Adriane D. Lentz-Smith
Associate Professor of History

Adriane Lentz-Smith is Associate Professor and Associate Chair in Duke's department of History where she teaches courses on the Civil Rights Movement, Black Lives, Modern America, and History in Fact and Fiction. A scholar of African American history as well as the histories of the twentieth-century United States and the US & the World, Lentz Smith is author of Freedom Struggles: African Americans and World War I (Harvard University Press, 2009). The book explores how African Americans worked through ideas of manhood, citizenship, and global encounter to pursue the black freedom struggle during World War I and build the civil rights movement that followed. Her article, “The Unbearable Whiteness of Grand Strategy,” can be found in the forthcoming volume, Rethinking Grand Strategy(Oxford University Press, 2021).

More recently, she has been at work on a new book, "The Slow Death of Sagon Penn: State Violence, and the Twilight of Civil Rights." Spinning its tale from the long aftermath of one man’s devastating encounter with the police in 1985, the book explores how state violence and white supremacy remade and sustained themselves in the twilight of the civil rights era. She also has published in American Quarterly and the upcoming women’s issue of Southern Cultures(Fall 2020); and served as a consultant to the PBS documentary, “The Jazz Ambassadors” as well as the Library of Congress exhibit, “Echoes of the Great War.” She can be seen on the American Experience documentary, “The Great War.”

A senior fellow in Duke’s Kenan Institute for Ethics, Lentz-Smith hosts Kenan’s community conversations series, “The Ethics of Now.” She serves on the advisory board for Duke University Press as well as for the journals Modern American History and Meridians: Feminism, Race, Transnationalism.

Office Hours

By appointment

Current Appointments & Affiliations

Contact Information

  • Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719
  • Dept of History, Classroom Bldg, Box 90719, Durham, NC 27708-0719

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