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Sheena Harris

Associate Professor, Program Coordinator of Africana Studies

Teaching Fields

  • African American History
  • American History
  • Black Feminism
  • Southern Studies
  • Women, Gender, and Sexuality
  • West African History


  • Ph.D., The University of Memphis, 2012
  • M.A.S.S., Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 2007
  • B.S., Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 2006

Research Interests

Dr. Harris' research agenda is deeply concerned with the lives of underrepresented communities. Drawing upon Black feminist theoretical frameworks, her book Margaret Murray Washington: The Life and Times of a Career Clubwoman (University of Tennessee Press, 2021) explores the political and public activism of Washington from 1861 to 1925. The monograph analyzes Washington’s transgressive behavior, particularly with regard to her public activism, which helped construct her personified gendered identity. Washington’s life and work reminds us of the possibilities for alliances that remain implicit in resistance to all forms of oppression, and of the centrality of the Black Women’s Club Movement’s intersectional praxis to effect social and political change. Dr. Harris’ research contributes to women’s history, African American history, organizational studies, and Black female biographical studies.

Dr. Harris finds biography a compelling method through which to better understand the diversity of human experiences. She is currently working on several monographs, one of which explores the educational campaigns of Margaret Murray Washington titled, A Colored Woman Traveler: Margaret Murray Washington’s Racial Improvement Tours, 1915-1925. The project traces Washington’s educational tours between 1916 and 1925 and tells the larger story of Black female travel from the South to the American West. Dr Harris also serves on the Editorial Board for “The Black Soldiers in the War and Society: New Narratives and Critical Perspectives,” series at The University of Virginia for innovative scholarship on the Black Military experience.

Courses Offered

  • Hist 451: African American History to 1900
  • Hist 452: African American History Since 1900



Margaret Murray Washington: The Life and Times of a Career Clubwoman (University of Tennessee Press, 2021)

Journal Articles, Book Chapters, and Essays:

“A Gendered Curriculum: The Building of an Institute Through the Lens of Olivia A. Davidson and Fanny N. Smith,” in West Virginia Anthology. West Virginia University Press (Under Review) 

“A Woman’s Work: The Story of Cornelia Bowen and Mt. Meigs, Alabama,” in The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies. Volume 39, Number 04. Winter 2020. 27-49.
*Winner, 2021 Griot Golden Pen Award

“Margaret Murray Washington: Co-founder of the National Association of Colored Women and the Wife of Booker T. Washington,” in Alabama Women: Their Lives and Times, eds. Lisa Dorr and Susan Ashmore (University of Georgia Press, 2017)
*Winner, James F. Sulzby Book Award, Contributing Author

“African American Women’s Clubs,” World of Jim Crow: A Daily Life Encyclopedia, 2018

“Suffragist Georgia Stewart,” Women and Social Movements in the U.S., 1600–2000, 2017

“African-American Women and the Public Sphere,” in Liberating Minds, Liberating Society: Black Women in the Development of American Culture and Society, eds. Lopez D. Matthews, Jr. and Kenvi C. Phillips (Washington, D.C.: Association of Black Women Historians, 2014), 68-77

“Black Women: From Public Arena to Reality TV,” in Real Sister: Stereotypes, Respectability, and Black Women in Reality TV (Rutgers University Press, 2015)

Grants and Awards

  • National Endowment for the Humanities Grant, 2020-2021
  • Leadership Excellence Award, Tuskegee University History Research Symposium 2021
  • Golden Pen Award, The Griot: The Journal of African American Studies, 2021
  • Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant, 2017- 2020
  • James F. Sulzby Book Award, Contributing Author, 2019
  • Faculty Achievement Award, Tuskegee University, 2019
  • ELEVATE Fellow, Penn State Center for Minority Serving Institutions, 2017-2018
  • Faculty Performance Award for Service, Tuskegee University, 2018
  • Excellence in Leadership Award, Tuskegee University Phi Alpha Theta, 2017
  • Mwalima Excellence in Teaching Award, Tuskegee University, 2016
  • Honorable Mention, Andrew W. Mellon Post-Doctorate Fellowship in the Humanities, 2014
  • Commander’s Coin of Excellence, Austin Peay State University– Aviation Regiment (1-228th), Soto Cano Air Base Honduras, 2013
  • Support of Excellence Award, Austin Peay State University Army– Soto Cano Air Base (IMCOM-JTFB-ARFOR) Honduras, 2013