Kelly Lytle Hernández, professor of history and African American studies, has been named director of the UCLA Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, effective July 2019.
Lytle Hernández, one of the nation’s leading historians of race, policing, immigration and incarceration in the United States, has served as interim director of the center since the fall of 2017. Under her leadership, the center has focused on supporting research that focuses on two critical themes of life and struggle in the modern black world — work and justice.
The Bunche Center is home to Million Dollar Hoods, for which Lytle Hernández is the director and principal investigator. Million Dollar Hoods maps the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles.
“I am thankful and eager for the opportunity to direct the Bunche Center, which boasts a five-decade tradition of scholarly excellence and community engagement,” said Lytle Hernández, who holds the Thomas E. Lifka Chair in History at UCLA. “In the years ahead, I will continue to invest in this tradition by working with our faculty, staff and students to lift up new research dedicated not just to the study of Black life but to improving the conditions of Black life, locally, nationally and globally.”
Her appointment comes during the 50th anniversary of UCLA’s Institute of American Cultures.
“Professor Lytle Hernández not only brings innovation, vision and a dynamic program of research to the Bunche Center, but also a collaborative spirit that links students, staff and faculty colleagues with community partners around the most pressing issues of our times,” said David Yoo, vice provost of the UCLA Institute of American Cultures.
Lytle Hernández is the author of the award-winning books, “MIGRA! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol” and “City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles.”
The Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies, founded in 1969 as the Center for Afro-American Studies, was renamed after Nobel Prize winner, scholar, activist and UCLA alumnus Ralph J. Bunche in 2003, in commemoration of the centenary of his birth.