William Black

Ph.D. Candidate
M.A. Western Kentucky University, 2013
B.A. Bethel University (Tenn.), 2011

Fields of Study

19-Century United States

American South

Atlantic World


Dissertation Project

"No Northern or Southern Religion: Cumberland Presbyterians and the Christian Nation, 1800–1912"




"How Watermelons Became Black: Emancipation and the Origins of a Racist Trope," Journal of the Civil War Era, 8 (March 2018), forthcoming

"Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, 1814" and "Cumberland Presbyterian Confession of Faith, 1883," in Andreas Mühling and Peter Opitz, eds., Reformierte Bekenntnisschriften [Reformed Confessions], vol. 4 (Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht), forthcoming

“Helen Keller Jokes, Body and Soul,” Journal of Popular Culture, 47 (December 2014), 1167–79

Review of K. Stephen Prince, Stories of the South: Race and the Reconstruction of Southern Identity, 1865–1915, in American Nineteenth Century History, 16 (Summer 2015), 368–70


"Untangling the Lost Cause Myth from the American Story Will Be Hard," Washington Post (August 25, 2017)

"Celebrating Nathan Bedford Forrest Is Celebrating White Supremacy," MLK50 (July 12, 2017)

"Why Couldn’t the Civil War Have Been Worked Out?," Vox (May 11, 2017)

"Confessions of a Former Neo-Confederate," Vox (September 30, 2016)

How Watermelons Became a Racist Trope,” The Atlantic (December 8, 2014)