Black Women's History

This course focuses on African American women’s history in the United States with certain aspects of Black women’s activism and leadership covered within the African Diaspora. Professor Carter Jackson will examine ways in which these women engaged in local, national, and international freedom struggles while simultaneously defining their identities as wives, mothers, leaders, citizens, and workers. The course pays special attention to the diversity of Black women’s experiences and to the dominant images of Black women from Mumbet (the first enslaved Black woman to sue for her freedom and win) to contemporary issues of race, sex, and class in the Age of (Michelle) Obama. Participants will explore such questions as: What is Black women’s history? How does Black women’s history add to our understanding of American history? Where should Black women’s history go from here?

Read the course outline here and listen to a history teacher introduce the course below.


Please create a free K–12 student account. Note: Only K–12 logged-in students will be able to access the registration form.


  • Fourteen video sessions led by Professor Kellie Carter Jackson
  • Primary source readings that supplement Professor Carter Jackson’s lectures
  • A certificate of completion for 12 hours of course time

Readings: The optional readings for each course are listed in the “Resources” tab on the course page. Please note that you are not required to read or purchase any print materials. Quizzes are based on the content of the seminar recordings rather than the readings.

Course Access: After registering, you may access your course by signing in and visiting your “My Courses” link.


Kellie Carter Jackson is the Knafel Assistant Professor of the Humanities in the Department of Africana Studies at Wellesley College. Carter Jackson’s research focuses on slavery and the abolitionists, violence as a political discourse, historical film, and Black women’s history. In her book Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence (University of Pennsylvania Press) Carter Jackson provides the first historical analysis exclusively focused on the tactical use of violence among antebellum Black activists. Force and Freedom was a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize and the MAAH Stone Book Prize Award.

Kellie Carter Jackson discussed Force and Freedom: Black Abolitionists and the Politics of Violence on the Gilder Lehrman series Book Breaks. Visit the Book Breaks archive to watch the program.

The views expressed in this course are those of Dr. Kellie Carter Jackson.