Keri Leigh Merritt works as a historian and writer in Atlanta, Georgia. She earned her B.A. from Emory University and her M.A. and Ph.D. from the University of Georgia. Her first book, Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South (Cambridge University Press, 2017). It won both the Bennett Wall Award from the Southern Historical Association, honoring the best book in Southern economic or business history published in the previous two years, as well as the President’s Book Award from the Social Science History Association.

Merritt is also co-editor, with Matthew Hild, of Reconsidering Southern Labor History: Race, Class, and Power (University Press of Florida, 2018). She is currently conducting research for two additional book-length projects. One is on radical black resistance in the still understudied Reconstruction era. The second project examines the changing role of law enforcement in the mid-nineteenth century South. It will ultimately link the rise of professional police forces in the Deep South to the end of slavery. Merritt also writes historical pieces for the public, and has had letters and essays published in Aeon, Bill Moyers, The Bitter Southerner, Salon, The Washington Post, and The New York Times.

Past Classes with Keri Leigh Merritt

December 11, 2019 @ 7:00 pm

Masterless Men: Poor Whites and Slavery in the Antebellum South

Join Keri Leigh Merritt and Rhae Lynn Barnes for a discussion on what happens to excess workers when a capitalist system is predicated on slave labor.
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February 8, 2019 @ 6:00 pm

The “Southernization” of America: What Progressives Can Learn from the US South

This panel of academics who both live and work in the South will help activists, organizers, and concerned citizens better understand the struggles and triumphs of the region. With Keri Leigh Merritt will open with a talk focused on economics. Hilary Green will then discuss education, Bob Hutton will concentrate on labor and unionization, and Booker Mattison will talk about the importance of the arts in the South.
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