Patricia Williams Lessane is the Executive Director of the College of Charleston’s Avery Research Center for African American History and Culture. Dr. Williams Lessane is a cultural anthropologist whose focus areas include Pan African religious identity, Black feminist theory, and representations of Black life in popular culture. She earned a BA in English from Fisk University, a MALS from Dartmouth College, and a PhD in Anthropology from University of Illinois at Chicago. Before joining The College of Charleston, she was a faculty member at Roosevelt University, and a consultant for The Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago.

Since her arrival to Charleston in 2010, Dr. Lessane has emerged as a progressive and trusted voice in discussing race relations in the city. She has been featured on NPR, BBC, and in the New York Times, giving scholarly context to some of our most pressing issues. She is also currently co-executive producing a Julie Dash film on native South Carolinian Vertamae Grosvenor and her contributions to several key literary, cultural, and culinary movements of the twentieth century. Additionally, Dr. Lessane is writing a young adult novel that touches on race and class.

Patricia Lessane Named Director of Avery Research Center