Robyn C. Spencer received her PhD in History from Columbia University in 2001. She was an Assistant Professor of African and African American Studies, and History at Penn State University from 2001-2007 and currently works as an Assistant Professor of US History at Lehman College in the Bronx, NY.
Since she began studying social movements as an undergraduate history major at SUNY Binghamton, Professor Spencer’s inspiration has come from the examples of those who chose to fight injustice, racism, and sexism. Her areas of expertise include black social protest after World War II, urban and working-class radicalism, and gender. She is currently completing a book on the Black Panther Party’s political and organizational evolution in Oakland, California with the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill press.
Through writing, teaching and public presentations, Professor Spencer aims to educate others about the contributions of urban, working-class African Americans, especially women, to the black freedom movement. She has presented her work at close to a dozen universities and several correctional institutions. She has also participated in seminars aimed at educating high school teachers about the latest interpretive trends in her field. Her future research will analyze working class African Americans’ anti-imperialist consciousness in the 1960s and examine how it shaped their engagement with the movement against the Vietnam War. In many ways, it continues her emphasis on exploring overlapping and intersecting boundaries between social protest movements.