Melissa N. Stuckey has been assistant professor of African American history at Elizabeth City State University since 2017. She teaches a variety of courses, including North Carolina African American History and Black Women’s History. Her research interests center on the role of African American institutions in the struggle for Black freedom and civil rights. In 2019, Dr. Stuckey won over $500,000 from the National Park Service and the Institute for Museum and Library Services to help fund the rehabilitation of ECSU’s Rosenwald School building and Principal’s House. The long-term goal is to create within these historic structures an institute to collect, preserve, and share the histories of African American life and educational pursuits in Northeastern North Carolina. She is also leading several local African American history and historic preservation projects in Elizabeth City, in Old Oak Grove Cemetery, and the historic Sheppard Street-Road Street neighborhood that borders ECSU’s campus.
A specialist in early twentieth-century Black activism, she is author of several articles and book chapters, including “Boley, Indian Territory: Exercising Freedom in the All Black Town,” published in 2017 in the Journal of African American History and “Freedom on Her Own Terms: California M. Taylor and Black Womanhood in Boley, Oklahoma” published in This Land is Herland: Gendered Activism in Oklahoma, 1870s to 2010s (University of Oklahoma Press, 2021). Dr. Stuckey is currently completing her first book, entitled “All Men Up”: Seeking Freedom in the All-Black Town of Boley, Oklahoma, which interrogates the black freedom struggle in Oklahoma as it took shape in the state’s largest all-black town.
Committed to engaging the public in important conversations about African American history, Stuckey is also a contributing historian on the NEH-funded “Free and Equal Project” in Beaufort, South Carolina which interprets the story of Reconstruction for national and international audiences and is senior historical consultant to the Coltrane Group, a non-profit organization in Oklahoma committed to helping these towns survive in the 21st century.
Dr. Stuckey earned her Ph.D. from Yale University and her A.B. from Princeton University.