Jillean McCommons

jimc225's picture
  • Ph.D. Candidate
  • History
  • African American and Africana Studies
  • Appalachian Center
Research Interests:

M.S., University of Michigan, 2007

M.A., University of Wisconsin - Madison, 2003

B.A., Michigan State University, 2000


Jillean McCommons is a Ph.D candidate in the Department of History at the University of Kentucky. She is a recipient of the UK Appalachian Center 2018 Eller & Billings Student Research Award, the UK Alumni Association's African American Alumni Group's Lyman T. Johnson Torch Bearer Award, and the UK College of Arts and Sciences Outstanding Teaching Assistant Award. Her research explores the social and political history of Black Appalachians during the Civil Rights Movement and Black Power era of the mid-late twentieth century. She has published an essay on Black Perspectives, the blog of the African American Intellectual History Society, and books reviews in the Journal of African American History and the Register of the Kentucky Historical Society. Her public-facing work includes op-eds in the Lexington Herald-Leader, History News Network, and Newsweek. She is currently a Pre-Doctoral fellow at the Carter G. Woodson Institute for African-American and African Studies at the University of Virginia.

Selected Publications: 

"Unearthing New Histories of Black Appalachia." Black Perspectives. August 12, 2020. (Book review)

"Appalachian Hillsides as Black Ecologies: Housing, Memory, and the Sanctified Hill Disaster of 1972." Black Perspectives. June 16, 2020. (Essay)

"Black Women Are Using the Vote They Fought So Hard to Win." History Network News. December 24, 2017. (Op-Ed)

"Corporatism's Triumph is Humanity's Defeat: An Antidote Exists." Lexington Herald-Leader. July 14,  2017. (Op-Ed)