review, and the History of Education Quarterly. Her research interests include Civil Rights history, the history of Black education, and Black women’s history. She is currently completing a book on black southerners’ efforts to secure graduate education during the era of legal segregation.

Selected Publications

A Chance for Change

  • Sanders, Crystal R. “Pursuing the ‘Unfinished Business of Democracy’: Willa B. Player and Liberal Arts Education in the Civil Rights Era.” North Carolina Historical Review 96, no. 1 (January 2019): 1-33.
  • Sanders, Crystal R. A Chance for Change: Head Start and Mississippi’s Black Freedom Struggle. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2016.
  • Sanders, Crystal R. “More Than Cookies and Crayons: Head Start Programs and African American Empowerment in Mississippi, 1965-1968.” The Journal of African American History 100, no. 4 African American Education, Civil Rights, and Black Power (Fall 2015): 586-609.
  • Sanders, Crystal R. “Blue Water, Black Beach: The North Carolina Teachers Association and Hammocks Beach in the Age of Jim Crow.” North Carolina Historical Review 92, no. 2 (April 2015): 145-64.
  • Sanders, Crystal R. “Dignity in Life and Death: Undertaker Clarie Collins Harvey and Black Women’s Entrepreneurial Activism.” Journal of Mississippi History 76, no. 3 and 4 (Fall/Winter 2014): 111-27.
  • Sanders, Crystal R. “North Carolina Justice On Display: Governor Bob Scott and the 1968 Benson Affair.” The Journal of Southern History 79, no. 3 (August 2013): 659-80.
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