Tanisha C. Ford

Emerson Collective Fellow, 2023

Tanisha C. Ford, Emerson Collective Fellow, is a professor of history at the Graduate Center, City University of New York (CUNY). She has written extensively on social movements, the global economics of fashion, and Black philanthropy. She is currently writing a new book, Our Secret Society: Americaʼs Forgotten Black Powerbrokers, which uncovers the secret webs of money, power, and social influence that bolstered the Civil Rights movement. It will be published by Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins.

Ford is the author of the award-winning Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul, and Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girlʼs Love Letter to the Power of Fashion, and co-author of Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful. Her feature stories and reviews have been published in the Atlantic, the New York Times, ELLE, and Harper's Bazaar, among others.

In 2019, she was named to the Root’s “100 Most Influential African Americans” list for her innovative, public-facing scholarship. Her research has been supported by multiple institutions including: the Institute for Advanced Study (Princeton, NJ), Harvard Radcliffe Institute, the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. She is working with the Smithsonian National Museum of American History on a multi-year initiative that aims to redefine U.S. philanthropy by centering non-Western forms of generosity and mutual aid. Ford received her Ph.D. in 20th century U.S. history from Indiana University-Bloomington.

Selected Work

Featured Work