Jessica Levy

AAS Postdoctoral Research Associate
Jessica Levy

Jessica Ann Levy specializes in the history of the United States and Africa with an emphasis on the intersections between multinational corporations, global black politics, and American imperialism after World War II. She received her Ph.D. in History from The Johns Hopkins University, where she was a George and Sylvia Kagan Fellow. She earned her M.A. in Social Science from The University of Chicago, and her B.A. in History (magna cum laude) from Emory University.

Her current book project, tentatively titled, Black Power, Inc.: Global American Business and the Post-Apartheid City, explains the rise of black empowerment in the United States and southern Africa during the late twentieth-century. Drawing on corporate and “movement” archives from the United States and South Africa, her current book project analyzes the intellectual and financial investments made by multinational corporate executives, government bureaucrats, and black entrepreneurs in transforming black dissidents into “productive citizens” in an economic and civic sense. By focusing on private capital alongside state violence, it furthermore explains Black Power’s demise in a way that reveals the seeds of political conservatism that blossomed within the global black freedom struggle.

She is the author of “Selling Atlanta: Black Mayoral Politics from Protest to Entrepreneurism, 1973 to 1990,” Journal of Urban History, vol. 31, no. 3 (May 2015): 420-443). Her work has also been featured in the Washington Post, Black Perspectives, and Public Seminar.

Jessica is the recipient of the Jefferson Scholars (formerly Miller Center)/Hagley Library Dissertation Fellowship and the German Historical Institute International Business History Dissertation Fellowship. Her research has been supported with funding from the Business History Conference, the Johns Hopkins’ Program for the Study of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, and numerous libraries. In 2014-2015, she was a Visiting Researcher in the Centre for African Studies at The University of Cape Town.

She previously worked at The HistoryMakers, the nation’s largest African American video oral history collection.

For more information, please check out her personal website: