Dr. Sharon Harley, Associate Professor at the University of Maryland, College Park, researches and teaches black women's labor history and racial and gender politics. She and historian Rosalyn Terborg-Penn co-edited and contributed essays in the pioneer anthology, The Afro-American Woman: Struggles and Images (1978). She edited and contributed to two anthologies Sister Circle: Black Women and Work (Rutgers, 2002) and Women’s Labor in the Global Economy: Speaking in Multiple Voices (Rutgers, 2008) resulting from two major Ford Foundation grants. She recently published “African American Women and the Right to Vote” in Women and Suffrage (2018) and "I Don't Pay Those Borders No Mind At All:” Audley E. Moore (“Queen “Mother Moore) – Grassroots Global Traveler and Activist-- Reframing Black Nationalist/Pan-Africanist Engagement” in Women and Migrations (2018).

Other selected publications include:

  • “The Politics of Memory and Place: Reflections of an African American Female Scholar,” Telling Histories: Black Women in the Ivory Tower, edited by Deborah Gray White (Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2008).
  •  “The Chronicle of a Death Foretold: Gloria Richardson, the Cambridge Movement, and the Radical Black Activist Tradition,” in Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights - Black Power Movement, edited by Bettye Collier-Thomas and V. P. Franklin (New York, NY: New York University Press, 2001).
  • “Mary Church Terrell: Genteel Militant” in Black Leaders of the Nineteenth Century, edited by Leon Litwack and August Meier (1988).

She has held fellowships at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars as well as the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute at Harvard University’s Hutchins Center, and the National Humanities Center at the Research Triangle, North Carolina. In 2010, she was awarded the Carter G. Woodson Medallion for Outstanding Scholarship. 

Dr. Harley has delivered papers at professional history and women’s conferences in the U.S. as well as scholarly meetings in South Korea, Ireland, France, Spain, Italy, Ghana, South Africa, Abu Dhabi, and China.

She was commissioned by the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service to write a historical study of the Historical Preservation of the Frederick Douglass Home. 

Harley served as Principal Investigator of a Ford Foundation seminar, "Women of Color and Work Research Seminar" (2002-2006) and was Co-Editor/Contributor, The Afro-American Woman: Struggles and Images, co-Editor/Contributor, Women in Africa and the African Diaspora, and Editor/Contributor, Women’s Labor in the Global Economy: Speaking in Multiple Voices.”

She served as chair of the U.S. Department of Interior, National Park Service’s Mary McLeod Bethune Commission and former chair of Letitia Woods Brown book/article prize committee. She is an active public historian who has given lectures and served as a consultant with numerous museum projects, the Maryland Humanities Council, the Maryland State Department of Education, and directed an award-winning teaching training institute in multiculturalism for the Prince George County Public School System. In the fall of 2019, she was selected by her students as one of the top-rated faculty in the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences at the University of Maryland.

Currently, she is completing a historical monograph about nexus of gender, labor, and citizenship in post-emancipation U.S. and she is the Principal Investigator of a recently awarded Mellon Foundation grant for an interdisciplinary “African/Black Diaspora Studies: Academic and Public Discourse” seminar

CV: Harley. CV.2020.pdf553.49 KB

Image by Aamir Khuller
Image by Aamir Khuller

“In the face of the divisiveness and misunderstandings about the terms that define identity under the circumstances of an increasingly multi-ethnic racial population, academia must lead the way in understanding with clarity how we, as a nation, move forward on a path to full inclusion for Afro-diasporic populations.” 

Sharon Harley, Ph.D., Associate Professor, African American Studies and Principal Investigator, African/Black Diaspora Research Seminar, University of Maryland

The African/Black Diaspora Research Seminar, launched in 2020 with generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, is an interdisciplinary project created to answer the question: How are nationality and the specifics of distinctly diverse ethnicities and gender formations reshaping the framing identity among first and second-generation African immigrants and their relationships with native-U.S. born African American populations in the opening decades of the 21st  century?

Distinguished scholars and graduate students from multi-disciplinary humanities fields, including African, African American, Africana, and African Diaspora Studies, participate in the cross-disciplinary research seminar.  Public events, hosted by the University of Maryland (UMD) and in conjunction with other academic and cultural institutions, give additional levels of complexity to the seminar, broadening the diaspora outreach and conversations beyond select academic institutions. The insights and perspectives gained articulate and reflect innovative thinking about the lives, cultural expressions, and identity formations found among native-born African Americans and first- and second-generation immigrants from the African continent and African diaspora communities in the United States.

In light of the tremendous growth of African immigrant populations across the United States, seminar participants are asked to explore and exchange new definitions, meanings, and representations of African/Black diaspora identity. We invite you to learn more about the seminar and join the conversation online, across platforms, using #BlkDiasporaID.

Follow us on Twitter @BlackDiasporaID



News, Events & Resources

Acknowledgements & Partners

Contact Us

Dr. Sharon Harley
1117 Taliaferro Hall
African American Studies Department
sharley [at] umd.edu