PhD, African-American sacred music and literature, Emory University; BA with honors, Afro-American studies, Smith College

Research Interests

African-American literature and music; women’s studies


Dr. Lisa Pertillar-Brevard is a member of the core faculty for humanities at Walden University’s College of Undergraduate Studies, where she teaches Creative Writing: Contemporary Nonfiction and Poetry as well as Introduction to Literature. She also has taught English Composition, Academic Writing Fundamentals, and Intercultural Communication.

Dr. Brevard began her academic career as a researcher specializing in African-American sacred music traditions at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. She subsequently contributed to the National Public Radio series “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (1997), an oral history project about the Civil Rights movement and its music, produced by the Southern Regional Council. Thereafter, she worked as a post-doctoral fellow and research associate at the University of Maryland, College Park.         

She has developed and taught traditional and distance learning courses for the University of Maryland, University College, where she served as course chair for the English department. Other faculty appointments include visiting associate professor of English at Roanoke College (Hurricane Relief Fellowship, 2005), director of women’s studies and dean of humanities at Dillard University, and director of the Master of Arts in English program at the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh.

Dr. Brevard’s published works include We’ll Understand It Better By and By: Pioneering African-American Gospel Music Composers (Smithsonian Institution Press, 1992), the first annotated bibliography of African-American gospel music; A Biography of E. Azalia Smith Hackley, 1867-1922, African-American Singer and Social Activist (Edwin Mellen Press, 2001); and A Biography of Edwin Henry Hackley, 1859-1940, African-American Attorney and Activist (Edwin Mellen Press, 2003). She is a contributing author to the forthcoming Black Professional’s Guide to Career Success (ABC-CLIO).  

Her projects have garnered national recognition including a Peabody Award, PBS Award, and National Education Association Award (shared) for the Smithsonian/NPR radio series, “Wade in the Water: African-American Sacred Music Traditions” (1994); as well as a Peabody Award, National Federation of Community Broadcasters’ Golden Reel Award, and an Oral History Association Award (shared) for the Southern Regional Council/NPR series, “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” (1997).