Heather Williams experienced racism for the first time when she moved to Brooklyn from Jamaica at 11 years old. That’s when she discovered that black was considered bad in the United States, though she didn't know why. Her high school library’s Black Studies section began her education in racial history. Her fascination with the subject would lead her to one day become a civil rights lawyer, and later, a teacher of history.
Today, she is an associate professor in the History Department at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. She teaches about African Americans during the 18th and 19th centuries, a period that encompasses the Civil War and slavery. As part of the North Carolina Voices series commemorating the 150th Anniversary of the start of the Civil War, Host Frank Stasio talks to Heather Williams about her life and the experience of African Americans during the war.