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Brown, Aleia, Ph.D.

Visiting Curator of African and African American History and Culture

Research Interests/ExperienceImage of Aleia Brown

Aleia Brown’s work utilizes objects as portals to understanding both historic and contemporary issues of civil and human rights. By looking at craft during and about the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements, she illuminates the nuanced, interior, and personal narratives that big history often omits. Her current manuscript traces Black women’s ideologies on the Black Freedom Struggle through their quiltmaking and oral histories.

Deeply invested in the state of the field, Brown is also involved in a number of organizations and workgroups including: The American Association for State and Local History Women’s History Affinity Group, The National Council on Public History’s Nominating Committee and Diversity Task Force, Interpreting the History of Racialized Violence in the Age of Black Lives Matter, and Museums and Civic Discourse: Past, Present and Emerging Futures.

Brown also co-founded and leads two digital humanities projects #MuseumsRespondstoFerguson and #BlkTwitterstorians.

Her popular writing has appeared or is forthcoming in Slate, Black Perspectives, History@Work, Incluseum, MuseumNext, Remembering the Ladies, and Southern Rambles.

Selected Publications

Accepted Article

  • Brown, Aleia and Joshua Crutchfield. “Black Scholars Matter: #BlkTwitterstorians Building a Digital Community.” The Black Scholar Journal 47, no. 3 forthcoming.

Recent Journal Articles

  • Brown, Aleia. “On Race and Museums: Starting Conversations, Embracing Action.” Museums & Social Issues: A Journal of Reflective Discourse 10, no. 2 (2015): 109-112.
  • Brown, Aleia. “Visions of African American Identity ‘Black Family Moth II,’” TIMELINE 30, no. 4 (October- December 2013): 20- 25.

Book Chapters

  • Brown, Aleia and Adrianne Russell. “Museums and Black Lives Matter.” In CODE | Words Technology and Theory in Museums. Edited by Ed Rodley, Robert Stein and Suse Cairns. Edinburgh: MuseumsEtc, 2015.
  • Brown, Aleia. “Race and the Twenty-first Century Museum.” In Folklife and Museums: Twenty-First Century Perspectives. Edited by C. Kurt Dewhurst, Patricia Hall, and Charlie Seemann. 131- 138. Lanham: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016.
  • Brown, Aleia. “War and Redemption in the Cloth.” In Liberating Minds, Liberating Society: Black Women in the Development of American Culture and Society. Edited by Matthews, Lopez D. and Kenvi Phillips. Association for the Study of Black Women Historians, 2014.

Exhibition Catalogs

  • Brown, Aleia. “African-American Quiltmaking, Communing with History.” In And Still We Rise: Race, Culture and Visual Conversations. Edited by Carolyn Mazloomi. Atglen: Schiffer Publishing Ltd., 2015.
  • MacDowell, Marsha and Aleia Brown. Editors. Unbuntutu: Life Legacies of Love and Action. Michigan State University Museum: East Lansing, 2016.

Selected Exhibitions 

  • Brown, Aleia and Mary Worrall. Quilted Conversations: Materializing Civil and Human Rights. Michigan State University Museum: East Lansing, 2017. Co-curator. Brown, Aleia and Marsha MacDowell. Unbuntutu: Life Legacies of Love and Action. Nelson Mandela Gateway to Robben Island: Cape Town, 2016. Co-curator.

  • Brown, Aleia. How I Got Over, National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center: Wilberforce, 2013-2014. Curator.
  • Brown, Aleia. Reflecting on the Past, Moving Forward: New Prospect’s Legacy with the Jewish Community, Interpretative exhibition for New Prospect Baptist Church: Cincinnati, 2012. Curator.
  • Brown, Aleia. Beverly Hills Supper Club: The Showplace of the Nation, Fort Thomas Military and Community Museum: Fort Thomas, 2012. Curator.


B.A., History, African American Studies, Coppin State University, The Honors College, Summa Cum Laude 2009
M.A., Public History/Museums Studies, Northern Kentucky University, Summa Cum Laude 2011
Ph.D., Public History/Museum Studies, Middle Tennessee State University, 2016