Blair Kelley

Associate Professor

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Personal Introduction

Blair L.M. Kelley is Associate Professor of History at North Carolina State University. She was also appointed Assistant Dean of Interdisciplinary Studies and International Programs in August 2014. She is the author of the award-winning book, Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson. Through a re-examination of the earliest struggles against Jim Crow, Kelley exposes the fullness of African American efforts to resist the passage of segregation laws dividing trains and streetcars by race in the early Jim Crow era. Focusing on three key cities—New Orleans, Richmond, and Savannah—Kelley tells the stories of the brave but little-known men and women who faced down the violence of lynching and urban race riots to contest segregation. Right to Ride won the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Best Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Professor Kelley received her B.A. from the University of Virginia in History and African and African American Studies, and her M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Duke University. She is a proud resident of Durham, North Carolina where she lives with her husband and two children.

Research Interests

Kelley’s work as a scholar and teacher is grounded in the notion that confronting the history of race in America is essential to an understanding of our contemporary politics.  Her scholarship, which has been published in scholarly journals and edited volumes, centers on the history of African American resistance to segregation. Also Professor Kelley writes and presents work on African American women’s history, urban history, legal history, and southern history. She teaches courses on African American history, Civil Rights, oral history, and Katrina and the history of New Orleans.

Active inside the academy and out, Kelley’s work was featured on MSNBC’s Melissa Harris Perry Show, and WUNC’s The State of Things, and she has provided expert commentary for the New York Times, The Washington Post, Countdown with Keith Olbermann, the Associated Press, The, and Democracy Now. She has written for,,, and Jet Magazine. She also has more than 13,000 followers on Twitter.


Graduate Advisees

Recent Work & Publications

  • Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson. UNC Press, 2010

Contact Information

  • Office Location

    245 Withers Hall

  • Phone: 919.513.2225
  • Email: .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
  • Office Hours

    SPRING 2015


Current Semester

HI 787-001
W   600-845PM
WI 160

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350 Withers Hall, Campus Box 8108, Raleigh, NC 27695-8108
Phone: 919.515.2483 Fax: 919.515.3886

College of Humanities and Social Sciences, Department of History