Earnestine Jenkins

Earnestine Jenkins


244H Art & Communication
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Curator-Brooks Museum of Art-African Exhibit photo Early African American Photgraphers Curator-Visual Arts of Africa Digital Collection of Historical African African American Photographs site link Memphis Heritage Trails Mural National Civil Rights Museum  African Americans in Memphis book cover Blacks and Blackness in European Art of the Long Nineteenth Century book cover A Glorious Past Book Cover A question of Manhood book cover 1 A question of Manhood book cover 2 Race, Representation and Photography in 19th Century Memphis book cover Tennessee Historian Quarterly cover


  • PhD. 1997: Michigan State University: Major = History. (Northeast-Horn of Africa)Secondary areas = West African History, African Art History, African American History, Comparative Black/African Diaspora Studies, Gender Studies
  • Dissertation: "A Kingly Craft: Art and Leadership in Ethiopia, A Social History of Art and Visual Culture in Pre-Modern Africa
  • MA. 1986: University of Memphis: Art History (Egyptian-Nubian focus)
  • BFA. 1979: Spelman College: Major/Painting: Minor/History



  • American/African American/African/African Diaspora history, arts-visual culture
  • Critical race studies and representation across the African diaspora, including blacks in Europe
  • The relationship between the arts, slavery, colonialism and empire
  • The study of the arts in relation to community and social change
  • African American-African Diaspora photographic and film cultures
  • Masculinity Studies
  • History of African Americans in the urban south


  • Current: Professor of Art History-Visual Culture Studies. Department of Art, University of Memphis
  • 1999-1998 Curator of Education Institute of Egyptian Art & Archaeology, University of Memphis
  • 1998-1997 Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Comparative Black History Department of History Michigan State University


  • 2014 Honorary Co-Chair and Committee: Association for the Study of African American Life and History, September 24-28, 2014, Memphis
  • 2013-2014 Professional Development Assignment/Sabbatical
  • 2002-2003 New Faculty Research Grant University of Memphis
  • 1997-1998 Post- Doctoral Fellow Michigan State University
  • 1993-1995 King-Chavez -Parks Fellowship Award Michigan State University
  • 1992-1993 College Fellowship Competition Michigan State University
  • 1990-1991 CIC International Studies Fellow Program Language Grant Institute of Ethiopian Studies, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • 1989-1990 Title IV Foreign Language Area Studies Fellowship Michigan State University



  • Invited Panelist: Race and Representation: Visual Images of the African Diaspora, (Celeste-Marie Bernier (University of Nottingham), Esther Lezra (UCSB), Bill Lawson (University of Memphis), and Earnestine Jenkins (University of Memphis), organized by George Lipsitz, Center for Black Studies Research, University of Santa Barbara, November 4-6, 2015.

  • Conference Paper: "Imaging the Horrible: Ida B. Wells & the 'Lynching at the Curve,'1892" The Black Special Relationship: African American Scholarship and its Impact on Black Intellectual Life in Britain, Blackness in Britain 2015, Birmingham City University, 30-31 October 2015.

  • Invited Panelist: "The Great Migration and Urban Blues," 2015 Association of African American Museums Annual Conference -Milestones in History – African American Museums and the Story of African American Progress, Memphis, TN., August 4-7, 2015.

  • Invited Panelist: "From Liberia to Memphis: the Photographic Archive of Dr. Georgia Patton Washington," James A. Porter Colloquium, 'Sheroes' and Womanists: An Examination of Feminist Subjectivity in Modern and Contemporary African American Art, April 10-11, 2015, Howard University, Washington, D.C.

  • Invited Lecture: "Muralist Vertis Hayes," 34th Annual Bryllion and Mary Fagin Lecture Series, LeMoyne Owen College, November 2014, Memphis, TN.

  • Invited Paper. "The Depiction of Slavery & American Print Culture in Antebellum Memphis," Conference: African American Expression in Print Culture, Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture, Madison Wisconsin, September 19-21, 2014.

  • Invited Paper and Panel Coordinator. "Anna Murray & the Familial Frederick Douglass: Aesthetics & Hidden Narratives in the Photographs of a Nineteenth Century Black Family," Imaging Frederick Douglass: Aesthetics and Black Agency in Diaspora Visual Culture, Association for the Study of African American Life and Culture, Memphis, September 24-28, 2014.

