Professor of American Studies
Focuses on 20th-century African American political history and civil rights

Taoyateduta Hall 109


Professor Harris was a Mellon Mays Fellow at the University of Pennsylvania. She graduated  in 1991 with a degree in American History. Six years later, she earned a Ph.D. in American Studies from the University of Minnesota. She did postdoctoral fellowships at the Institute on Race and Poverty at the University of Minnesota Law School and at the Womanist Studies Consortium at the University of Georgia.

In 1998, Harris joined the faculty at Macalester College. She became the first Chair of the American Studies Department in 2003 and was granted tenure in 2004. In 2007 she decided that attending law school would allow her to expand the scope of her scholarship even further. In 2008, she was the only law student in the country chosen to be an Associate Editor for Litigation News, the American Bar Association Section’s quarterly flagship publication.  In 2009, she won a $96,000 fellowship from the Bush Leadership Program, which encourages their recipients to create positive change in their communities.  In 2010, she became the first Editor-in-Chief of Law Raza Journal, an interactive on-line race and the law journal.

She earned a Juris Doctorate in January 2011, and has an expertise in Civil Rights Law. In 2015, The Minnesota Association of Black Lawyers chose her to receive “The Profiles in Courage Award.”  She is currently a member of Governor Mark Dayton’s Board of Public Defense.

She is also the proud curator of the Duchess Harris Collection, which has more than 40 books written for 3-12 graders. Macalester College President, Brian C. Rosenberg interviewed her about a forthcoming title on the #MeToo Movement.

Professor Harris is a scholar of Contemporary African American History and Political Theory. Her academic books include, Racially Writing the Republic: Racists, Race Rebels, and Transformations of American Identity, (2009), Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Clinton, (2009), Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Obama, (2011),Black Feminist Politics from Kennedy to Trump, (2018) and “Black Girl Magic Beyond the Hashtag: Twenty-First Century Acts of Self-Definition” (2019).

She resides in Vadnais Heights MN with her husband, Dr. Jon. V. Thomas, their three children, Austin, Avi, and Zach; a British Short Haired cat named Skittles, a stray cat named Tommie,  and a Standard Poodle named Mocha.