• Leslie M. Alexander
  • Leslie M. Alexander
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Professor of History
  • Degree: Ph.D., Department of History, Cornell University
  • Additional Degree(s): M.A., Department of History, Cornell University B.A., Department of History, Stanford University
  • Specialty: African American History, African Diaspora History, Early American History
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  • Office: 307 Van Dyck Hall


Website: https://drlesliealexander.com


I specialize in early African American and African Diaspora history, particularly the history of slavery, Black political and intellectual thought, and resistance movements. My research is dedicated to excavating the social, political, and cultural history of slavery and the people who fought against it. My past, current, and future projects are all driven by a common passionate intellectual curiosity; namely, how the legacy of slavery and Black activism have shaped the social, cultural, and political contours of the United States and the broader Atlantic World.

I am especially interested in the myriad ways that slavery and its afterlives have shaped (and continue to influence) the United States and the Atlantic World historically and contemporarily.




  •  Fear of a Black Republic: Haiti and the Birth of Black Internationalism in the United States, Champaign and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2022.
  • Ideas in Unexpected Places: Reimagining the Boundaries of Black Intellectual History. Co-editor, Evanston, Illinois: Northwestern University Press, April 2022.
  • African or American?: Black Identity and Political Activism in New York City, 1784-1861. Champaign and Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2008. Awarded the National Council for Black Studies prize for Outstanding Scholarship in the Field of Africana Studies.

Articles and Book Chapters

  • “Fear” in The 1619 Project: A New Origin Story, ed. Nikole Hannah Jones, One World, November 2021.
  • “Black Utopia: Haiti and Black Transnational Consciousness in the Early Nineteenth Century,” William and Mary Quarterly, April 2021.
  • We Have Not Yet Forgiven Haiti For Being Black,” Black Perspectives, December 7, 2020.
  • “‘A United and Valiant People:’ Black Visions of Haiti in the Immediate Aftermath of Haitian Independence,” in Ideas in Unexpected Places: Reimagining Black Intellectual History, eds. Leslie Alexander, Brandon Byrd, and Russell Rickford, Northwestern University Press, April 2022.
  • “The Birth of a Nation is an Epic Fail,” The Nation, October 6, 2016.
  • “A Land of Promise: Emigration and Pennsylvania’s Black Elite in the Era of the Haitian Revolution” in The Civil War in Pennsylvania: The African American Experience. Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania: Senator John Heinz History Center, 2013. Recipient of the 2014 American Association of State and Local History Award of Merit.
  • “A Pact With the Devil?: The United States and the Fate of Modern Haiti,” Origins e-History, online journal, February 2011.
  • “The Black Republic: The Influence of the Haitian Revolution on Black Political Consciousness, 1816-1862,” in African Americans and the Haitian Revolution: Selected Essays and Historical Documents, eds. Maurice Jackson and Jacqueline Bacon. Routledge, 2009. Republished in Haitian History: New Perspectives, ed., Alyssa Sepinwall. New York: Routledge Press, 2012.
  • “The New York City Draft Riot of 1863,” in The Encyclopedia of American Race Riots, eds. James Upton and Walter Rucker. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 2006.
  • “The Challenge of Race: Rethinking the Position of Black Women in the Field of Women’s History.”  Journal of Women’s History, volume 16, no. 4, December 2004.
  • Republished as: “Rethinking the Position of Black Women in American Women’s History” in Major Problems in American Women’s History, eds. Mary Beth Norton, Ruth M. Alexander, and Thomas Paterson. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 2007.


  • Research Fellow, Society for the Humanities, Cornell University
  • Audre Lorde Humanities Activism Fellowship, Institute for Humanities Research
  • Distinguished Visiting Scholar, Arizona State University
  • Ford Foundation Senior Fellowship
  • Fellow, Leadership Academy, University of Oregon
  • Provost’s Senior Humanist Fellowship, Oregon Humanities Center
  • Award for Faculty Excellence, Black Student Association, The Ohio State University
  • Presidential Award for Service, National Council for Black Studies
  • Distinguished Faculty Mentor Award, given by OSU Outstanding Senior
  • Fire and Focus Award for Distinguished Teaching
  • National Council for Black Studies Award for Distinguished Scholarship
  • National Council for Black Studies Award for Outstanding Service
  • Arts and Humanities Diversity Enhancement Award
  • University Alumni Award for Distinguished Teaching
  • University Distinguished Diversity Enhancement Award
  • College of Humanities Diversity Enhancement Award
  • Ford Foundation Post-Doctoral Fellowship
  • Ford Foundation Dissertation Fellowship


  •  Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora
    • Immediate Past President and Advisory Board member, 2019-present
    • President, 2015-2019
    • Vice President, 2013-2015
    • Executive Board Member, 2009-2019
  • Black Perspectives
    • Editorial Board
  • Institute for Humanities Research Advisory Board
    • Arizona State University, 2020-2022
  • Journal of African American History
    • Editorial Board
  • Montpelier Foundation
    • Board Member
  • National Council for Black Studies
    • Executive Board Member, 2010-present
  • University Senate, The Ohio State University, 2010-2016
  • University Senate Steering Committee, The Ohio State University, 2014-2016
  • Faculty Council, The Ohio State University, 2010-2016
    • Chair, 2013-2014


  • Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Lifetime Member
  • Association for the Study of the Worldwide African Diaspora, Lifetime Member
  • Association of Black Women Historians, Lifetime Member
  • Association of Caribbean Historians
  • Caribbean Studies Association
  • Haitian Studies Association
  • National Council for Black Studies
  • Organization of American Historians
  • Society of Senior Ford Fellows