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Dr. Violet M. Johnson

Dr. Violet M. Johnson

Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Excellence and Development and Professor of History

Office Number: 253C / 328B
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Dr. Violet Showers Johnson is senior associate dean for faculty excellence and development and professor of history in the Division of Arts and Sciences. She is also professor in the Department of History, College of Arts and Sciences, Texas A&M University, College Station. Her administrative responsibilities include working with program chairs and faculty to develop and implement policies and regulations pertaining to faculty annual evaluation, promotion, and reappointment; and overseeing initiatives for faculty mentorship and professional development. Dr. Johnson also oversees Faculty Affairs while facilitating faculty contributions to QF’s multiversity efforts and flagship initiatives. 

Born in Lagos, Nigeria, and raised in Nigeria and Sierra Leone, West Africa, Dr. Johnson received her Bachelor of Arts, with honors in history, from Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, and her Master’s in history from the University of New Brunswick, Canada. In 1985, she went to the United States on a Fulbright scholarship to pursue her Ph.D. in history. In 1992, she accepted the position of assistant professor of history at Agnes Scott College, a liberal arts college for women, in Atlanta, Georgia. At Agnes Scott College, Dr. Johnson received tenure, was promoted to associate professor and professor, and served in administrative positions, including inaugural director of the Africana Studies Program, chair of the Department of History, and inaugural faculty director of the Women’s Global Leadership Center. After twenty years at Agnes Scott College, she moved to Texas A&M University in 2012 to begin her positions as director of Africana Studies and professor of history. In 2017, she was appointed associate dean for faculty in the College of Liberal Arts, a position she held until August 2022.

An award-winning teacher of US immigration history, African American history, and the history of the African diaspora, Dr. Johnson has taught at four institutions of higher learning—Fourah Bay College, Agnes Scott College, Spelman College, and Texas A&M University. She has authored and co-authored articles and books on the experiences of immigrants of African descent in America. Straddling Afro-Caribbean and African immigration to America, her publications, presentations, and professional service have contributed to the advancement of the historical focus on the Black immigrant experience, an understudied area in American history. She has served as president of the Collegium for African American Research (CAAR), a major international black studies professional organization based in Europe, and as a longtime member of the Editorial Board of the Journal of American Ethnic History.

Research and Teaching Interests:

  • U.S. immigration history
  • Afro-Caribbean and African immigrants in 20th-Century America
  • African American history (post-Reconstruction)
  • History of the African Diaspora


  • Ph.D. in U.S. history (secondary field—Africa and the African Diaspora), Boston College, 1992
  • M.A. in history, University of New Brunswick, Canada, 1983
  • B.A. (Honours in history), Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone, 1979
  • Intensive Spanish for Advanced Beginners, Middlebury College, 1995


  • October 2022-present, Senior Associate Dean for Faculty Development, and Professor of History, Texas A&M University, Qatar
  • September 2012-present, Professor, Department of History, Texas A&M University
  • August 2017-October 2022, Associate Dean for Faculty, College of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University
  • September 2012-August 2017, Director, Africana Studies Program, College of Liberal Arts, Texas A&M University
  • August 1992-May 2012, Agnes Scott College, Department of History (Assistant Professor, 1992-1998; Associate Professor, 1998-2005; Professor, 2005-2012)
  • August 2002-May 2007, Chair, Department of History, Agnes Scott College
  • July 2008 to May 2010, Director, Women’s Global Leadership Center, Agnes Scott College
  • August 1995- May 2002, Director, Africana Studies Program, Agnes Scott College
  • Spring 2001, Part-time Associate Professor of History, Spelman College
  • January 1983-July 1985, Lecturer, Department of Modern History, Fourah Bay College, University of Sierra Leone



Co-edited with Gundolf Graml and Patricia Williams Lessane, Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles: Critical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging and Civil Rights (Liverpool University Press, 2018)

With Marilyn Halter, African & American: West Africans in Post-Civil Rights America (NYU Press, 2014)

Co-edited with Isabel Soto, Western Fictions, Black Realities: Meanings of Blackness and Modernities (Lit Verlag and Michigan State University Press, 2011)

The Other Black Bostonians: West Indians in Boston, 1900-1950 (Indiana University Press, 2006)



“In Pursuit of the Boundary: Cricket in Boston’s West Indian community, 1900-1950,” in African Americans in Boston Sports: Essays on History, Race, and Representation, edited by Robert Cvornyek and Doug Stark (University of Nebraska Press, forthcoming Spring 2023)

“The Black Presence in U.S. Immigration History,” in A Nation of Immigrants Reconsidered: The U.S. in an Age of Restriction, 1924-1965, edited by Maria Cristina Garcia, Madeline Hsu and Maddalena Marinari (University of Illinois Press, 2019), 273-283

“When Blackness Stings: African and Afro-Caribbean Immigrants, Race, and Racism in Late-Twentieth-Century America,” Journal of American Ethnic History, Vol. 36, No.1 (2016): 31-62.

“Meddling in the American Dilemma: Examining Race, Migrations and Identities from an Africana Transnational Perspective,” in Ethnic Historians and the Mainstream: Shaping America’s Immigration Story, edited by Alan M. Kraut and David A. Gerber (Rutgers University Press, 2013), 157-174

“Recreating Sustainable Communities in Exile: Leadership Roles of Sierra Leonean Refugee and Internally Displaced Women in Freetown, London, and Atlanta, The international Journal of Environmental, Cultural, and social sustainability, Vol. 5, No. 5 (2009): 287-300

“‘What, Then, is the African American?’ African and Afro-Caribbean Identities in Black America,” Journal of American Ethnic History, Vol. 28, No. 1 (2008): 77-103