Emily Bernard was born and grew up in Nashville, Tennessee and received her PhD in American studies from Yale University. She has been the recipient of grants from the Ford Foundation, the NEH and a W. E. B. Du Bois Resident Fellowship at Harvard University. Her essays have been published in journals and anthologies, among them The American Scholar, Best American Essays and Best African American Essays. She is the Julian Lindsay Green and Gold Professor of English at the University of Vermont.