UMass Boston

Meet the Team

Trotter Director

Hettie V. Williams, Ph.D.

faculty/institute director headshot

Dr. Hettie Williams is the new director of the William Monroe Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture. Dr. Williams is a renowned scholar who comes to us from Monmouth University in New Jersey, where she served as a professor of African American History in the Department of History and Anthropology. Her research focuses on African American intellectual history, Black women’s history, and race/ethnic studies. Currently serving as the president of the African American Intellectual History Society (AAIHS), Dr. Williams is the author/editor of seven books and numerous essays, articles, and book chapters. She is an active leader in the production of digital humanities projects and has extensive experience engaging with local communities while making her scholarly contributions more widely accessible through the innovative use of social media and podcasts. Dr. Williams earned her Ph.D. in History and Culture from Drew University, an M.A. in History from Monmouth University, and a B.A. in History from Rowan University.

Trotter Advisory Board

michael johnson

Michael Johnson – (Co-Chair) Michael P. Johnson is professor in the Department of Public Policy and Public Affairs at the University of Massachusetts Boston. His research addresses decision models for nonprofit organizations and government agencies. His primary application areas include affordable and assisted housing, community development, climate change response, and diversity, equity and inclusion in the decision sciences. Prof. Johnson has supervised multiple Trotter Institute projects since January 2022. He is past co-president of the UMass Boston Black Faculty Staff and Student Association. He is current co-chair of the McCormack Graduate School Racial Equity Task Force and directs the Master in Public Administration program. He has authored and/or edited six books and journal volumes, and published over 50 peer-reviewed journal articles, book chapters and conference proceedings. 

Mickaella Perina – (Co-Chair)  Mickaella L. Perina is Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Massachusetts Boston. Her areas of research are political and legal philosophy, critical philosophy of race, Caribbean Philosophy, Aesthetics, and the philosophy of Human Rights. Her main research interests include liberal democracy theory and politics of exclusion; race, identity, and political membership; and remembering/forgetting with reference to public memory and counter-memories. She is the author of Citoyenneté et Sujétion aux Antilles Francophones, Post-Esclavage et Aspiration Démocratique and numerous articles and book chapters. She is a co-organizer of the annual California Roundtable on Philosophy and Race and a Series editor for Africana Philosophy with Bloomsbury Introductions to World Philosophies.

William Trotter Institute’s Advisory Board

The advisory board includes UMass Boston faculty, staff, students, and administrators, as well as members of community-based organizations. The transition committee had three primary tasks. The first was to lead the process of selecting a permanent director of the Trotter Institute, which it did with Dr. Hettie Williams. The second task is to lead the process of selecting a senior staff member to support grant-writing, communications, and collaboration with other CANALA centers and institutes (Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy; Institute for Asian American Studies; Institute for New England Native American Studies). The third task is to develop goals and action steps regarding the Trotter Institute’s scholarly agenda, staffing, governance, and community engagement. This institutional knowledge will support the successful onboarding of institute staff and the development of a full portfolio of activities.


Advisory Board Members:

  • Nada Ali , Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, UMass Boston
  • L'Merchie Frazier , Museum of African American History/Boston
  • Yvonne Gomes-Santos , Trotter Institute for the Study of Black Culture, UMass Boston
  • Nedra Lee,  Department of Anthropology, UMass Boston
  • Atyia Martin, All Aces, Inc. 
  • Chidimma Ozor Commer,   School of Global Inclusion and Social Development, UMass Boston
  • Denise Patmon , Office of Faculty Development; College of Education and Human Development, UMass Boston
  • Lorna Rivera, Mauricio Gastón Institute for Latino Community Development and Public Policy; Department of Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies, UMass Boston
  • Tony Vandermeer, Department of Africana Studies, UMass Boston
  • Joel Jaquez , King Boston
  • Research Assistant: Nicholas H. Johnson
    Nicholas is a doctoral candidate in the Global Inclusion and Social Development program. His dissertation is focused on researching the political ecologies of Indigenous & African Diaspora communities, and their correlation to collective self-determination. Nick’s praxis for racial equity work is rooted in his ongoing as a restorative justice facilitator. He is the founder of Culturally Rooted Reformations, partners with others on racial equity, ecological, and relational projects, and is a board member of the Boston-based non-profit Voices For Liberation.
  • Faculty Associates/Research Fellows:
    • Jorge Capetillo-Ponce, Associate Professor of Sociology, UMass Boston
    • Glenn Jacobs, Associate Professor of Sociology, UMass Boston
    • Richard (Chi-Kan) Hung, Assistant Professor of Human Services, UMass Boston
    • Marisol Negron, Assistant Professor of American Studies, UMass Boston
    • Aminah Pilgrim, Assistant Professor of Africana Studies, UMass Boston
    • Shirley Tang, Associate Professor of American Studies, UMass Boston
    • Tim Sieber, Professor of Anthropology, UMass Boston
    • Carolyn Wong, Research Associate, Institute for Asian American Studies, UMass Boston

William Monroe Trotter Institute

100 Morrissey Boulevard
Boston, MA 02125-3393