With Ericka Huggins, “Women in the Black Freedom Party,” March 3, 2016, at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. Photographer: Terrence Jennings.

Mary Frances Phillips is a proud native of Detroit, Michigan. She is an  Associate Professor in the Department of Africana Studies at Lehman College, City University of New York. Her research areas include the Modern Black Freedom Struggle, Black Women’s Studies, and Black Feminism. She was selected as a 2021-2022 award recipient for a faculty fellowship with the Institute for Advanced Study at the University of Notre Dame and the American Association of University Women Postdoctoral Research Leave Fellowship in 2018-2019. Her book manuscript, Black Panther Woman: The Political and Spiritual Life of Ericka Huggins (forthcoming with New York University Press, January 2025), is the first and only biography on Ericka Huggins and documents the previously untold story of her early life and career in the Black Panther Party. The heart of her book excavates Huggins’ day-to-day experience and acts of political dissent during confinement.

She has published journal articles in SOULS: A Critical Journal of Black Politics, Culture, and Society, the Women’s Studies Quarterly, the Western Journal of Black StudiesSpectrum: A Journal on Black Men, and the Syllabus Journal. Outside of the academy, her essays have been featured in the Huffington Post, Ms. Magazine’s blog, New Black Man (in Exile)ColorlinesVibe Magazine, Black Youth Project, and the African American Intellectual Society’s blog, Black PerspectivesHer work has garnered media attention in TIME Magazine, the New-York Historical Museum & Library Women at the Center blog series, the Detroit Free PressBronxNet Cable Television; Bronx News 12; WBAI Pacifica Radio, New York City; and WNPR, Connecticut Public RadioShe earned a Ph.D. in African American and African Studies from Michigan State University, an MA in African American and African Studies from The Ohio State University, and her B.S. in Health Studies from Michigan State University.