Dr. Williamson-Lott's primary research agenda examines the reciprocal relationship between social movements--particularly those of the middle twentieth century--and institutions of higher education.
Her most recently published book, Jim Crow Campus: Higher Education and the Struggle for a New Southern Social Order (2018), examines threats to academic freedom and First Amendment protections in black and white, public and private institutions across the South against the backdrop of the black freedom struggle and anti-Vietnam War movement.
Her other books focus on black higher educational history. Radicalizing the Ebony Tower: Black Colleges and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi (2008) examines issues of institutional autonomy, institutional response to internal and external pressures, and the relationship between historically black colleges and the Civil Rights and Black Power Movements. Her book, Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois, 1965-1975 (2003), examined the interaction between students and administrators that created the successful support systems which exist on today's college campuses.
She has also written about the Black Panther Party's educational programs, the history of social justice in education, and the portrayal of the black freedom struggle in high school history textbooks.
Dr. Williamson-Lott teaches courses on education as a moral endeavor, the shifting definition of 'proper education' and 'liberation' for different social groups, and the educational histories of people of color.
Ph.D. History of American Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (focus: African American education, higher education, 20th century)
M.A. History of American Education, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
B.S. Double major in Speech Communications and Psychology, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, with honors
Jim Crow Campus: Higher Education and the Struggle for a New Souhern Social Order. New York: Teachers College Press, 2018.
Radicalizing the Ebony Tower: Black Colleges and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi. New York: Teachers College Press, 2008.
Black Power on Campus: The University of Illinois, 1965-75. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2003.
“The Battle for Academic Freedom at Southern Institutions of Higher Education, 1955-1965,” Journal of Southern History 79 (November 2013): 879-920.
Joy Ann Williamson, Lori Rhodes, and Michael Dunson, “A Selected History of Social Justice in Education,” Review of Research in Education 31 (2007): 195-224.
"This Has Been Quite a Year for Heads Falling:’ Institutional Autonomy in the Civil Rights Era,” History of Education Quarterly 44, no. 4 (Winter 2004): 489-511.
“‘Quacks, Quirks, Agitators, and Communists:’ Private Black Colleges and the Limits of Institutional Autonomy,” History of Higher Education Annual 23 (2003): 49-81.
“In Defense of Themselves: The Black Student Struggle for Success and Recognition at Predominantly White Colleges and Universities.” Journal of Negro Education 68, no. 1 (Winter 1999): 92-105.
Selected Invited Essays
“Student Free Speech on Both Sides of the Color Line in Mississippi and the Carolinas.” In Rebellion in Black and White: The Southern Student Movement in Perspective, edited by Robert Cohen and David Snyder. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2013.
Joy Ann Williamson-Lott, Linda Darling-Hammond, and Maria E. Hyler, Chapters 24-28, “African Americans and Education, 1865-Present.” In The Oxford Handbook of African American Citizenship, 1865-Present, edited by Henry Louis Gates, Jr. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012. (first author on chapters 24-27 and third author on chapter 28)
“Black Colleges and Civil Rights: Organizing and Mobilizing in Jackson, Mississippi.” In Higher Education and the Civil Rights Movement, edited by Peter Wallenstein. Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2007 (pp. 230-270).
“A Tale of Two Movements: The Power and Purpose of Misremembering Brown. InWith More Deliberate Speed: Achieving Equity in Literacy: Realizing the Full Potential of Brown v. Board of Education, edited by Arnetha F. Ball. Washington, D. C.: National Society for the Study of Education, 2007 (pp. 36-57).
“Reform in the Black Power Era.” In Remembering Brown at Fifty: The University of Illinois Commemorates Brown v. Board of Education, edited by Vernon Burton. Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 2006.
“Community Control with a Black Nationalist Twist: The Black Panther Party’s Educational Programs.” In Black Protest Thought and Education, edited by William Watkins. New York: Peter Lang Publishers, 2005 (pp. 137-157
“Brown, Black, and Yellow: Desegregation in a Multi-Ethnic Context,” History of Education Quarterly 44, no. 1 (Spring 2004): 109-112.
EDLPS 520: Education as a Moral Endeavor
EDLPS 537: Perennial Debates in the History of Education
EDLPS 538: Education for Liberation