Sonya Ramsey grew up in Nashville, Tennessee, and attended Howard University where she received a B.A. in Journalism and received her Master’s and Ph.D. in United States History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. An Associate Professor of History and Women’s and Gender Studies, Dr. Ramsey currently serves as Director of the Graduate Certificate Program and will become the Director of the Women’s and Gender Studies Program at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte in July 2021. Dr. Ramsey is the author of several historical works including, Reading, Writing, and Segregation: a Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville, published by the University of Illinois Press (2008). Her book, Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, a Modern-Day Race Woman and the Power of Black Leadership will be published by the University Press of Florida, spring 2022.
Ph.D. United States History – University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, 2000.
BOOKS Forthcoming, Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, a Modern-Day Race Woman Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, a Modern-Day Race Woman and the Power of Black Leadership, (University Press of Florida, forthcoming, spring 2022).
Reading, Writing, and Segregation: A Century of Black Women Teachers in Nashville, Tennessee, (Champaign-Urbana, IL: University of Illinois Press, 2008).
“Caring is Activism: Black Southern Womanist Teachers Theorizing and the Careers of Kathleen Crosby and Bertha Maxwell Roddey, 1946–1986,” Educational Studies: A Journal of the American Educational Studies Association, 48, no. 3, (May 2012): 244-265.
“We Are Ready [to Desegregate] Whenever They Are: African American Teachers and the Desegregation of the Public Schools in Nashville, Tennessee, 1954-1966,” Journal of African American History, 90, 1-2, (Winter 2005): 29-51.
“The Troubled History of African American Education After the Brown Decision,” The American Historian published by the Organization of American Historians, Feb. 2017.
“The Destiny of Our Race Lies Largely in Their Hands:’ African American Women Teachers’ Efforts during the Progressive Era in Memphis and Nashville,” in Tennessee Women in the Progressive Era: Toward the Public Sphere in the New South, Mary A. Evins, editor, (Knoxville, TN: University of Tennessee, 2013).
“Of Culture and Conviction: African American Women Non-Fiction Writers and the Gendered Definition of Class,” The Southern Middle Class in the Long Nineteenth Century, Jennifer Green and Jonathan Daniel Wells, editors, (Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 2011).
African American Gender History, History of Education, Oral History, Women’s and Gender Studies, Southern History, History of The United States Since 1865
CURRENT PROJECT Bertha Maxwell-Roddey, a Modern-Day Race Woman and the Power of Black Leadership, a political biography of Charlotte educational activist Bertha Maxwell-Roddey (b. 1930), modernizes the term ‘Race Woman’ to describe how she and her peers turned hard-won civil rights and feminist triumphs into tangible accomplishments from the late 1960s to the 1990s. Raised in Seneca, SC, Maxwell-Roddey became a Charlotte desegregation/Black Studies torchbearer as the first Black women principal of a white elementary school (1968) and the founding director of UNC Charlotte’s Black Studies Program (1971). A cultural advocate, in 1974, she co-founded Charlotte’s Afro-American Cultural and Service Center, now the $18 Million Harvey B. Gantt Center for African-American Art + Culture. As a national figure, Maxwell-Roddey served as a forerunner who helped to institutionalize the field of Black Studies as the founder of its premiere professional organization, the National Council for Black Studies (NCBS), in 1975. She also rose to become an innovative leader of one of the most influential Black women’s organizations in the US as the 20th National President of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. (1992-96). Forthcoming, spring 2022.
ARTICLE IN PROGRESS “I Would Never Quit:” the Gendered Experiences of Women Non-Union Industrial Workers in the Carolinas, 1960s-2000s,” uses oral history to describe the historical experiences of African American and white women who worked in manufacturing in the Piedmont region of the Carolinas from the beginning of the 1960s desegregation-era to the influx of business globalization in the 2000s. These women workers waged individual and collective battles against racism and/or sexism often without union protection while simanteously adapting to influential technological, social and economic changes, such as automation, immigration, and globalization.