  • Invited Paper and Panel Coordinator. "Photography & Public Memory: Ida B. Wells and the Lynching at the Curve," Radical Arts & the Politics of Race and Public Memory in Memphis: Denial & Hidden Histories, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Memphis, September 24-28, 2014.

  • Panel Coordinator/ Chair, Art & Legacy at Historical Black Colleges, SECAC: Southeastern College Art Conference, Greensboro, North Carolina, October 30-November 2, 2013.

  • Conference: Muralist Vertis Hayes and the LeMoyne Federal Art Center: A Legacy of African American Fine Arts in Memphis, Tennessee 1930s-1950s, SECAC, Greensboro, North Carolina, October 30th-November 2, 2013.

  • Invited Lecture: Depicting Religion-Spirituality in the Works of African American Artists, Dixon Gallery & Gardens, November 6, 2013, in connection with the traveling exhibition on Biblical art, Ashe to Amen.

  • Conference: The Visual Culture of Emancipation: Fort Pickering, Black Soldiers, and Freed Women in Civil War Era Memphis, Midwest Art History Society Conference, Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, March 21-23, 2013.

  • Conference: Race & Gender in Joe Jones 'American Justice:' Radical Painter of the American Scene. SECAC, Greensboro, North Carolina, October 17-19, 2012.

  • Panel Coordinator-Chair, The Black Female Subject in Western Art and Visual Culture, SECAC, Greensboro, North Carolina, October 17-19, 2012.

  • Conference: Victorian Women of Color and the Family Photo Album: Documenting Race, Gender, and Interracial Relationships in 19th Century Memphis. African Americans and the Civil War, Association for the Study of African American Life and History, Richmond, VA., (October 5-9, 2011).

  • Conference: Race & Representation: Depicting 'New Negro' Manhood in Hooks Brothers Photographs, Memphis, Tennessee. Modern and Contemporary Art Session, SECAC, Birmingham, Alabama (October, 2009).

  • Invited Panelist, Menelik II: Imaging an African Leader in the Era of

  • Conference: Colonization, Visionary Leadership: Kings, Art and the Colonial Moment. African Studies Association, Chicago, Illinois (Nov. 13-18, 2008).

  • Conference: John Northcote's Portrait Head of a Negro in the Character of Othello, Painting Race in Early Nineteenth Century British Art. 2007 BARS-NASSR Conference (British Association of Romantic Studies and the North American Society for the Study of Romanticism), Emancipation, Liberation, Freedom, University of Bristol, 26-29 July 2007.

  • Invited Lecture: Gendering the Male Experience: African American Men and the History of Masculinities. University of Mississippi, Oxford, MS., March 4, 2002.

  • Conference: Black Women Artists and Representations of Mammy and Aunt Jemima: an Essay in Visual Liberation. Twelfth Triennial Symposium on African Art, St. Thomas (April 2001).

  • Symposium: Selling Knowledge: Ebony Magazine and the Popularization of African American History, Comparative Black History Symposium, (Michigan State University, April 17-18, 1998).

  • Conference: Black Male Identity: Sam Cooke and the Romantic Tradition in Soul Music. Association for the Study of Afro-American Life and History, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania (October 1995).

  • Invited Panelist: Imagery and Ideology in Ethiopian Kingship, Tenth Triennial Symposium on African Art, New York City (April 1995).

  • Invited Panelist: Three Miniatures from 18th-19th Century Sawa: the Influence of Scroll Painting, 2nd International Conference on the History of Ethiopian Art. Nieborow, Poland (September 1990).


  • "Anna Murray Douglass -'The Mother of Cedar Hill': Photography and the Representation of 19th Century Black Women's Activism," in Imaging Frederick Douglas, Liverpool University Press, eds. Celeste Bernier and Bill Lawson, 2017.

  • Race, Representation, and Photography in 19th Century Memphis: from Slavery to Jim Crow. London: Ashgate Press, February, 2016.

  • Muralist Vertis Hayes & the LeMoyne Federal Art Center: African American Fine Arts in Memphis, Tennessee, 1930s-40s. Tennessee Historical Quarterly, (Summer 2014), pp. 132 - 59.

