Skip to main content
Be Part of the Project
10 Million Names
Recover. Restore. Remember.
Be Part of the Project of a Lifetime

Kendra Taira Field, PhD

Chief Historian

Dr. Kendra Taira Field is Associate Professor of History and Director of the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy at Tufts University. Field is the author of Growing Up with the Country: Family, Race, and Nation after the Civil War (Yale, 2018). Her current book project, The Stories We Tell (W.W. Norton) is a history of African American genealogy and storytelling from the Middle Passage to the present. As a public historian, Field co-founded the African American Trail Project and the Du Bois Forum, a retreat for writers, scholars, and artists of color; served as project historian for the Du Bois Freedom Center; and co-curated “We Who Believe In Freedom: Black Feminist DC,” the inaugural exhibition (2023) of the National Women’s History Museum.

Kendra Taira Field

Field abridged David Levering Lewis’ W.E.B. Du Bois: A Biography (Henry Holt, 2009), and her scholarly articles have appeared in the Journal of American History, the Journal of African American HistorySouthern Cultures, and the American Historical Review. Her recent AHR article, "The Privilege of Family History" explores the history of African American engagement with family history and genealogy in slavery and freedom.

Field has been awarded numerous grants and fellowships from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Huntington Library, and Harvard University’s Charles Warren Center in American History. She is the recipient of the Western Writers of America’s 2017 Spur Award for Best Western Short Nonfiction, the 2016 Boahen-Wilks Prize, and the 2022 NAACP W.E.B. Du Bois Award. Field co-convened a 2019-2020 Mellon Sawyer Seminar on the politics of kinship, “Defamiliarizing the Family: Genealogy and Kinship as Critical Method.” Field has advised and appeared in historical documentaries including Henry Louis Gates, Jr.’s “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” (2013), “Roots: A History Revealed” (2016), and “Tulsa Burning: The 1921 Race Massacre” (2021). Field received her Ph.D. in American History from New York University. She also holds a Masters in Public Policy from Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government and a B.A. from Williams College. Before entering the academy, she worked in education, organizing, and the non-profit sector in Boston and New York.

You can contact Dr. Field at