Daina [pronounced D-EYE-NAH] Ramey Berry is an Associate Professor of History and African and African Diaspora Studies and the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Fellow in History at the University of Texas at Austin. Before joining the faculty at UT Austin, she taught at Michigan State and Arizona State Universities. She completed her BA, MA, and PhD in History, African American Studies, and US History at UCLA. Dr. Berry is a specialist in the history of gender and slavery in the United States with a particular emphasis on the social and economic history of the nineteenth century.
Her first book, Swing the Sickle for the Harvest is Ripe: Gender and Slavery in Antebellum Georgia (University of Illinois Press, 2007), examined slave labor, family, and community in two distinct regions. She is the editor-in-chief of Enslaved Women in America: An Encyclopedia (ABC-Clio,2012), which was awarded one of the 2013 Outstanding Reference Sources by the American Library Association. In 2014, Professor Berry published Slavery and Freedom in Savannah (University of Georgia Press, 2014), edited with Leslie Harris (Northwestern University). This study of urban slavery in the Deep South had an accompanying exhibit under the same name hosted by Telfair Museums, sponsored in part by a major grant from the Institute for Museums and Library Services. The book and exhibit received awards from the American Association for State and Local History and the Georgia Archives. Berry and Harris have a second edited volume tentatively titled Sexuality and Slavery: Reclaiming Intimate Histories in the Americas currently under review.
In addition to her scholarly writing and editing, Dr. Berry has appeared on several syndicated radio and television shows including NPR, NBC, PBS, C-SPAN, and the History Channel. In 2010 she was on the season finale of “Who Do You Think You Are?” (NBC) where she reconstructed the genealogy of director, actor, and producer Spike Lee. In 2013 she appeared with Henry Louis Gates Jr. (Harvard University) on Episode Two of “The African Americans: Many Rivers to Cross” (PBS). She is an advocate for public history and served as one of the technical advisors for the remake of the Roots mini-series, which aired in the summer of 2016. Professor Berry's research has been supported by: the National Endowment for the Humanities, the American Council of Learned Societies, the American Association of University Women, the Ford Foundation, and the College of Physicians of Philadelphia. She is also a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.
In January 2017, Beacon Press published Berry’s second single-authored book: The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from the Womb to the Grave, in the Building of a Nation. That same year, Dr. Berry appeared in another episode of "Who Do You Think You Are?" (TLC) where she helped uncover the genealogy of Motown legend Smokey Robinson. During 2017 and 2018 Dr. Berry will be travelling widely to promote her new book. Check out the various events listed on the website to see if she'll be in a city near you.