See all Profiles
African American woman, medium brown hair, smiling

Kay Lewis

Associate Professor and Interim Chair

  • History
  • College of Arts & Sciences


Dr. Kay Wright Lewis is the Interim Chair of the Department of History.

She completed her PhD in the department of history at Rutgers University, New Brunswick in 2011. Her research focuses on slavery and abolition, African American intellectual history, Atlantic World history, and the history of violence. Lewis’ book, published by the University of Georgia Press, is entitled A Curse Upon the Nation”: Race, Freedom, and Extermination in America and the Atlantic WorldAs a graduate student, Lewis held an Andrew W. Mellon Competitive Dissertation Fellowship at Rutgers University. After graduation, she was a Fellow at the Gilder Lehrman Center at Yale University in 2011, and Lewis’ dissertation was one of the finalists in the Southern Historical Association’s C. Vann Woodward Dissertation Prize competition. This year she is the recipient of a Mellon Scholars Short-term Fellowship from the Library Company of Philadelphia. And she received a Three Month Fellowship from the prestigious Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in New York City for her new research project tentatively entitled The Children of Africa Have Been Called. Lewis has presented at many national and international conferences and has taught at Rutgers University, Fairleigh Dickinson University, and Norfolk State UniversityShe came to Howard University as an Assistant Professor in the fall of 2017, and was tenured and promoted to Associate Professor in 2020.