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Brenda Stevenson is a historian specializing in the History of the Southern United States and African American history, particularly slavery, gender, race and race riots. She is currently Professor and Nickoll Family Endowed Chair in History and Professor in African American Studies at the University of California, Los Angeles. Stevenson has served as both Chair of the Departments of History and African American Studies at UCLA. She also has taught at Wesleyan University, Rice University, the University of Texas at Austin, and Occidental College. Stevenson's first book, in which she edited "The Journals of Charlotte Forten Grimke," was published in 1988. She has written or co-authored five additional books: "Life in Black and White: Family and Community in the Slave South," published in 1996, "Underground Railroad: An Epic in United States History," published in 1998, "Black Women in America, 3 vols.," published in 2005, "The Contested Murder of Latasha Harlins: Justice, Gender and the Origins of the L.A. Riots," published in 2013, and "What is Slavery?," published in 2015. Stevenson was born and raised in Portsmouth, Virginia. She received her B.A. from the University of Virginia, and her M.A. in African American Studies and Ph.D. in American History from Yale.

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