• Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow

Mikayla Woods

  • Summer Undergraduate Research Fellow
ABF Researcher

Mikayla Woods (she/her) is a rising senior at Occidental College where she majors in Black Studies and American Studies with a minor in English. Mikayla focuses her research on 19th century enslaved Black women, through conducting a historical reading of court cases.

Her current research projects include an analysis of the 1839 court case Hinds v. Brazealle, where she plans on illustrating the relationship between property, gender, and race, along with her second project on Sojourner Truth’s 1828 court case where she successfully sued for the emancipation of her son, Peter. This past fall, Mikayla presented her research titled, “Black Motherhood within the Antebellum Legal System: The Legal History of Sojourner Truth,”at the Association for the Study of African American Life and History Conference.Mikayla hopes to use her scholarship to bring out marginalized and silenced voices from the archive in order to provide a more accurate and representational history of American chattel slavery.  

Outside of her schoolwork, Mikayla works at the Writing Center as a peer tutor, writing fellow, and as an intern for the Occidental Black Studies Department. In previous summers Mikayla has had the privilege to work as a Billington Fellow in U.S. History, a Mellon Scholar at the Library Company of Philadelphia, and as a Cooper-Du Bois Fellow at Penn State.

After graduation, Mikayla plans to enter a Ph.D. in History, where she can focus on bringing forward the history of Black women. During the SURF program, she will work with Christopher W. Schmidt on his research project which outlines the history of the U.S. Supreme Court and its relationship with the American people since 1930.