United States History, American Social History, African American History, Women’s History, Religion, Electoral Politics


Bettye Collier-Thomas is Professor of History at Temple University. She earned the PhD from George Washington University and has taught at Temple since 1989. She served as the inaugural director of the Temple University Center for African American History and Culture (1989-2002). Appointed by Joseph Duffy, head of the National Endowment for the Humanities, as a Special Consultant to the division of Public Programs (1977-1980), she developed NEH’s first program of technical assistance to black museums and historical organization; became a founder and officer of the National Association of Black Museums and organized the” First National Conference on Black Museums.” She is also the founder and served as the first executive director of the Mary McLeod Bethune Memorial Museum and the National Archives for Black Women’s History (designated by Congress a National Historic Site and now managed by the National Park Service). With the support of NEH, Collier-Thomas organized the much praised conference — “Black Women: A Research Priority: The First National Scholarly Research Conference on Black Women in America,” which was held in Washington, D.C., November 12-13, 1979.

A specialist in U. S. social, cultural, and political history, Collier-Thomas has authored books in the fields of African American and women’s history, religion, civil rights and black power, and is currently writing a history of African American women and politics. She has been the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships: Lilly Endowment, Ford Foundation, Rockefeller Foundation, National Endowment for the Humanities, the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, the National Humanities Center and Princeton University Center for Religion. Her awards and honors include: the Organization of American Historian’s Darlene Clark Hine Award, the National Women’s Political Caucus’s EMMA Award, Temple University Faculty Research Award, the ASALH’s Carter Godwin Woodson Distinguished Scholars Medallion; the U. S. Department of the Interior’s Civilian Conservation Service Award, American Immigration History Society’s Carleton Qualey Prize, the Association of Black Women’s Historians Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award and Anthology Award, The National Black Women’s Political Caucus’s Shirley Chisholm Award, and the Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority’s Septima Poinsett Clark Award. In 2015, at a national conference sponsored by Michigan State University, she was one of 11 outstanding scholars celebrated as pioneers in African American Women’s History.

Selected Publications

  • Jesus, Jobs, and Justice: African American Women and Religion (New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2010).
  • Daughters of Thunder: Black Women Preachers and Their Sermons (San Francisco: Jossey Bass, 1997).
  • My Soul Is A Witness: A Chronology of the Civil Rights Era, 1954-1965 (New York: Henry Holt, 2000) co-author V. P. Franklin.
  • Sisters in the Struggle: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement (New York: New York University Press, 2001) co-editor V. P. Franklin.
  • African American Women and the Vote (Mass.: University of Massachusetts, 1997) co-editor with Ann Gordon, et al.
  • Vindicating the Race: Contributions to African-American Intellectual History, Special Issue, Journal of Negro History, co-editor V. P. Franklin.

Courses Taught


  • 0829: The History and Significance of Race in America
  • 2280: African American Women in the Civil Rights-Black Power Movement
  • 3496: Intermediate Writing Seminar in American History
  • 4296: Capstone Writing Seminar in American History (Civil Rights in the Urban North)
  • 2103: African American History to 1865
  • 2104: African American History since 1865
  • 1101: U. S. History to 1877
  • 1102: U. S. History since 1877
  • The African American Church and Black Liberation


  • 8101: Introduction to U.S. History II (since 1865)
  • Research Seminar: African American Women in the Progressive Era, 1890-1930
  • Research Seminar: African American Religion, Entertainment and Women
  • African American Autobiography and Biography as History
  • African American Women and Politics