  • "Painting Ira Aldridge as Othello in James Northcote's 1827 Manchester Portrait," in Spectacles of Blackness: Representing Blacks in European Art of the Long Nineteenth Century, (London, Ashgate, 2014), pp. 105-123.

  • African Americans in Memphis. Charleston: Arcadia Publishing, 2009.

  • A Kingly Craft: Art and Leadership in Ethiopia: A Social History of Art and Visual Culture in Pre-modern Africa. Lanham: University Press of America, 2008.

  • "Nubia," Encyclopedia of the African Diaspora: Origins, Experience, Culture. Carole Boyce Davies, editor. Denver: ABC-CLIO, 2008.

  • "Songhay," Encyclopedia of Africa and the Americas, Richard M. Juang and Noelle Morrisette, eds. Denver: ABC-CLIO, 2008.

  • "Music and Community: WDIA and Black Radio Culture in Civil Rights Era Memphis." Tennessee Historical Quarterly, (Fall 2006).

  • "Artist, Alison Saar," in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, 2nd edition. Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Oxford University Press, May 2005.

  • "Artist, Bettye Saar," in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, 2nd edition. Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Oxford University Press, may 2005.

  • Contributor: African American Odyssey, Darlene Clark Hine, William C. Hine, Stanley Harold, eds. Prentice Hall, 2003.

  • Jenkins, Earnestine and Darlene Clark Hine, eds. A Question of Manhood: A Reader in U.S. Black Men's History and Masculinity, Vol. 2. Bloomington; Indiana University Press, May 2001.

  • "African American Boyhood," in Boyhood in America: An Encyclopedia. Priscilla Ferguson Clement and Jaqueline Reinier, eds. Denver: ABC-CLIO, November 2001.

  • Hine, Darlene Clark and Earnestine Jenkins, eds. A Question of Manhood: A Reader in U.S. Black Men's History and Masculinity, Vol. 1. Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 1999.

  • "Francis Kneeland." Reprint in Facts on File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America: Science, Health and Medicine. Vol.6. Darlene Clark Hine and Kathleen Thompson, Eds. Facts on File Inc., 1997.

  • "Julia Hooks." Reprint in Facts on File Encyclopedia of Black Women in America: The Early Years, 1619-1899. Vol. 1. Facts on File Inc., 1997.

  • A Glorious Past: Ancient Egypt, Ethiopia, and Nubia: Milestones in Black American History Series. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1994.

  • "Four miniatures from 18th-19th Century Sawa: An African Perspective," in Aspects of Ethiopian Art. Paul Henze, ed. London: The Jed Press, 1993.

  • "Francis Kneeland," in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Brooklyn, New York: Carlson Publishing, 1993.

  • "Julia Hooks," in Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia. Darlene Clark Hine, ed. Brooklyn, New York: Carlson Publishing, Inc., 1993.


  • 2016-2017: Ida B. Wells: Sharp as a Steel Trap: a Documentary on Ida B. Wells and the City of Memphis, produced by the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, University of Memphis. On this project I serve as a historical consultant and visual culture studies expert, particularly in the research and identification of historical photographs and images of the period.

  • 2016: Docent Training-Memphis Brooks Museum of Art
    Provide docent training for the re-installation and re-opening of the African exhibit as a result of the museum's 2016 renovations.

  • 2016: Memphis Heritage Trails Mural Urban Arts Project
    Provided the historical content incorporated into a mural illustrating early African American history and community development around the Beale Street area. The mural, conceptualized by artists Derrick Dent and Michael Roy, is painted on the Memphis Light Gas & Water garage at the corner of Main and Martin Luther King in downtown Memphis.

  • 2015-2016: Memphis Heritage Trails Research-History Committee
    I formed a research history group made up of faculty-scholars from University of Memphis and LeMoyne Owen College, as well as two graduate students from the Anthropology program to research and write didactic information that will be used for exhibits, historical markers, and artworks that will be put in place along the trail. The information will also be the basis for the website and brochure illustrating the African American history and community that created the Beale Street historic district. This project is linked to the demolition of Foote Homes, the last Public Housing development to be re-envisioned in Memphis.

