News Article

National Archives Foundation Announces Three Awardees for Third Annual Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellowship

August 2, 2023

Ashley D. Farmer, Rebecca Brenner Graham, and Arlisha R. Norwood Selected as Awardees

WASHINGTON D.C.—The National Archives Foundation, the nonprofit partner of the National Archives and Records Administration, announces the selection of the 2023 Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellowship. Ashley D. Farmer, Ph.D., Rebecca Brenner Graham, Ph.D., and Arlisha R. Norwood, Ph.D. were selected as the third annual Cokie Roberts Women’s History Fellows and will each receive $7,000 along with support of their research projects at the National Archives.

Thirty-three applicants proposed a diverse array of research topics, including an examination of the petitions of Black women to the Freedmen’s Bureau court; the rise and fall of the FBI’s counterintelligence program through government surveillance of Black women activists, organizers, and allies; and the immigration policy of Frances Perkins, who was the first female cabinet secretary and the longest-serving Secretary of Labor in U.S. history.

“Through their impressive and imaginative work, Ashley Farmer, Rebecca Graham, and Arlisha Norwood are discovering something Cokie knew firsthand: the National Archives is an invaluable treasure trove of American women’s stories,” says Rebecca Boggs Roberts, a writer of women’s history and Cokie Roberts’ daughter. “I am pleased this fellowship will help them follow Cokie’s example and make their deep, rigorous research accessible to a broad audience.”

The fellowship is supported by the Foundation’s Cokie Roberts Research Fund for Women’s History, which was launched in 2019 to honor the noted author and journalist Cokie Roberts, who spent her career shining light on the stories of countless women in U.S. history that were previously unknown to the public. Roberts served as a board member of the Foundation for nearly 20 years. The fund was established in her honor and encourages new research at the National Archives in the field of women’s history.

“Telling women’s stories is a critical component of studying American history,” said Archivist of the United States Dr. Colleen Shogan. “Dr. Farmer, Dr. Graham, and Dr. Norwood each has demonstrated a commitment to shedding light on the crucial, but often unacknowledged, role women played in our nation’s history.”

Dr. Ashley D. Farmer is a historian of Black women’s history, intellectual history, and radical politics and an associate professor in the Departments of History and African and African Diaspora Studies at the University of Texas at Austin. She is the author of Remaking Black Power: How Black Women Transformed an Era and the forthcoming biography Queen Mother Audley Moore: Mother of Black Nationalism. Farmer’s scholarship has appeared in numerous venues, including The Black Scholar and The Journal of African American History. Her research has also been featured in several popular outlets, including Harper’s Bazaar, NPR, and the Washington Post. She will be using the National Archives to complete her next book, Gendering Surveillance: African American Women Activists and the FBI.

Rebecca Brenner Graham is the author of Dear Miss Perkins: A Story of Frances Perkins’s Efforts to Aid Refugees from Nazi Germany, forthcoming from Kensington in February 2025. She is a history teacher at the Madeira School and an adjunct professorial lecturer at American University. She holds a Ph.D. in history and an M.A. in public history from American University and a B.A. in history and philosophy from Mount Holyoke College. Her writing has been published in the Washington Post, Slate, and the Los Angeles Review of Books.

Arlisha R. Norwood is an assistant professor of history at the University of Maryland Eastern Shore. Her research focuses on 19th-century African American history with an emphasis on Black women and the Civil War. Specifically, her work examines single African American women in the Civil War and post-Civil War eras. Her research has been supported by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Virginia Humanities. She earned a B.A. in history from Dillard University, an M.A in history from Texas Southern University, and a Ph.D. in history from Howard University.

In addition to the Fellows, two finalists have been selected as Cokie Roberts Women’s History Commended Scholars, each receiving $1,000 to support their research. Dr. M. Alison Kibler is studying feminist television activism in the 1970s, and Dr. Ashley Preston is researching Mary McLeod Bethune and the Roosevelt administration.

The Fellows’ research projects will be featured in a National Archives News article, and in National Archives public programs hosted in the William G. McGowan Theater at the National Archives Museum or online through National Archives and Foundation channels.


About the National Archives Foundation
The National Archives Foundation is an independent nonprofit that increases public awareness of the National Archives, inspires a deeper appreciation of our country’s heritage, and encourages citizen engagement in our democracy. The Foundation generates financial and creative support for National Archives’ exhibitions, public programs, and educational initiatives, introducing America’s records to people around the U.S. and the world. Learn more at

About the National Archives
The National Archives is an independent federal agency that serves American democracy by safeguarding and preserving our government’s records so people can discover, use, and learn from this documentary heritage. The National Archives ensures continuing access to the essential documentation of the rights of American citizens and the actions of their government. From the Declaration of Independence to accounts of ordinary Americans, the holdings of the National Archives directly touch the lives of millions of people. The National Archives carries out its mission through a nationwide network of archives, records centers, and Presidential Libraries and on the Internet at