I am a historian of the African American experience in the U. S. South during the 19th and early 20th centuries. I’m particularly interested in the intersections of race, gender, and the multiplicity of confinement.

I attended Howard University but completed my undergraduate degree in Criminal Justice at Martin University in Indianapolis. I hold master’s degrees in Criminal Justice and History from John Jay College of Criminal Justice and Brooklyn College, respectively. Prior to attending IU, I led a large prisoner reentry initiative in New York City, assisting women and men in their transition from incarceration to society. I’ve served as a lecturer of Criminal Justice at LaGuardia Community College and an adjunct lecturer in Global and Historical Studies at Butler University. My work is motivated by my personal and professional experiences — particularly my work with individuals and families impacted by domestic violence and incarceration — and these experiences continue to fuel my passion for my work today.

You’ll find more information about me, my research, and some of the awesome media projects I’ve conducted over the past two years. If you’d like to know more about my work, check out my full CV here and don’t hesitate to reach out.


My current research explores the experiences of confined African-American women in Kentucky from Reconstruction to the Progressive Era, specifically illuminating the lives of confined black women by examining places other than carceral locales as arenas of confinement, including mental health asylums and domestic spaces. I seek to explore how these women both defied and defined confinement through their incarceration, interactions with public, social and political entities of the period, as well as how they challenged Victorian ideas of race and femininity and shaped prison and political reform in Kentucky.

I am definitely a historian of the African-American experience, women, and the U.S. South. While my dissertation centers on confinement in Kentucky, the project has led me to follow the rabbit hole to more on legal history and politics, African-American life and spirituality, and social activism in the American South. My master’s thesis research explored the race riots of the Red Summer of 1919 and the implementation and consequences of the use of martial law during the 1918 and 1919 race riots in Charleston, South Carolina.

Background images courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Capital City Museum, Frankfort, Kentucky.

Publications & Media




“Confined Femininity: Race, Gender, and Incarceration in Kentucky, 1865-1920.” Indiana University.

Book Reviews

Fletcher-Brown, C.  Review of Liberty’s Prisoners: Carceral Culture in Early America, by Jen Manion, Register of the Kentucky Historical Society, 115, no. 3 (Summer 2017): 419-421.

Web-Based Publications

Fletcher-Brown, Charlene. “Early Stories of Domestic Violence Raise Awareness, Foster Healing.” The Blog of the Kentucky Historical Society. November 4, 2016. http://history.ky.gov/early-stories-of-domestic-violence-raise-awareness-foster-healing/

Fletcher-Brown, C. Multiple Submissions in Significant People in African American History, BlackPast.org. https://www.blackpast.org/author/fletcher-browncharlenej/.  (2014-2015)

Fletcher-Brown, C. “The Palmer Raids” 1914-1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World War. http://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/Palmer_Raids (2014)

Fletcher-Brown, C. “U.S. Race Riots” 1914-1918 Online: International Encyclopedia of the First World Warhttp://encyclopedia.1914-1918-online.net/article/U.S._Race_Riots (2014)


I conducted several awesome interviews while at the AHR, the first with Dr. Elizabeth Hinton of Harvard University on the future of carceral studies and the second was a series of interviews with historians about the impact of the blockbuster hit Black Panther.  

AHR Interview: Elizabeth Hinton Discusses Carceral Studies and Scholarly Activism

AHR Interview: Tanisha Ford on the Film Black Panther

AHR Interview: Nwando Achebe on the Film Black Panther

AHR Interview: Andre Carrington on the Film Black Panther

AHR Interview: Sean Jacobs on the Film Black Panther


Feminist poet and scholar Audre Lorde stated, “The learning process is something you can incite, literally incite, like a riot.” This quote inspires my teaching philosophy as I envision the classroom as a space for fostering community, promoting learning, and inciting change. My pedagogical goals are simple: I want learners to be able to think critically, challenge their beliefs and politics through the engagement of comparable and opposing sources of information, confidently defend their positions, and to practically apply the knowledge attained in other disciplines or life experiences.

My teacher training began behind the walls of the Queensboro Correctional Facility within the New York Department of Correctional Services. I facilitated re-entry classes for cohorts of men preparing for release, family reunification, and the transition to society. Although this introduction to the classroom was not the traditional academic space, it allowed me to engage with and learn from one of the most underserved populations in the country. Knowing first-hand the history and experiences of incarcerated students, I transitioned to the formal classroom at LaGuardia Community College to train the next generation of criminal justice providers.

Audre Lorde also said, “when we speak, we are afraid our words will not be heard or welcomed. But when we are silent, we are still afraid. So, it is better to speak.” I believe it is essential to create comfortable learning spaces for students. I have always facilitated class discussion. I think the students learn more by engaging in meaningful dialogue, giving thoughtful consideration to the perspectives of their colleagues, and collaborative work and exchange are essential to building collegial relationships. I also like the practice of assigning discussion leaders for readings. It holds students accountable for coursework, creates opportunities for critical thinking, and public speaking/leadership training. These comfortable spaces also enable me to foster mentoring relationships with students, and I can either cultivate a more profound interest in the course material, help non-majors to see how to utilize the skill set in their disciplines, and to identify and provide additional resources to all students for further inquiry.

Fridays with Fannie

Pursuing a Ph.D. is no easy feat and writing a dissertation is quite an isolated journey.  Yet, this journey is filled with both historical and personal revelations that I wanted to document and share with the world around me.  Research and writing have led me to some very interesting places around the globe and have gifted fascinating stories and nuggets of knowledge to share.  My hope, each Friday, is to use this blog to share my journey with you – giving you the chance to learn more about Black women, Kentucky, and, most importantly, more about my dear Ms. Fannie.

So, who is Fannie?

You ask such good questions!  Fannie Keyes Harvey (1865-1917) was an African-American woman, Lexington, Kentucky resident, mother, seamstress, and the star of my dissertation project.  She was incarcerated in the old Kentucky State Penitentiary at Frankfort between 1895 and 1913.