Dr. Harris-Perry is the first African American woman to earn a Ph.D. in Political Science from Duke University. After serving for two decades as a scholar and teacher at some of America’s most prestigious universities, Melissa Harris-Perry returned to her undergraduate alma mater in July 2014. She is now the Maya Angelou Presidential Chair at Wake Forest University. There she is founding director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center and Director of Wake the Vote. Professor Harris-Perry served as the inaugural Executive Director of the Pro Humanitate Institute from 2015-2018.

From the lecture "Who's Choosin' Who? Race, Gender, and the New American Politics" by Melissa Harris-Perry, Presidential Endowed Professor of Political Science at Wake Forest University, founding director of Anna Julia Cooper Project on Gender, Race, and Politics in the South, MSNBC host, columnist for the Nation, and author of Sister Citizen: Shame, Stereotypes, and Black Women in America.

Current COUrses

In Fall 2018 Professor Harris-Perry is teaching two courses. POL210: Race, Class, and Social Justice. This course asks, “What is social justice?  How are identities, experiences, and structures of race, ethnicity, and class intertwined with social justice in the American context?” POL286: America’s First Ladies. This seminar explores American first ladies as political and social actors.


Anna Julia cooper center

Professor Harris-Perry is the Founding Director of the Anna Julia Cooper Center. AJC Center supports, generates, and communicates innovative research at the intersections of gender, race, and place, sustaining relationships between partners in the academe and in communities in order to ask new questions, reframe critical issues, and pursue equitable outcomes.



MHP directs Wake the Vote, an innovative civic learning and democratic engagement experience offering students the opportunity to form a diverse cohort, examine issues central to local and national elections, build competencies for engaged citizenship, and experience American democracy from the front lines through travel, participation, program planning, social media curation and writing.