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University of Massachusetts Amherst

University of Massachusetts Amherst

W.E.B. Du Bois Department

Traci Parker, Assistant Professor


Room 308, New Africa House, 545-2751

Office Hours:

Fall 2015 Office Hours:  Tuesdays 1:00-2:00 p.m. and by appointment

Spring 2016 Office Hours:  Tuesdays 3:00-4:00 p.m. and by appointment


Fall 2015:

AFROAM 236              History of the Civil Rights Movement

AFROAM 326              Black Women in U.S. History


Spring 2016

AFROAM 297R           Race at Work: African Americans in the Labor Movement

AFROAM 691D           Black Women in the Civil Rights Movement


Brief Biography:

Traci Parker is an Assistant Professor of Afro-American Studies at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst.  She received her Ph.D. in History from the University of Chicago in 2013.  Parker is currently completing her book manuscript entitled Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights.  Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights examines the movement to racially integrate white-collar work and consumption in American department stores and its neglected role in the mid-twentieth century black freedom movement.  It argues that, at the historical juncture when Americans’ realization of democracy had become intricately tied to their identity as consumers, African Americans leveraged their collective labor and purchasing power to fully realize middle-class citizenship, a status dependent on equal treatment as consumers as well as workers.  Parker’s research and teaching interests include African American women’s history, nineteenth and twentieth century U.S. history, race and racism, class, labor, capitalism, and consumer culture.


Before coming to the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Parker held the Provost’s Postdoctoral Scholarship at the University of Chicago.  She has been the recipient of a number of fellowships, awards, and grants, including the University of Chicago’s Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture Dissertation Fellowship and Graduate Research and Travel Grant, the Department of History’s John Hope Franklin Fellowship and Freehling Research Travel Grant, and the Provost’s Summer Fellowship.  The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Virginia Historical Society, and the Hagley Museum and Library, among others, also have supported her research.




Workers, Consumers, and Civil Rights (Book Manuscript in Preparation)


“Southern Retail Campaigns and the Struggle for Black Economic Freedom” in Race and Retail, eds. Mia Bay and Ann Fabian (Rutgers University Press, August 2015).


“Shopping While Black” in The SAGE Encyclopedia of Economics and Society (SAGE Publications, Forthcoming)