Professor of History, Board of Visitors Professor
- Harris 202
Geographic Field(s): American History, Before 1900
Principal Research Interest(s): U.S. history, Civil War and Reconstruction, anti-slavery movement, slavery, emancipation, race, politics, and the state
Kate Masur (Ph.D. University of Michigan, 2001) specializes in the history of race, politics, and law in the nineteenth-century United States. She is the author of Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction (W. W. Norton, 2021) and numerous other books and articles including An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C. (UNC Press, 2010), and, with Gregory Downs, The World the Civil War Made (UNC Press, 2015).
Masur has consulted extensively with museums and arts organizations including the National Constitution Center and the Newberry Library. She was part of the editorial team that created Reconstruction: The Official National Park Service Handbook, and she co-authored, with Gregory Downs, The Era of Reconstruction, 1861-1900, a National Historic Landmark Theme Study published in 2017. She was also a key consultant for the 2019 documentary, Reconstruction: America after the Civil War and appeared in the recent CNN film, Lincoln: Divided We Stand.
Masur regularly works with K-12 teachers and speaks with the media on topics including the Civil War and Reconstruction, Lincoln, and monuments and public memory. She and Downs are co-editors of the Journal of the Civil War Era, published by University of North Carolina Press.
Masur’s scholarship has recently appeared in The Journal of the Civil War Era and the American Journal of Legal History, in volumes on the Memphis Massacre and biographical film in history, and as commentary in the Chicago Tribune, the New York Times, and the Washington Post’s Made By History
- Until Justice Be Done: America’s First Civil Rights Movement, from the Revolution to Reconstruction, W. W. Norton, 2021.
- Editor, They Knew Lincoln by John E. Washington (1942), Oxford University Press, 2018.
- Editor with Gregory P. Downs, The World the Civil War Made, University of North Carolina Press, 2015.
- Editor with René Hayden, Anthony E. Kaye, Steven F. Miller, Susan E. O’Donovan, Leslie S. Rowland, and Stephen A. West, Freedom: A Documentary History of Emancipation, 1861-1867, Series 3, Volume 2, Land and Labor, 1866-1867. University of North Carolina Press, 2013.
- An Example for All the Land: Emancipation and the Struggle over Equality in Washington, D.C., University of North Carolina Press, 2010.
- “State Sovereignty and Migration before Reconstruction,” Journal of the Civil War Era, 9, no. 4 (Dec. 2019): 588-611.
- “Urban Battlegrounds: Reconstruction in Southern Cities,” Remembering the Memphis Massacre: An American Story, University of Georgia Press, 2020.
- “Lincoln Biography and National Reconciliation in the films Birth of a Nation and Lincoln,” in Thomas S. Freeman and David Smith, eds. Reel Lives: Biography on Film, Palgrave, 2019.
- “The People’s Welfare, Police Power, and the Rights of Free People of African Descent,” American Journal of Legal History, 27 (2017): 238-42.
- “Color Was a Bar to the Entrance: African American Activism and the Question of Social Equality in Lincoln’s White House,” American Quarterly, 69 (March 2017), 1-22.
- “The Problem of Equality in the Age of Emancipation,” in David W. Blight and Jim Downs, eds., Beyond Freedom: Disrupting the History of Emancipation, University of Georgia Press, 2017.
- Chair and organizer, “Eric Foner’s Reconstruction at Twenty-Five,” Journal of the Gilded Age and Progressive Era, 14 (Jan. 2015), 13-27.
- “Patronage and Protest in Kate Brown’s Washington,” Journal of American History, 99 (March 2013), 1047-1071.
- Participant, “Historians’ Forum: The Emancipation Proclamation,” Civil War History, 59 (March 2013), 7-31.
- “Civil, Political, and Social Equality: A Paradigm and a Problematic.” Marquette Law Review, 93, no. 4 (2010), 1399-1406.
- “The African American Delegation to Abraham Lincoln: A Reappraisal.” Civil War History, 56 (June 2010), 117-144.
- “A Rare Phenomenon of Philological Vegetation”: The Word “Contraband” and the Meanings of Emancipation in the United States, Journal of American History, 93 (March 2007), 1050-1084.
- Professor Masur regularly teaches undergraduate courses on the Civil War and Reconstruction, the anti-slavery movement, Abraham Lincoln, and U.S. Women’s History. She recently became teaching partner with the Colored Conventions Project and in spring 2020 taught a course on the 1853 Black convention in Illinois. She enjoys working closely with undergraduate students and has supervised several honors theses and worked with numerous Leopold Fellows. Many of her students have won Undergraduate Research Grants (URGs) to conduct independent research.
- Masur served as the History Department’s Director of Graduate Studies for four years (2011-14, 2016-17). She helped apply for and implement a Teagle Foundation grant to promote excellence in graduate student teaching and served a three-year term on TGS’s Advisory Council for Academic Affairs. Her graduate teaching and advising fields include the Civil War and Reconstruction, African American history, legal history, political history, and the history of women and gender. Her current Ph.D. students are working in all those areas.
Awards and Honors
- National Endowment for the Humanities faculty fellow, 2018-2019
- Andrews Fellow, W.E.B. Du Bois Research Institute, Harvard University, 2014-2015
- OAH Distinguished Lecturer, 2013-present
- Lincoln Prize Honorable Mention for An Example for All the Land, 2011
- Avery O. Craven Prize Honorable Mention for An Example for All the Land, 2011
- Choice Outstanding Academic Title for An Example for All the Land, 2011
- John T. Hubbell Prize for best article in the journal Civil War History, 2010
- ACLS/Ryskamp Fellowship, 2010-2011
- Binkley-Stephenson Award for Best Scholarly Article in the Journal of American History, Organization of American Historians, 2007
- National Endowment for the Humanities Faculty Fellowship, 2007-2008
- Kluge Postdoctoral Fellowship, Library of Congress, 2004-2005