Daina Ramey Berry (pronounced DIE-NAH like Dinah Washington) is the Chair of the History Department at The University of Texas at Austin. She holds the Oliver H. Radkey Regents Professorship of History and is a Fellow of Walter Prescott Webb Chair in History and the George W. Littlefield Professorship in American History at the University of Texas at Austin. Formerly the Associate Dean of The Graduate School, Dr. Berry lead a campus-wide initiative to transform funding, student outcomes, and career pathways at the university. In this capacity, she serves as the director of the American Association of Universities PhD Education Initiative at UT Austin which is part of a select group of eight universities participating in a pilot program to offer diverse career options for graduate students. One of her greatest passions has been training doctoral students in African American History.
In addition to her work at the university as an administrator and internationally recognized scholar of slavery, Professor Berry is one of the most sought-after consultants for public-facing projects offered by museums, historical sites, K-12 educational initiatives, syndicated radio programs, online podcasts, and public television. She directs an Arts program for a Title I school through the Town Lake Links, Inc. and received a community leadership award for her efforts.
Professor Berry completed her BA, MA, and PhD in African American Studies and U.S. History at the University of California Los Angeles. She is “a scholar of the enslaved” and a specialist on gender and slavery as well as Black women’s history in the United States. Berry is the award-winning author and editor of six books and several scholarly articles. One of her recent books, The Price for their Pound of Flesh: The Value of the Enslaved, from Womb to the Grave, in the Building of a Nation (Beacon Press, 2017) received three book awards including the Phyllis Wheatley Award for Scholarly Research from the Sons and Daughters of the US Middle Passage; the 2018 Best Book Prize from the Society for the History of the Early American Republic (SHEAR); and the 2018 Hamilton Book Prize from the University Co-op for the best book among UT Austin faculty. Berry’s book was also a finalist for the 2018 Frederick Douglass Book Prize awarded by Yale University and the Gilder Lehrman Institute in New York.
Dr. Berry has appeared on several syndicated radio and television networks including: NBC/ TLC (“Who Do You Think You Are?”), CNN, C-SPAN, National Geographic Explorer, and NPR. In 2016, she served at a historical consultant and technical advisor for the remake of ROOTS by Alex Haley (HISTORY/ A+E) where she worked with the writers on the script and advised on set by supporting the directors and actors during filming. She currently serves as a consultant for museums and historical societies throughout the United States including the restoration and interpretation at historic sites such as the Owens-Thomas House (Savannah, GA), Phillipsburg Manor (Sleepy Hollow, NY), and the Neill-Cochran House (Austin, TX). In 2018 Berry produced several online essays during Black History Month for the National Museum of African American History and Culture in collaboration with Biography.com and History.com, and edited the text for the award-winning “People Not Property” website on slavery in the North. She is also the co-producer with Adriane Hopper Williams (EnLight Productions) for a multi-media series on women’s contributions to United States History called Making History Hers.
Dr. Berry has received prestigious fellowships for her research from the National Endowment for the Humanities; the American Council of Learned Societies; the American Association of University Women and the Ford Foundation. She is a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians. Her work has been, featured in the New York Times, Time, Newsweek, U.S. News & World Report, The Washington Post, and Huffington Post. She has also received grants from the Spencer Foundation and Humanities Texas to work with K-12 educators on teaching the history of slavery to American youth.
Professor Berry is the associate editor for The Journal of African American History and is currently revising an 8th Grade U.S. History textbook for a major publisher. She recently completed A Black Women's History of the United States (Beacon Press) with Professor Kali Nicole Gross of Rutgers University which will be published in February 2020 and offered for Young Readers in 2021. In June 2020 she will deliver a book on The Myths of Slavery based on a popular editorial she wrote in 2014 which received worldwide attention.