Bernadette Pruit, Ph.D.

Associate Professor


Ph.D., History, University of Houston, 2001

M.A., History, Texas Southern University, 1991

B.A., Journalism with a History Minor, Texas Southern University, 1989


Detroit, Michigan, native Bernadette Pruitt is associate professor of history and has been a member of the Department of History since 1996. She teaches classes on race and ethnicity, internal migrations, slavery, Recent United States history, and the African Diaspora. The first Black woman to earn a PhD in History from the University of Houston, she obtained her undergraduate and master’s degrees from HBCU Texas Southern University. The teacher-mentor is also an accomplished scholar. Her monograph, The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900-1941 (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2013), examines Black internal migration and community building in what ultimately becomes the fourth largest city in the United States. Pruitt’s book is one of the first scholarly attempts to address the Great Migrations within the South. The scholar has won several awards, including the 2014 Ottis Lock Superb Book Award with the East Texas Historical Association (ETHA). She is also the past recipient of other awards and fellowships including the University of Illinois at Chicago African American Studies Department postdoctoral fellowship, Huggins-Quarles Award with the Organization of American Historians (OAH), the University of Houston African American Studies Dissertation Fellowship, the Ima Hogg Scholarship with the Dolph-Briscoe Center for American History at the University of Texas at Austin, and the Fred White Jr. and Mary M. Hughes Research Fellowships in Texas History with the Texas State Historical Association. An engaged activist scholar, the historian currently serves as a member for the OAH Committee on the Status of Women in the Historical Profession and is past chair of the 2015 Darlene Clark Hine Book Prize Committee, also with the OAH. She also serves on the Ottis Locke Prize Committee with the ETHA as well as a past ETHA board member. The co-advisor of the Sigma Phi Chapter of Phi Alpha Theta National History Honor Society, Pruitt has also served on the National Advisory Board and National Council of the honor society.



HIST 1301 United States History to 1877

HIST 1302 United States History since 1877

HIST 3378 Recent United States History since 1877

HIST 3379 Contemporary United States History since 1945

HIST 3389 African History

HIST 3393 African-American History since the Civil War

HIST 4333 The History of the Black Civil Rights Movement

HIST 4363 American Slavery


HIST 5340 Recent African American History since 1877

HIST 5374 Recent American History, 1877-1933

HIST 5375 Contemporary America since 1933

HIST 5097 Texas Legal Controversies: The Long Civil Rights Movement

HIST 5097 American Slavery

HIST 5397 The History of the Black Civil Rights Movement

Selected Publications

The Other Great Migration: The Movement of Rural African Americans to Houston, 1900–1941. Sam Rayburn Series on Rural Life. College Station: Texas A. & M. University Press, 2013.

“The Hayes of Third Ward: Community Building during the Great Migration to Houston, 1900-1941,” Houston History Magazine 13, no. 2 (2015): 8-12, 46,   

“In Search of Freedom: Black Migration to Houston, 1914-1945.” In The Houston Review of History and Culture 3, no. 1 (Fall 2005): 48-57, 85-86.

“For the Advancement of the Race: African-American Migration to Houston, 1914-1941.” In The Journal of Urban History 31, no 4 (May 2005): 435-78.

Bernadette Pruitt, Caryn Newman, and Katrina Hamilton. “Seven Schoolteachers Challenge the Klan and Form Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority,” in Black Greek Letter Organizations: Our Fight Has Just Begun, ed., Gregory S. Parks, 125-40. Lexington: University Press of Kentucky, 2008.

In Search of Freedom: Black Migration to Houston