Sheri Ann Huerta

Sheri Ann Huerta

Sheri Ann Huerta

Adjunct Faculty

African American history, U.S. South; Enslavement and Freedom; World History; Legal History; Gender and Identity; Transatlantic World; History, Memory, and the Public

Sheri Ann Huerta holds a PhD in History from George Mason University specializing in the antebellum South, slavery, legal history and social culture. Her dissertation, "'A Great Uneasiness In Our County': Slavery and Its Influence on Family and Community Stability in Northern Virginia, 1782-1860," compares the dynamics of control, resistance, and adaptation to enslavement experienced in Fauquier, Loudoun, and Prince William counties.

The Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning recognized Dr. Huerta with the Adjunct Faculty Teaching Excellence Award in 2022.

Dr. Huerta was also recognized as a Teacher of Distinction in 2019.

Dr. Huerta teaches courses that explore the history of enslavement; the constructs of race, gender and identity in American culture; and critical thinking about the role of the past in today's world.

Dr. Huerta is a frequent public speaker on the history of enslavement and enslaved people in northern Virginia.

She currently serves as a Faculty Writing Fellow for GMU's Faculty Writing Communityhosting the Women's Accountability Writing Group on Friday mornings and organizing campus writing retreats.

Since 2020 she has served as Treasurer on the Executive Council of the Southern Association for Women Historians.

Current Research

Dr. Huerta studies the lived experiences of freed and enslaved persons in Virginia. Her current projects include researching the life and legacy of Agnes, a woman who, despite her enslavement to the Mason family, resisted against the control of her labor and body. Dr. Huerta is also exploring the degrees of freedoms and negotiated quasi-freedoms created and experienced by free and enslaved persons in Virginia despite the presence of legal obstacles to residency and limited financial opportunities. This research is funded in part by an Omohundro Institute - National Endowment for the Humanities ARP Research Fellowship awarded in 2022. She is also constructing a dataset of over 3,500 enslaved people found in Fauquier County, Virginia probate records for the Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade project at as part of two NEH-funded grants received in 2023.

Selected Publications

Review of Jan Ellen Lewis, Family, Slavery, and Love in the Early American Republic: The Essays of Jan Ellen Lewis. H-Early-America, H-Net Reviews. January, 2023.URL:

Review of Kimberly M. Welch, Black Litigants in the Antebellum American South. The Historian December 2018, p. 809-810.

Review of H. G. Jones, with David Southern, Miss Mary's Money: Fortune and Misfortune in a Carolina Plantation Family, 1760-1924. North Carolina Historical Review, July 2015, p. 338-339.

Review of Heather Andrea Williams, Help Me to Find My People: The African American Search for Family Lost in Slavery. H-SAWH, H-Net Reviews. January, 2015.

Review of Katy Simpson Smith, We Have Raised All of You: Motherhood in the South, 1750-1835. North Carolina Historical Review, July 2014, p. 360-361.

Grants and Fellowships

NEH Grant funding for producing the dataset "Valuing Enslaved Lives in Fauquier County, Virginia, 1799-1865" with Enslaved: Peoples of the Historical Slave Trade, Fall 2023-Spring 2024

NEH Funded Summer Institute Selected Participant - Data-Informed Methods for Slavery Studies, Summer, 2023

Omohundro Institute - National Endowment for the Humanities ARP Research Fellowship, 2022

Inclusive Excellence Curriculum Revision Team Grant, George Mason University, 2022 

Mason 4VA OER Grant Recipient for course redesign using Open Education Resources, 2018.

Provost Award, George Mason University, 2014-2015.

Provost Travel Award, George Mason University, 2014.

Andrew W. Mellon Fellow, Virginia Historical Society, Richmond, VA, 2014.

Josephine Pacheco Award for Best Graduate Research Paper, George Mason University, 2010.

Randy Beth Clarke Fellowship, for studies in antebellum southern and women's history,  George Mason University, 2010.



Courses Taught

Upcoming Courses - Spring 2024

  • HNRS 240: Reading the Past: Slavery and Freedom in Virginia (Honors College)

George Mason University

  • HIST 615: Slavery in American History and Memory (CEHD)
  • HIST 499: Senior History Research Seminar - Slavery in the 19th Century US (CHSS)
  • HIST 300: Intro to Research Methods: Slavery and Memory (CHSS)
  • HIST 300: Intro to Research Methods: Slavery and Resistance in Virginia (CHSS)
  • HNRS 240: Reading the Past - Gender in American Culture (Honors College)
  • HNRS 240: Reading the Past - Slavery and Freedom in Virginia (Honors College)
  • HNRS 131: Race, Gender, and Culture in Disney's World (Honors College)
  • HNRS 130: Identity, Community, and Difference - Identity in Disney's World (Honors College)
  • HIST 125: Introduction to World History (CHSS)

George Mason University - INTO

  • INYO 501: Graduate Transition for International Students I

Northern Virginia Community College

  • Western Civilization I



PhD, History, George Mason University

Master of Arts, U. S. History, George Mason University

Master of Science, Education with Teaching License, Old Dominion University

Bachelor of Arts, German, University of Northern Iowa

Recent Presentations

"'To petition for redress of Grievances': Emancipation, Birthrights, and Black Political Activism in Virginia’s General Assembly and County Courts, 1806-1820," Society for Historians of the Early American Republic Conference, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, July 2023.

