Tanisha C. Ford

Author, Cultural Critic, and Professor of Africana Studies & History


TANISHA C. FORD is a foremost voice speaking on the intersection of politics, economics, and culture. She makes connections between the past and the present in ways that shed new light on today’s most pressing social issues. She is Professor of History and Biography and Memoir at The Graduate Center, CUNY.

Tanisha has written four books: Our Secret Society: Mollie Moon and the Glamour, Money, and Power Behind the Civil Rights Movement, which will be published by Amistad/HarperCollins in fall 2023, Dressed in Dreams: A Black Girl’s Love Letter to the Power of Fashion (St. Martins, June 2019), Kwame Brathwaite: Black is Beautiful (Aperture, May 2019), and the award-winning Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul (UNC Press, 2015). She is currently working on a genre-bending book about sculptor and institution builder Augusta Savage for Penguin Press’s “Significations” series.

Tanisha has received several major awards and honors. She was named one of The Root’s 100 Most Influential African Americans. Her research has been supported by prestigious institutions such as New America, Emerson Collective, the Institute for Advanced Study in Princeton, NJ, Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, Ford Foundation, Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, and London University’s School of Advanced Study, among others.

Tanisha writes regularly for newspapers and magazines. Her analysis and cultural commentary have been featured in diverse outlets including the New York Times, the Atlantic, Time, ELLETown & CountryHarper’s BazaarThe RootAperture, CBSNews, WNYC, and NPR.

A dynamic speaker, Tanisha engages with national and international audiences about the cost of racial justice movements, the history of Black mutual aid networks, philanthropy and the civil rights movement, the Black Midwest, and the geopolitics of the fashion and beauty industries. She also conducts workshops on life writing (memoir, biography, autobiography) and strategies for developing anti-racist philanthropic practices.     

 A native of Indiana, Tanisha currently resides in Harlem. To learn more, visit her website.

TOPICS: history, economics, women and girls of color, philanthropy, writing

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