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Traci Parker

Assistant Professor

(413) 545-2751

308 New Africa House

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.


picture of book coverWorkers, Consumers, and Civil Rights (University of North Carolina Press, April 2019)





“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)