R. Isabela Morales
Isabela Morales is a Ph.D. candidate in history at Princeton University, specializing in 19th century United States, African American history, and the American West. She completed her B.A. (summa cum laude) in history and American Studies from the University of Alabama in 2012, and an M.A. in history from Princeton in 2014.
Her dissertation is a narrative history of one mixed-race family’s migration from Alabama across the American West in the second half of the 19th century. The Townsends were the enslaved children of two white cotton planters; manumitted in 1860 after their fathers’ deaths, the family traveled across the country in the following decades, setting in Alabama, Ohio, Kansas, and Colorado. Theirs is a story about mobility—geographic, economic, and social—which provides a window into African Americans’ diverse experiences of race at regional and local levels in the United States.
Isabela has a strong interest in public history and has been involved in the Princeton and Slavery Project since 2012, conducting archival research as well as contributing online content. She is committed to making historical inquiry accessible to general audiences, and has written about her research and related topics for both academic and non-academic publications.