Race, gender, the African American experience, and the history of black women in the Atlantic World
Wendi Manuel-Scott is an Associate Professor within the School of Integrative Studies and the Department of History and Art History. She graduated from the College of Charleston where she received a BA in History and then received her Ph.D. from Howard University in History. Dr. Manuel-Scott's research and teaching focus on how the past – New World slave systems, Jim Crow-era segregation, corporeal systems of incarceration, patriarchal cultures, and anti-black racism - shapes our modern understanding of freedom and liberatory movements for justice. Both in and outside of the classroom her approach is to show students that history is relevant to their lives regardless of their chosen major, professional interests, or future activities. Dr. Manuel-Scott strives to support each student's journey toward becoming a more culturally responsible and better-informed citizen of our increasingly interconnected world. She served as director of African and African American Studies (2009-2017), and in May 2017, was recognized by President Cabrera for the inaugural Alcalde Family Medal for Excellence in Diversity and Inclusion. The Alcalde Medal is presented to a faculty member who has made extraordinary contributions to advancing diversity and inclusion within the Mason community and beyond.
Wendi's research is guided by her interest in black resistance and agency from a diasporic and gendered perspective. After receiving a generous grant from the Office of Student Scholarship, Creative Activities & Research (OSCAR), she and Dr. Benedict Carton worked with undergraduate Mason students to excavate the experiences of the forgotten families enslaved on Mason’s Gunston Hall Plantation. The 2017 summer initiative created opportunities for meaningful conversations about the university's namesake and inspired the construction of a memorial that will center the humanity of the enslaved people of Gunston Hall. She hopes her work as a public historian makes the unseen "seen" and the silenced "heard." You may listen to an interview about the Enslaved People of George Mason Memorial project (Full Audio Here: https://newsradiowrva.radio.com/…/why-gmu-kept-george-mason) or watch a video showcasing the memorial (https://vimeo.com/391344893).
Her earlier publications examine Jamaican farm workers employed as seasonal contract laborers in the United States during the Second World War and explore issues of labor control, resistance, and identity. More recently, Wendi Manuel-Scott has turned to local history projects. She was awarded a Virginia Foundation for the Humanities grant to curate an exhibition titled "Separate and Unequal in Buckingham County: An Exhibition on Segregation and Desegregation in Virginia" and a grant from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to complete an online exhibition, "One Hundred Years of African American Life and Leadership in Falls Church, Virginia." She also helped to research and curate a permanent exhibit in Loudoun County, Virginia, documenting the history of the Leesburg Frederick Douglass School and the struggles of the African American community in Loudoun County for equal education. As a result of her research on the Leesburg Frederick Douglass School project, she co-authored a chapter, "More Than Just a School: Interpreting the legacy of the Frederick Douglass Elementary School" in Interpreting African American History and Culture at Museums and Historic Sites.
In addition to her teaching and research, Wendi Manuel-Scott facilitates history and cultural competency workshops with diverse groups, including middle and high school students and secondary school teachers. Since 2005 she has served as a visiting historian for the Teaching American History project associated with Mason's Center for History and New Media. In addition to lectures and workshops, she engages in courageous conversations around racial justice with academic and community audiences. Professor Manuel-Scott is a regular keynote speaker at graduation ceremonies, libraries, schools, and in August 2014, she offered the keynote address at the Mason New Student Convocation. The speech is available here https://soundcloud.com/georgemasonu/wendi-manuel-scott-new-student-convocation-keynote-2014.
Wendi Manuel-Scott is also deeply committed to community service and the empowerment of youth of color. She helped to initiate Loudoun County's "College-in-Six" program at George Mason and annually welcomes nearly 400 sixth-graders to the campus. Professor Manuel-Scott started the Paul Robeson Saturday Leadership Academy at Mason, a Saturday STEM program for 7th to 10th-grade students that are underrepresented in the STEM fields. Students participate in game design, robotic programming, ebook design, leadership development, goal setting workshops, and time management activities. A video of one Saturday session can be viewed here http://vimeo.com/59770987.
Ph.D. in History, Howard University