Charlene’s 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. She seeks 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. Charlene is determined to give voice to those silenced by the historical record with hopes that sharing these histories will foster healing in the 21st century and beyond.
“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.”Audre Lorde
Background images courtesy of the Kentucky Historical Society and the Capital City Museum, Frankfort, Kentucky.