Michelle Purdy

Associate Professor

Dr. Michelle A. Purdy is an associate professor of education. With research, teaching, and service commitments to advancing racial justice, cultural understanding, and equitable policies and practices in education, her specialties include the history of U.S. education, the history of African American education, the history of school desegregation, and the history of policy, access, and opportunity. Her award-winning book, Transforming the Elite: Black Students and the Desegregation of Private Schools (University of North Carolina Press) combines social history, policy analysis, archival research, and oral histories to examine how the first Black students to desegregate historically white elite private schools navigated institutional and interpersonal racism while also analyzing the culture, climate, and politics of such schools. This work foreshadows contemporary complexities at the heart of the Black community’s continued struggle for equitable and accessible educational opportunities. Purdy earned her A.B. in educational studies and African and African-American studies and M.A. in history from Washington University in St. Louis, and Ph.D. in educational studies from Emory University.

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