Charles W. McKinney, Jr. is The Neville Frierson Bryan Chair of Africana Studies and an Associate Professor of history at Rhodes College in Memphis. His areas of expertise are the Civil Rights/Black Power Era, African American Activism, and African American Politics. He received a bachelor’s degree in history from Morehouse College and completed his doctoral studies at Duke University. His first book was titled Greater Freedom: The Evolution of the Civil Rights Struggle in Wilson, North Carolina. His second project, co-edited with Aram Goudsouzian, is An Unseen Light: Black Struggles for Freedom in Memphis, Tennessee. A third book, co-edited with Francoise Hamlin, titled Rights and Lives: An Exploration of the Civil Rights and Black Lives Matter Movements, is under contract at Vanderbilt University Press.
His writing has appeared in newspapers and information venues across the country, including the Memphis Commercial Appeal, USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Black Perspectives, Vanity Fair, and MLK50: Justice Through Journalism. He has provided commentary on radio programs across the country, news outlets in the United Kingdom, Europe, China, New Zealand, Australia, and has appeared on CNN.
Charles, a once and future alto sax player, is the proud father of Vanessa, Ayodele and Chioke, and is married to Natalie McKinney.