Tera W. Hunter

Edwards Professor of American History; Professor of History and African American Studies
Office Phone
110 Dickinson Hall

Tera W. Hunter is the Edwards Professor of American History and Professor of African-American Studies, a specialist in the 19th and 20th centuries. Her research focuses on gender, race, labor, and Southern histories.

Bound in Wedlock: Slave and Free Black Marriage in the Nineteenth Century (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press, 2017) is her latest book. It is the winner of the Stone Book Award, Museum of African American History; Mary Nickliss Prize, Organization of American Historians; Joan Kelly Memorial Prize, American Historical Association; Littleton-Griswold Prize, American Historical Association; and The Deep South Book Prize, Frances S. Sumersell Center for the Study of the South. It was a finalist for the Lincoln Prize, Gettysburg College and the Gilder Lehrman Institute; and the Longman-History Today Book Prize.

Her first book, To ‘Joy My Freedom: Southern Black Women’s Lives and Labors After the Civil War, was awarded the H. L. Mitchell Award in 1998 from the Southern Historical Association, the Letitia Brown Memorial Book Prize in 1997 from the Association of Black Women’s Historians and the Book of the Year Award in 1997 from the International Labor History Association. The book was also named an Exceptional Book of 1997 by Library Booknotes, Bookman Book Review Syndicate.

A native of Miami, Professor Hunter attended Duke University where she graduated with Distinction in History. She received a M.Phil. in history from Yale University and a Ph.D. from Yale. Professor Hunter previously taught at Carnegie Mellon University and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She joined the Princeton faculty in the fall 2007. She has received numerous fellowships and grants including the National Humanities Center Fellowship (2017-2018) and a Mary I. Bunting Institute fellowship from the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University from (2005-2006).

Current Project

Professor Hunter’s new project is: “The African American Marriage Gap in the Twentieth Century”. She is also co-authoring: The Making of a People: A History of African-Americans with Robin D. G. Kelley and Earl Lewis under contract with W. W. Norton Press.

Teaching Interests

Prof. Hunter teaches the following, among other courses: African American History to 1865, History of African-American Families, Comparative Slavery in the Americas, and African-American Women's History. She co-taught Liberating Literacy with Robert (Bob) Moses, Civil Rights leader and founder of the Algebra Project, Spring 2012.

Select Opinion Pieces

The Long History of Child-Snatching,” New York Times, June 3, 2018 (print edition)

Some Did Choose to Return to Slavery Because They Chose Family Over Everything,” May 15, 2018, The Root.com

Worse than Jeff Davis?” May 28, 2014, NewYorkTimes.com, Opinionator: “Disunion” series

NYTimes.com, Opinionator, “Disunion” series, “A Mother’s Letter to Lincoln,” August 1, 2013.


Area of Interest
African American
Gender & Sexuality
Labor History
Race & Ethnicity
Social History
Home Department & Other Affiliations
African American Studies
19th Century
20th Century
American South
North America
United States