The Black Massacre Project is an interdisciplinary nerve center that brings scholars, activists, and community members together to engage in collaborative research and cultural exchange related to historical race riots and massacres. Our goal is to tell these important stories and explore the impact of historical racial violence against Black Americans and their communities today.

Our Mission

foster awareness of America’s history of black massacres and other state sanctioned violence against Black communities,

make the history and cultural heritage of black massacres readily accessible to the public,

explore the legal, cultural, social, political, and economic implications of this historical era, and

identify and promote restorative practices, including reparations, to make impacted communities, along with their survivors and descendants whole.

Our Team

Kenya Tyson

Founder/ Executive Director


A native of Wilmington, NC, Kenya is the Senior Associate Provost at Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire. Prior to working at Dartmouth College, she served as Assistant Provost of Academic Affairs and University Curriculum at The New School (NYC) and the Associate Dean of Academic Programs and Student Services at Rutgers University School of Criminal Justice, where she successfully led the university’s effort to develop a prison education program. As a faculty member, Kenya has walked an interdisciplinary line between the fields of criminal justice and legal studies, engaging in public scholarship that explores the relationship between race and crime. In addition to her 20-year career in law and higher education, Kenya has consulted with courts and other government agencies across the nation on procedural justice and racial and ethnic disparity (RED) initiatives. She has worked with universities and human rights organizations around the globe, facilitating trainings on Title IX, crime prevention and diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI), and has served in an advisory capacity for several professional organizations

Kenya’s extensive service includes work with the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention (OJJDP), NJ LEEP (Law and Education Empowerment Project), and the Community Justice Advisory Board for the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office. She currently serves as Treasurer and Chair of the Community Service and Social Justice Committee for the Garden State Bar Association and as Vice-Chair of the Public Policy and Advocacy Committee for the Metropolitan Black Bar Association. Kenya is also a member of the New Jersey Supreme Court Advisory Committee on Access and Fairness and the Review Board of Appeals for the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools (ACICS).

A Fulbright Scholar, Kenya has received recognition and awards in honor of her service and scholarship. In 2016, she was recognized by the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office and the National Organization of Black Law Enforcement Executives in appreciation of her support to the Citizens of New Jersey. Kenya is a fellow of the Higher Education Leadership Foundation and was recognized by the National Gang Crime Research Center as the 2019 recipient of the prestigious Frederick Milton Thrasher Award for her scholarship on gang courts. She was also named one of the New Jersey Law Journal’s Diverse Attorneys of the Year in 2019.

Kenya earned a JD from Widener University Delaware Law School, a MS in Criminal Justice, with an emphasis on Criminal Behavior Analysis from the University of Cincinnati, and a BA in Political Science from Winston-Salem State University. Kenya is also an active member of the Beta Alpha Omega chapter of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Incorporated.

Ashlie Claxton

Associate Director of Operations


Ashlie Claxton, MPA, is the Associate Director of Operations for the Black Massacre Project. She is a passionate servant leader and nonprofit professional dedicated to public service and social justice. Ashlie is a successful orator who uses her public speaking skills to teach young minds in her preschool classroom. She also has experience working in administration and the nonprofit sector.
Ashlie received her Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Public Administration from Rutgers University- Newark. She intends to pursue law school to practice Civil Rights law. During her time at Rutgers, she was the President of the Black Organization of Students, a Braven Fellow, and a member of Pi Alpha Alpha.

Mashayla Billups

Project Coordinator


Mashayla Billups is a senior at Howard University majoring in Community Development and minoring in History. As a College of Arts and Sciences (COAS) honors student, she is completing a thesis on Black press and community development in Wilmington, NC, before the 1898 massacre. Mashayla is an inaugural fellow of the Gilder Lehrman College Fellowship in American History and a 2023 Diversity Scholar of the National Trust for Historic Preservation. Throughout her three and half years at Howard, she has been on the executive board of multiple student organizations; her most recent positions were Community Service Chair, Student Representative, Treasurer, and Secretary. She aspires to combine her passion for history, community building, and storytelling to become a preservationist of Black communities. She plans to attend graduate school for her Ph.D. in History to research Black placemaking and the Black sense of place in southern Black communities.

Irissah King

Creative Operations Associate


Irissah King is the Creative Operations Associate for The Black Massacre Project. Irissah has experience working as a multimedia journalist and on-air correspondent for magazines and in radio. She is also a multi-disciplinary artist with a background in print and digital marketing, brand creation, and brand marketing. Her experience includes working for celebrity interior design firm, Sloan Square, award-winning media production company, VRR Productions, and Sloppy Vinyl, an artist development company and studio based in New Jersey.

A champion for political education and advocacy, Ms. King has worked with organizations including When We All Vote and the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group. Irissah graduated from Rutgers University with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and a minor in Psychology.

Kenyéla Renée Horn

Kenyéla Horn is a Program Coordinator for The Black Massacre Project and graduate of Rutgers University-Newark studying Public Administration and Affairs. She has previously interned for non-profit community organization Project Ready NJ, Senator Cory Booker’s 2020 Presidential Campaign, for The Congressional Black Caucus Foundation with New Jersey Congresswoman Bonnie Watson Coleman, and image activist Michaela Angela Davis.

A New Jersey native, Kenyéla has been a profound orator for over 10 years. Her passion lies in social justice advocacy and she hopes to work in public policy, specifically education reform. Eventually, she plans to pursue a law degree and practice Civil Rights Law. In her free time, she likes to read and write. Kenyéla is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc.

For inquiries, please contact us