Biography

Who is

Dr. Leah Wright-Rigueur?

Leah Wright Rigueur is a SNF Agora Institute Associate Professor of History at John Hopkins University. She is a Justice Fellow at the Carr Center for Human Rights at Harvard University and also a Faculty Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation at the Harvard Kennedy School. As a trained political historian, her scholarship and research expertise include:

  • 20th Century United States political and social history
  • Modern African American history, with an emphasis on race and political ideology
  • American Presidential elections
  • Policies and civil rights movements
  • Protest and civil unrest in the United States

 

Dr. Rigueur’s award-winning book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power covers more than four decades of American political and social history, and examines the ideas and actions of black officials and politicians, from the era of the New Deal to Ronald Reagan’s presidential ascent in 1980. Currently, she is working on a book manuscript, Black Collar Criminals/Mourning in America: Black Men and Women in a White House, that documents critical transformations in American politics and corporate America in the 1980s and 1990s – including many of the same issues that plague political institutions and corporate America today.

At both the Harvard Kennedy School and Brandeis University, Dr. Rigueur leads the Race and American Politics initiative, a multidisciplinary series of seminars and roundtables addressing the most pressing issues in race and American politics.

 

Dr. Rigueur is an ABC News Contributor, and her writing, research and commentary has been featured in media outlets including, MSNBC, CNN, CBS News, PBS, NPR, The New York Times, Washington Post, C-SPAN, The Atlantic, 538, Daily Beast, Associated Press, New Republic, The Root, Al Jazeera (English), BBC Radio, Vox, Politico, The New Yorker, Slate, Sirius XM Radio, Buzzfeed News, Weekly Standard, Washington Times, Choice, MTV News, HuffPost, Vogue, TV One News, Fortune Magazine, A&E Networks, The History Channel and Showtime.

 

In 2020, she covered the US Presidential Election across all platforms for ABC News. In 2018, she helped cover the mid-term elections for MSNBC and Al-Jazeera (English) and covered the US Presidential Election for Al-Jazeera (English) in 2016.

 

She holds a Ph.D. in History from Princeton University and a B.A. in History from Dartmouth College.

 

"My first book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (Princeton University Press) was published in 2015."

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B.A. in History from Dartmouth College

M.A. and Ph.D. in History from Princeton University.

Leah’s research interests include 20th Century United States political and social history, and modern African American history.

Her work emphasizes race, civil rights, political ideology, the American two-party system and the presidency.

Leah’s first book, The Loneliness of the Black Republican: Pragmatic Politics and the Pursuit of Power (Princeton University Press, 2015) covers more than four decades of American political and social history, and examines the ideas and actions of black Republican activists, officials and politicians, from the era of the New Deal to Ronald Reagan’s presidential ascent in 1980. Her work ultimately provides a new understanding of the interaction between African Americans and the Republican Party, and the seemingly incongruous intersection of civil rights and American conservatism. Her book takes a long approach to American history and not only tells an important story about race and the Republican Party, but also expands our understanding of the evolution in opinions and behaviors of everyday African Americans that supported or rejected the GOP on a local, state, and national level, between 1936 and present day.

At the Kennedy School, she teaches courses on race, riot and backlash in the United States, and the Civil Rights Movement, race and policy in Modern America.

Beginning in Fall 2015, Leah will also lead Race and American Politics, a multidisciplinary series of seminars and roundtables, co-sponsored by the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and the Malcolm Weiner Center for Social Policy, and dedicated to the most pressing political and social issues related to race in the United States.