Marcy Sacks

Julian S. Rammelkamp Professor of History
History Department Chair
U.S. History/African-American History

Office: Robinson Hall 211
Phone: (517) 629-0298
Email: [email protected]


  • Ph.D. University of California at Berkeley, (History), 1999
  • M.A., University of California at Berkeley (History), 1993
  • B.S., Cornell University (Industrial and Labor Relations), 1991


  • U.S. History from Colonization to the Civil War
  • African American History to the Civil War
  • African American History 1865 – Present
  • The Civil War and Reconstruction
  • U.S. Immigration History
  • Road to Revolution

Scholarly Activity

Current Research Projects

  • There is Nothing Like Having a Slave: White Union Soldiers’ Racial Fantasies during the U.S. Civil War”
  • “The Other Side of Reconstruction: Black Northerners Confront the Aftermath of Southern Emancipation.”


  • Joe Louis: Sports and Race in Twentieth Century America. Routledge (April 2018).
  • Before Harlem: The Black Experience in New York City Before World War I. University of Pennsylvania Press (October 2006).

Public-facing Scholarship

Selected Articles

  • They Are Truly Marvelous Cats: The Importance of Companion Animals to U.S. Soldiers during the Civil War,” Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2021).
  • Promoting Inclusivity in Academia: A Case Study in Taking Underrepresented Students to the Archives in the United States,” in Faculty as Global Learners: Opportunities and Strategies to Support Off-Campus Study Leaders at Liberal Arts Colleges, Joan Gillespie et al., eds. (Lever Press, 2020). Featured guest on associated podcast, Postcard Pedagogy. 
  • Speaking Through Silence? Whites’ Efforts to Make Meaning of Joe Louis,” in Cultures of Boxing, David Scott, ed. (Peter Lang, 2015).
  • “Behind the Brown Mask: Joe Louis’s Face and the Construction of Racial Mythologies,” in ConFiguring America: Iconic Figures, Visuality, and the American Identity, Michael Fuchs, ed.  (2013)
  • “Rand Paul and the Danger of Careless Rhetoric About Civil Rights.”  Christian Science Monitor 5/26/2010.
  • Entry for “Harlem Property Owners Association,” in The Encyclopedia of African American History.  Facts on File, 2010.
  • Entries for “Harlem,” “The New York Age,” and “The New Negro,” in The Encyclopedia of African American History.  Oxford University Press, 2009.
  • “Recreating Black New York at Century’s End,” in Slavery in New York, Ira Berlin and Leslie Harris, ed. The New Press, 2005: 325-349; book published in conjunction with 2005 exhibit at the New-York Historical Society.

Research Interests

African American History, U.S. Social and Cultural History.


  • Residency Research Fellow, Institute for Historical Studies, University of Michigan (2006-2007)
  • National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship ($40,000; 2006-2007)
  • Seminar Participant, “Slavery and Public History,” sponsored by the Council of Independent Colleges and the Gilder Lehrman Institute (Columbia University, August 8-11, 2004)
  • Faculty Diversity Award, Albion College, 2003 (sponsored by the President’s Advisory Committee on Multicultural Affairs)
  • Faculty Development Grants, Albion College, 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003
  • History and Culture Fellow, Albion College, 2000-2001
  • Emerson Grant, Hamilton College, 1998
  • New Jersey Historical Commission Research Grant, 1995-1996
  • Eugene Irving McCormac Graduate Fellowship, University of California, Berkeley, 1995-1996
  • New York State Library Research Resident, 1995
  • Outstanding Graduate Student Instructor, University of California, 1995