I am an Assistant Professor at the University of Tulsa. I specialize in African Diaspora archaeology in the Caribbean and Southeastern United States with a theoretical focus in human behavioral ecology. My dissertation entitled “Living among Presidents and Kings: Enslaved Africans Coping with Risk in Service to the Elite” compared the material culture of royal enslaved Africans in the Danish West Indies (modern day Virgin Islands) and enslaved Africans of a former U.S. president in Virginia to examine the natural and social environment affecting the enslaved community in both regions. This research also analyzes the different strategies these groups used to overcome the challenges they faced in service to some of the most elite members of society.
My archaeological training spans African Heritage Sites in Mississippi, Arkansas, Virginia, and St. Croix. My focus on the royal slaves in Christiansted and urban slavery in Caribbean contexts offers a unique contribution to current African Diaspora scholarship and has led to new questions regarding Danish slave treatment, quality of life for slaves in an urban environment, the roles of royal and presidential slaves in society, how enslaved people respond to extreme weather conditions such as hurricanes, and a host of other inquiries.
I was fortunate enough to be the first person of color to graduate with a masters in Museum Science and Management from the University of Tulsa and just recently in 2016 became the first person in history to graduate with a doctorate degree in anthropology from the same institution. Even though these were big moments in my career, being the only African American throughout my graduate training in Anthropology sparked a larger life mission for me. Now as a faculty member, I am committed to building more inclusive research agendas and encouraging more minority participation in this field by (1st) educating the public about the diverse lifeways and world changing contributions of people of African descent in the past using the cultural material they left behind, and (2nd) by developing academic programs and partnering with organizations engaged in the work of training a new generation of diverse archaeologists that share a passion for the archaeology and history of the African Diaspora.
I have received support for my research through the University of Tulsa, the National Science Foundation, the George Odell Foundation, The National Park Service, American Anthropological Association, EARTHANGLE, SREB- Minority Doctoral Scholars Program, Virgin Islands Caribbean Cultural Center, and the Montpelier Foundation.
RESEARCH SPONSORS and SUPPORTING PARTNERS