Dr. Chavis is a historian and museum educator whose work focuses on the history of racial violence and civil rights activism and Black and Jewish relations in the American South, and the ways in which the historical understandings of racial violence and civil rights activism can inform current and future approaches to peacebuilding and conflict resolution throughout the world. His areas of specialization includes Civil Rights oral history, historical consciousness, and racial violence and reconciliation. He has received over twenty-five grants, awards and fellowships from organizations including, the Robert M. Bell Center for Civil Rights in Education, Knapp Family Foundation, American Jewish Archives, The National Museum of African American History and Culture, National Trust for Historic Preservation, National Park Service, and the American Historical Association.
His current project, (In) Visible Stories: Salvaging Untold Histories of Marginalized Communities, is an intergenerational oral history curriculum project focusing on the personal meaning that is found within marginalized communities. The first phase of this project focuses on Baltimore, Maryland focusing on the intersections of history, memory, and identity in the life of Baltimore youth. The collaborators see the collective memory of racial violence, politics and civil rights, as being central to combating racism and inequality within the United States education system.
Professor Chavis has published more than twenty-five refereed articles, reference articles, essays, reviews, op-editorials, chapters and government reports and is author of the upcoming book, “‘Maryland, My Maryland’: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Racism in the Free State” and editor of For the Sake of Peace: Africana Perspectives on Racism, Justice, and Peace in America(Rowman & Littlefield, 2019).