Lois Brown is the Class of 1958 Distinguished Professor at Wesleyan University where she teaches in the English Department, chairs the African American Studies Program, and is Director of the Center for African American Studies. Her teaching, research, and scholarship focus on African American and New England literary history and culture, 18th and 19th century African American memory, as well as the politics of identity, faith, and privilege in colonial and antebellum America. Her courses are informed by her belief in the transformational power of purposeful and empowered thinking, writing, and speaking.
Professor Brown’s most recent scholarly work Pauline Elizabeth Hopkins: Black Daughter of the Revolution [UNC Press, 2008], is a literary biography of the pioneering New England writer, dramatist, performer, and journalist. In addition to essays on American and African American literary history and culture, she also has published an encyclopedia on the literary Harlem Renaissance. She edited the first modern edition of an 1835 work entitled Memoir of James Jackson, The Attentive and Obedient Scholar Aged Six Years and Eleven Months by Susan Paul [Harvard UP, 2000], which is the earliest known work of African American biography and the first published prose narrative by an African American woman. One of her current book projects is a biography of Bostonian Nancy Prince, whose pioneering 1850s travel narratives documented her sojourns in Russia and the West Indies and were the first such narratives written by an African American. In addition, she also is at work on a book on William Lloyd Garrison and emancipatory feminism, and is crafting a modern edition of the history of the African American community in Concord, Massachusetts.
Professor Brown’s passion for African American history, women’s history and writing, and public history has led to several opportunities to curate and to collaborate on exhibitions with the Museum of African-American History in Boston and the Boston Public Library. She became a board member of Connecticut Humanities Council in Fall 2014. She has been a board member of Massachusetts Humanities Council and chaired its Grants Committee and also is enjoying her second appointment to the Board of Trustees of the Harriet Beecher Stowe Center. Currently, she is a member of the Advisory Board of the Drinking Gourd Project and is President of the Board of Women’s Voices Worldwide, Inc.
Lois Brown has held fellowships from the American Antiquarian Society, the Massachusetts Historical Society, the Society for the Humanities at Cornell University, and Harvard University. The Museum of Afro-American History in Boston recognized her with one of its first African American History Awards and lauded her for her “extraordinary commitment to American history” and her “obvious commitment to education and equality.”