​J. Brent Morris, Ph.D

J. Brent Morris teaches, writes, and lectures on slavery and antislavery in America.  He is Department Chair and Associate Professor of History at the University of South Carolina Beaufort and Founding Dirctor of the USCB Institute for the Study of the Reconstruction Era. He received his Ph.D. from Cornell University in 2010, and has been awarded recent grants or fellowships from the Association for Documentary Editing, the University of South Carolina Institute for Southern Studies, the University of South Carolina Institute for African American Research, Cornell University, Oberlin College, the New York Humanities Council, and the National Endowment for the Humanities.  His book Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism: College, Community, and the Fight for Freedom and Equality in Antebellum America was published by the University of North Carolina Press in 2014. He is also the author of Yes Lord I Know the Road: A History of African Americans and South Carolina, 1526-2008 (University of South Carolina Press, 2017). He is the author of articles, reviews, and encyclopedia entries that have appeared in the New York Times, Civil War History, the Journal of African American History, Southern Studies, the South Carolina Historical Magazine, The World of the Civil War: A Daily Life Encyclopedia, the Encyclopedia of Slavery in the Americas,and Encyclopedia of the Early Republic and Antebellum America.  Brent was the 2010 recipient of the South Carolina Historical Society's Malcolm C. Clark Award, was named 2016 University of South Carolina Breakthrough Star for Research and Scholarship (the most prestigious scholarly award for junior faculty in the USC system), 2016 American Alliance of Museums Gold MUSE award winner (Digital Communities), and the 2018 Award of the Order of the South, the highest award bestowed by the Southern Academy of Letters, Arts, and Sciences.

News and Upcoming Events

Announcing $200,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant to fund 2017 summer institute "America's Reconstruction: The Untold Story"

Morris honored with 2016 Breakthrough Star Award

​Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism awarded 2016 Henry Howe Award of the Ohio Genealogical Society 

GDSLS film "Landscape of Power: Freedom and Slavery in the Dismal Swamp" playing at Alexandria Film Festival 11/7

Presenting at the AHA January 10, 2016: "Dismal Freedom: Self-Emancipation, Marronage, and the Resistance Communities
of the Great Dismal Swamp"

​Presenting at OAH April 10, 2016

"Decidedly the Best Anti-Slavery Field in the Country”: Oberlin, the West, and
Abolitionist Schism"

Morris to give USCB 2015 Convocation Address


Vernon Burton and I are editing an anthology of new scholarship on the Reconstruction Era, Call for Chapter Proposals here (deadline 6-15-15)

My annual lectures for UPenn/Wharton Lauder Global MBA Program, June 1, Columbia

Documentary film series on Fort Fredrick and Beaufort in Reconstruction is live

USCB hosting Phi Alpha Theta national history honor society Carolina's Regional Conference


2015 Palmetto Connections Symposium April 18, 2015

"That Railroad Center at Which All Branches Converged," in Oberlin Alumni magazine ​(nicely illustrated by Josh Neufeld)

Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism featured on John Fea's blog :The Way of Improvement Leads Home

Announcing $200,000 National Endowment for the Humanities grant for summer 2015 institute "America's Reconstruction: The Untold Story"

Oberlin, Hotbed of Abolitionism now out from UNC Press!

The Great Dismal Swamp Landscape Study group webpage is now live! Click here for more information on my current major project.

"Life in the Swamp," New York Times Opinionator, October 19, 2013