  • 2012-2014: National Civil Rights Museum–SCHOLAR ADVISORY COMMITTEE
    In 2013 and 2014, the National Civil Rights Museum underwent a $27.5 million renovation to further support its mission of education, information and inspiration. Member of the 24-member national scholar review committee tasked with interpretive plan development and review of the exhibits' content. Also provided the content on African history, as well as material on the Jim Crow era in and Civil Rights in Memphis.

  • 2013-Digital Project: University of Memphis, Earnestine Jenkins Collection of Historical African American-African Diaspora Photographs
    Digital archive of African American Vernacular Photography from the 1880s until about the 1930s. This collection focuses on turn of the century images that portray African Americans celebrating their beauty and achievements. The collection includes historical images of the wider African Diaspora. From a global perspective, such images provide invaluable opportunities for interdisciplinary research that examines the camera and its historical relationship to capturing the 'likeness' of peoples of African descent. University Libraries Digital Repository, University of Memphis.

  • 2012: Duty of the Hour: a Documentary on the Life of and Times of Benjamin L. Hooks, produced by the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change, University of Memphis. Served as a historical consultant and researched photographs for use in the film.

  • 2011: Curator: Visual Arts of Africa-Art in the Land of Sundiata, Art Museum University of Memphis.

  • 2009: Curator: Early African American Photographers in Memphis, Jones Hall Gallery, University of Memphis, October 2009.

  • 2007: Curator: The Arts of Africa, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, Memphis, TN.


  • Esther Lezra. The Colonial Art of Demonizing Others: A Global Perspective, Routledge, 2014. Review for Journal of American Studies, Fall 2015.

  • Bernier, Celeste. Characters of Blood: Black Heroism in the Transatlantic Imagination. Charlottesville and London: University of Virginia Press, 2012. Review for Slavery and Abolition, Spring 2014.

  • "Welcome to the Court: the Diplomatic Self Preservation of King Menelik of Ethiopia," for Rutgers Art Review, an annual journal produced by graduate students in the Department of Art at Rutgers University, March, 2013.

  • Black, Samuel, and Reginia Williams. Through the Lens of Allen E. Cole: A Photographic History of African Americans in Cleveland, Ohio. Kent: Kent State University Press, 2012. Review for Journal of American Studies, 2013.

  • Frederick C. Moffat. The Life, Art, and Times of Joseph Delaney, 1904-1991. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 2009. Reviewed for Journal of Tennessee History, 2011.

  • Nancy Goldstein. Jackie Ormes: the First African American Woman Cartoonist. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press, 2008. Reviewed for American Studies Journal, Spring Issue, vol. 50:1, 2010.

  • Guest Editor, Number Magazine: special issue 'African American Art in Memphis,' 2009, Memphis, Tennessee.

  • Manuscript Evaluation: Jo-Ann Morgan. Uncle Tom's Cabin as Visual Culture. Columbia: University of Missouri Press, 2007.

  • Egypt in Africa, Theodore Celenko, ed., African Arts. (Summer 1998).

  • Transatlantic Slavery: Against Human Dignity, Anthony Tibbles, Editor, in African Arts. Vol. XXIX. No1, (Winter 1996).


  • Seminar: The Black Female Subject in Western Art & Visual Culture
  • Seminar: African American –Diaspora Photographic Culture
  • Seminar: African American-African Diaspora Cinema
  • Seminar: African Art & Museums: Exhibition and Display
  • Seminar: Readings in Modern and Contemporary African American Art
  • Seminar: Arts Slavery, Colonialism and Empire
  • Seminar: Race & Representation in African American Art
  • Seminar: Race & Gender in American Visual Culture
  • Visual Arts of Africa
  • African American Art
  • Social History of American Art
  • Traditional Arts of Africa, Oceania, and Native North America
  • World Art 2010: Survey/Ancient to Medieval
  • World Art 2020: Survey/Medieval to Modern
  • World Art 2030/Indigenous Arts and Visual Cultures
  • Art 1030: Introduction to Art

Seminars in the Africa-African American Studies Program

  • Black Men in United States History and American Culture
  • Black Memphis Heritage: Archives, Collections, and Material Culture