"'Whether the Letter of the Law shall be rigidly enforced': Virginia’s 1806 Expulsion Law and Resistance to the Criminalization of Free(d) Black Residency," Virginia Forum Conference, Shepherd University, Shepherdstown, West Virginia, March 17, 2023.

"Enslaved Resistance and Resilience in Fairfax County," Invited Speaker, Sully Historic Site Black History Month Lecture Series, Sully Historic Site, Fairfax County, Virginia, February 12, 2023.

"Co-Creating Belongingness: Affirming Student Voice and Ways of Knowing," with Tianna Cobb, PhD, Rose Cherubin, PhD, Sharon Doetsch-Kidder, PhD, and Jennifer R. Warren, PhD, Innovations in Teaching and Learning Conference, Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, George Mason University, September 30, 2022. 

“‘Without Lawful Permission to Remain’: Virginia’s 1806 Removal Act and Its Effects on Free(d) Black Residency,” British Group of Early American Historians Conference, Cardiff, Wales, UK, September 2, 2022.

“‘If we were compelled to leave the State’: Resistance to Black Residency Restrictions in Early Republic Virginia,” Society for Historians of the Early American Republic, New Orleans, July 24, 2022.

"Witnessing Resistance: Enslaved Women’s Narratives in Virginia Slave Court Records," Southern Association for Women Historians Triennial, University of Kentucky, June 10, 2022.

"'Pernicious Sentiments': Identity through Speech in Virginia's Northern Counties, 1830-1860," Virginia Forum, Virginia War Memorial, Richmond, Virginia, April 9, 2022.

“‘Ran Away from the Subscriber…’: Freedom-Seekers from Northern Virginia,” Invited Speaker, Historic Centreville Society, March 26, 2022.

“Slave Patrols in Northern Virginia, 1800-1860,” Invited Speaker, Coming To The Table, March 25, 2021.

"Freedom Stories in the Free Black Papers," at the "Expanded Access to History: Digitization of Loudoun's Free Black and Enslaved Papers, 1757-1865" program hosted by the Loudoun County Circuit Court Historic Records Division, the Loudoun County Public Library, and the Virginia Humanities, February 22, 2021.

“‘Remaining in the Commonwealth Contrary to Law’: Enforcing Residency Restrictions against Freed Persons of Color in Early Virginia,” accepted for the 2021 American Historical Association annual meeting.

"Down in the Documents: Slave Patrols in Fauquier County," Afro-American Historical Association, The Plains, Virginia, September 23, 2020.

“'Free liberty to visit his friends': Creating Spaces of Quasi-Freedom for Enslaved Virginians," Southern Historical Association Conference, Louisville, Kentucky, November 10, 2019.

“‘Choosing to be free or not as they think proper’: Manumission as a Strategic Decision in Northern Virginia,” Virginia Forum, Longwood University, March 15, 2019.

Panelist, "A Horrible Intimacy: A Conversation with Melvin Patrick Ely about his new book project on relations between enslaved people and white people in the Farmville region," Virginia Forum, Longwood University, March 16, 2019.

“The Meaning of Freedom in an Era of Enslavement,” Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center for Genealogy and Local History, Bull Run Library, Manassas, Virginia. February 5, 2019.

"Stories of Resistance and Persistence: Enslaved Women in Prince William County." Manassas Lifelong Learning Institute. Manassas, Virginia. April 2018.

Panel Moderator and Commentator, Slavery and Digital Humanities Session, Current Research in Digital History conference, Arlington, Virginia, March 17, 2018.

"Resistance and Persistence: Enslaved Women in Prince William County." Virginia Women in History Presentation. Ruth E. Lloyd Information Center for Genealogy and Local History, Bull Run Library, Manassas, Virginia. October 2017.

“Within These Walls: Slavery, Resistance, and Protest in Prince William County 1822 to 1860.” Invited Speaker. Brentsville, VA Historic Center Jail Opening Ceremony. May 2017.

"Freedom Seekers, Public Opinion and the Law." Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Talks. Oatlands, Virginia. February 2016.

"Slave Trials at Brentsville, Virginia in the 1850s." Lest We Forget: A Conference on Enslavement and Emancipation. Prince William County Historic Preservation Division. February 2013.

"Murder, Law, Sympathy, and Justice in 1850 Virginia: The Prince William County Trial of Agnes, an Enslaved Woman." George Mason Department of History and Art History M.A. Colloquium, April 2010.

In the Media

"Announcing the recipients of the 2022 Omohundro Institute - NEH ARP postdoctoral fellowship program," Omohundro Institute, March 2022,

Alexa Tiroli, "Online Classes and the Mason Community" March 23, 2020, The Fourth Estate, 

Adjunct Teaching Excellence Award Winners, George Mason University, Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning, April 2019,

"History in Action: Collaborative Comparisons," George Mason University, Stearns Center for Teaching and Learning,

"Steering World History from Flat to Multi-Dimensional," Mason 4-VA OER Grant, 2019,