Megan Ming Francis is an Affiiliate Senior Democracy Fellow at the Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation and Associate Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Washington (UW). Francis specializes in the study of American politics, race, and the development of constitutional law. Francis received her M.A. and Ph.D. in Politics from Princeton University. She is particularly interested in the construction of rights and citizenship, black political activism, and the post-civil war South.
She is the author of the award winning book, Civil Rights and the Making of the Modern American State (2014). This book tells the story of how the early campaign against state-sanctioned racial violence of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) shaped the modern civil rights movement. Departing with studies that place education and the landmark case Brown v. Board at the center of how to understand the NAACP and rights making in the United States—Francis marshals an extensive archival analysis to show that the battle against lynching and mob violence in the first quarter of the 20th century were pivotal to the development of civil rights and the growth of federal court power. Francis is currently at work on a second book project that examines the role of the criminal justice system in the rebuilding of southern political and economic power after the Civil War.