African American & Women's History

Lauranett Lee

Visiting Lecturer and Public Historian Lauranett Lee is available to comment on topics around African American and women’s history. Lee has more than 15 years of experience working in museums, consulting with community organizations, and serving on boards and commissions to ensure diverse historical interpretations are inclusive and respectful.

“I am a Virginian, and oftentimes when I speak I do mention that because Virginia has been known as the ‘Mother of Presidents,’” Lee said. “We think of Virginia and the landscapes, and the built environment, but we don’t think about the history that parallels those landscapes and that presidential history. That history includes slavery. It’s not a history that we want to think about. It’s not something that people are taught about, but it’s something that we need to know, because when you look at what is going on in society today, you see the legacies of slavery still impacting people from the womb to the tomb.”

Lee was the founding curator of African-American history at the Virginia Historical Society (2001-2016). In 2011, she worked with a team of colleagues at the Virginia Museum of History and Culture to launch a genealogical tool called Unknown No Longer: A Database of Virginia Slave Names.

She has also been co-chair of UR’s Presidential Commission for University History and Identity. Part of the commission’s work was recommending ways to deepen the shared understanding of UR’s complex past and its implications for fostering a more inclusive future. Lee also serves as an advisor to the Burial Ground Memorialization Committee, which is engaging the campus and broader community, in particular descendant communities, in a dialogue on how to memorialize the enslaved burial ground located on what is now UR’s campus, as well as the history of the land. 

Contact director of media and public relations Sunni Brown at to connect with Lee.