About the speaker

Niya Bates is a native of Charlottesville, Virginia and a two-time graduate of the University of Virginia with degrees in Architectural History and African and African American Studies. She is Director of African American History at Thomas Jefferson’s Monticello, where she leads the Getting Word African American Oral History Project. As a public historian at Monticello, Niya is responsible for engaging local and national audiences in conversations about slavery and its legacies. She aided in the development of several new exhibitions at Monticello including “Getting Word” and “The Life of Sally Hemings” and is leading efforts to memorialize Monticello’s enslaved community. Her research focuses on race, cultural landscapes, slavery and freedom. She is currently serving on the boards of Preservation Piedmont and the Jefferson School African American Heritage Center. She is a member of the President’s Commission on UVA in the Age of Segregation and an advisor for the UVA Landscapes Studies. In 2017, she published an article titled “Race and Architectural History: An Appeal” in Arris: Journal of the Southeast Chapter of the Society of Architectural Historians.

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