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History at UCM

Understanding today's complex world and seeking the best vision for tomorrow.

M.A. in History at UCM

Explore the depths of history and discover new ways to think about the past.

Social Studiesat UCM

Explore innovative techniques and proven methods for a career in education.

Africana Studies at UCM

Discover multicultural contributions throughout history and inspire change.

Anthropology at UCM

Contribute to the rich diversity of the rapidly changing world.


Dr. Delia C. Gillis

Professor of History

Director, Center of Africana Studies


Image of Delia Gillis.


Office: Wood Hall 136J and Center of Africana Studies Wood 110

Office Phone: (660) 543-8726/8620




Ph.D. in History, University of Missouri (1996)

M.A. in History, University of Central Missouri (1992)

B.S. in Business & Management, University of Maryland (1988)


Professional Experience and Honors

Editorial Advisory Board, Gateway Heritage Magazine

Editorial Advisory Board, A Turbulent Voyage: Readings in African American Studies (Rowan & Littlefield)

Africana Studies Area Chair, Southwest Texas Popular Culture and American Culture Associations 2006-7

President, Missouri Conference on History, 2006

Chair, Lorraine Williams Leadership Award, Association of Black Women Historians, 2003-4

Midwestern Regional Director, Association of Black Women Historians, 2000-2

Missouri Conference on History, Book Awards Committee, 2001

Alternate for Electronic Media Arts Panel, Missouri Arts Council 2000-

National Secretary, Association of Black Women Historians, 1997-99

Chancellor's Gus T. Ridgel Fellowship, 1992-96

Lorenzo J. Greene Scholar's Award, 1993

Stephens History Fellowship, 1992-93


Selected Grants, Honors, & Awards

Member, Board of Directors, Wornall/Majors House Museum, 2015-Present

Project Director, Created Equal: America's Civil Rights Struggle, National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)/Gilder Lehrman Institute for American History, 2013-15

President, Kansas City Book Lovers Club, 2011-13

Member, Board of Directors, Black Archives of Mid-America, 2009-Present




20th Century African American History, African American Women & Girls, African American Education, South Africa, African American Film History, African American Biography, African American Public History, Online & Service Learning, 20th Century U.S. History


Courses Taught

Senior Capstone in History, Spring 2016

Jamaica Study Tour, Summer 2016

United States History Since 1877

Introduction to Africana Studies

Slavery & Freedom

Religion & Slavery

The Civil Rights Movement

African American Women, Gender & Girlhood

African History

The African Diaspora

History of South Africa

Graduate Colloquium: African Americans & World War I

Politics & Social Justice of Diaster: From Hurricane Katrina to Hurricane Sandy



Selected Publications

2016 De Anna J. Reese and Delia Cook Gillis, "Sapphires Gone Wild: The Politics of Black Women's Respectability in the Age of the Mean Girl," Evil Women and Mean Girls: Critical Examinations of the Fairer Sex's Nasty Side in History, Literature, and Popular Culture, edited by Lynne Fallwell and Keira V. Williams, Texas Tech University Press (forthcoming).


2015 Book Review of Backwater Blues: The Mississippi Flood of 1927 in the African American Imagination in the Journal of American Studies (forthcoming)


2015 Book Review of Race and Meaning: The African American Experience on Missouri, in the Journal of Southern History (forthcoming)


2012 "African-Americans 1976-Present" and "Colin Powell," Minorities in the U.S. Military, ABC-Clio (edited by Dr. Alex M. Bielakowski) (Janaury, 2013).


2011 Honoring our Past: A Living Legacy for Our Children, Missouri Passageways, Missouri Humanities Council News, March 2011 vol. 9, no 2


2008 "Winnie Mandela," Encyclopedia of The African Diaspora, edited by Carol Boyce Davies, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO


2008 "Ida B. Wells," and "National Council of Negro Women," Encyclopedia of Women and American Politics, edited by Lynne Ford, New York: Facts on File



2007 Delia C. Gillis, Kansas City, Black America Series, Chicago: Arcadia Publishing


2006 Delia C. Gillis & Keana Jarvis, "Truth in Black Ink: Lucile Bluford's Call to Pen for Black Feminist Activism," Jackson County Historical Society Journal, Fall


2006 "Black Business Development in Missouri," Encyclopedia of African American Business, edited by Jessie Carney Smith, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006), 58-62.

2005 "Agricultural Adjustment Act," Encyclopedia of the Great Black Migration edited by Steven A.  Reich, (Westport, CT: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2006), 6-8.

2005 "African Americans & World War I," United States at War: Understanding Conflict & Society, edited by Spencer Tucker, Santa Barbara, CA: ABC-CLIO 2006 Best Software in High School (BESSIE) - Social Studies Website - ComputEd Gazette.

2005 Review, American Jazz Museum, The Public Historian, (The National Council on Public History & the University of California Press, Volume 27, No. 4, 107-111.


Selected Media Appearances

Focused Exhibition Celebrates Civil Rights Movement: History & Hope at the Nelson Atkins Museum

We are Kansas City: America I Am- The African American Imprint Exhibit, Union Station, Kansas City

Community Curator, Ollie Ollison & The Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters, Kansas City Museum at Union Station

Learning Through Discovery, UCM Today