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Kat Charron

Assoc Professor

Department of History

Withers Hall 247


Katherine Mellen Charron is a native of North Carolina, and proud product of its public schools, who joined NC State’s History Department in the fall of 2007. She has taught classes on the civil rights and Black Power movements, southern history, U.S. women’s and gender history, the U.S. in the 20th century, post-1945 U.S. history, American history and memory, and research/methods classes for history majors. In 2011, she was inducted into the NC State Academy of Outstanding Teachers. In 2017, the College of Humanities and Social Sciences named her an Outstanding Undergraduate Professor.

Dr. Charron’s first monograph, Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark (UNC Press, 2009) won the 2010 Julia Cherry Spruill Prize for the best book in southern women’s history, awarded by the Southern Association of Women’s Historians; and the 2010 George C. Rogers Jr. prize for best book in South Carolina history, awarded by the South Carolina Historcal Society.

She currently serves as a senior editor for the on-line Oxford Research Encyclopedia of American History and as a member of the editorial board of Southern Cultures.

Teaching and Research Interests

20th Century U.S. History; African American, southern, and women’s and gender history.


Professor Charron’s next monograph explores Black Power politics and women’s activism in rural northeastern North Carolina in the post-Voting Rights Act (1965) era. She has also completed a website and walking tour of Black women’s history in Charleston, South Carolina, in collaboration with the Lowcountry Digital History Initiative.

Funded Research

2019-2020: Founders Fellowship; Research Triangle Foundation Fellowship, National Humanities Center

2013: Planning Grant, North Carolina Humanities Council

2012: CHASS Scholarship and Research Award, NC State University

Summer 2007: Fellow, The Schlesinger Library Summer Seminar on Gender and Biography, Radcliffe Institute, Harvard University

2006-2007: Postdoctoral Fellow, The Center for the Study of the American South, UNC-Chapel Hill

2004: Dissertation Writing Fellowship, Spencer Educational Foundation

2001: John Perry Miller Fund Dissertation Research Grant and John F. Enders Dissertation Research Grant, Yale University

Extension and Community Engagement

Dr. Charron served as a Roads Scholar for the North Carolina Humanities Council from 2009-2019, giving many talks to community groups across the state under its auspices. In 2016, she received an Outstanding Extension Service award from the College of Humanities and Social Sciences.

In Raleigh and the Triangle, she has spoken at events sponsored by Burning Coal Theater; St. Ambrose Episcopal Church; Mary E. Phillips High School; the Literacy Council of Wake County; the Raleigh City Musuem; the Triangle chapter of United Nation’s Women; and the Durham chapter of the International Women’s Federation.

A sample of other venues that have hosted Professor Charron include: Tryon Palace Historic Sites and Gardens in New Bern, North Carolina; Concerned Citizens of Tillery in Tillery, North Carolina; Busboys and Poets in Washington, D.C.; Haut Gap Middle School, Johns Island, South Carolina; and the Preservation Society of Charleston, South Carolina.

On NC State’s campus, she has presented talks for the Encore Program, the USDA, the Peace Lunch Forum, and D.H. Hill Library.

Internationally, she has co-led a week-long workshop on “Emancipation: African Americans and Women” with a group of professors in Belo Horizonte, Brazil.



Charron, Katherine Mellen. Freedom’s Teacher: The Life of Septima Clark. Chapel Hill: University of North Carolina Press, 2009.

*Enhanced eBook version, March 2012. Available for iPad, Nook readers from Amazon; also available for laptop users through Google Books.

Charron, Katherine Mellen, and David S. Cecelski, eds. Recollections of My Slavery Days by William Henry Singleton. Raleigh: North Carolina Division of Archives and History, 1999.


Charron, Katherine Mellen and Cherisse Jones-Branch. “‘We Who Believe in Freedom Cannot Rest’: The Civil Rights Movement,” 305-331. In Rewriting Southern History, edited by Lorri Glover and Craig Thompson Friend. Baton Rouge: Lousisana State University Press, 2020.

Charron, Katherine Mellen. “Remembering Individuals, Remembering Communities: Septima P. Clark and Public History in Charleston, SC.” In collaboration with the Lowcountry Digital History Iniative, College of Charleston, February 1, 2017.

Charron, Katherine Mellen. “Septima Poinsette Clark: The Evolution of an Educational Stateswoman.” In South Carolina Women: Their Lives and Timesvol. 3, edited by Joan M. Johnson, Valinda Littlefield, and Majorie J. Spruill, 240-61. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 2012.

Charron, Katherine Mellen. “Jim Crow: The Difficult and Anti-Democratic Work of White Supremacy.” Beyond the Texbook. National Educational Clearinghouse, summer 2011.

Charron, Katherine Mellen, and David P. Cline, eds. “’I Train the People to Do Their Own Talking’: Septima Clark and Women in the Civil Rights Movement.” Southern Cultures (Summer 2010): 31-52.

Charron, Katherine Mellen. Contributor to “’The Nellie Tree’, or Disbanding the Wheatley Court,” short essays in honor of Professor Nellie Y. McKay, edited by Kimberly Blockett and Gregory Rutledge. African American Review 40:1 (Spring 2006): 53.

Charron, Katherine Mellen. “We’ve Come a Long Way: Septima Clark, the Warings, and the Changing Civil Rights Movement.” In Groundwork: Local Black Freedom Movements in America, edited by Jeanne Theoharis and Komozi Woodard, 116-39. New York: New York University Press, 2005.

Mellen, Katherine M. “Toni Cade Bambara.” In Concise Dictionary of American Literary Biography, Supplement, Modern Writers, 1900-1998, 16-25. Washington DC: Gale Research, 1999.

Mellen, Katherine M. “Toni Cade Bambara,” “June Jordan,” “Audre Lorde,” and “Timeline 1900-1959.” In Dictionary of Twentieth Century African-American Culture, edited by Sandra Adell. Detroit: Gale Research, 1996.

Graduate Advising

Professor Charron works with graduate students with interests in race, gender, class, and culture in geographically distinct contexts in the 20th century U.S.*

*NOTE: Professor Charron does not serve as the adviser for any student unless they have taken a class with her.


Professor Charron is the Class Scheduler for the History Department.


Ph.D. History Yale University 2005

M.Phil. Philosophy Yale University 2001

M.A. History Yale University 2001

M.A. Afro-American Studies University of Wisconsin-Madison 1997

B.A. Literature University of North Carolina at Asheville 1993