Martez Devonte Files
Assistant Professor


Dr. Martez Files is an Assistant Professor of Black Studies in Teacher Education at the University of Pittsburgh. His previous experiences include teaching high school history and social studies, serving as an adjunct professor of African American studies, and the Diversity Enhancement Program fellow at the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB). Recently, he completed an appointment as a Graduation Coach for a $60-million grant, GEAR UP Alabama, which worked to remove barriers to higher education for rural youth in Alabama. Before coming to Pitt, he was the Program Coordinator for African American Studies in the College of Arts and Sciences at UAB.

Dr. Files has a Ph.D. in Educational Studies in Diverse Populations with a concentration in Metropolitan Education Studies from the University of Alabama at Birmingham. His dissertation "Mothering Ourselves to Wholeness'' is a project that uncovers the myriad ways Black mothers in life and literature have forged communal wholeness, protected the most vulnerable, and healed harm outside and within communities. He holds a M.A.T. in His/SS with an emphasis on social justice from Brown University, and graduated cum laude from UAB, where he earned a B.A. in African-American Studies and B.A. in History. He is a prominent activist and organizer in Alabama, whose work focuses on mental health, politics, education, communal care, and police accountability.

Instructional Interests

Dr. Files teaches courses in the Department of Teaching, Learning, and Leading. Courses include:

Fall 2022:

  • TLL 1581 Critical Histories in Education
  • TLL 1582 Cultures, Knowledge Traditions, and Social Systems of Schooling 1

Spring 2023:

  • TLL 2827 Teaching and Learning 3 in Social Studies

Scholarly Interests

  • Disruptive Qualitative Methodologies
  • Black Rurality & Black Urbanicity
  • Intellectual History of Black Women in America
  • Restorative, Transformative, and Healing Justice
  • African American Literature
  • Black Feminism(s) and Womanism
  • Black Masculinities
  • Social Movements, Activism, and Advocacy
  • Critical Caring Pedagogy
  • Black Maternal Praxis and Radical Black Mothering

Select Featured Publications

Perry, T. B., Files, M., Briggs, S. E., Jurkiewicz, H., Ray, A., & Wilkinson, L. (2022). Developing critical caring pedagogy: Teacher education in service of students in Black rural spaces after COVID. In Reconstructing care in teacher education after COVID-19 (pp. 201-210). Routledge.

Files, M. (2022). Kitossa, T.(Ed.).(2021). Appealing because he is appalling: Black masculinities, colonialism, and erotic racism. University of Alberta Press. Decolonization of Criminology and Justice, 4(1), 85-91.

Files, M. (2020). A historical essay on Black women's gendered racial terror in the United States. Vulcan Historical Review, 24.

Files, M. (2018, December 31). Reconciling 'glorious healing' & the 'loving refusal' of intracommunal violence in an era of disposability.

Files, M. (2016). Understanding the Black male's quest for identity as illustrated through Native Son. The Heritage Journal, 1(1), 7.

Community Awards and Honors

  • Advocacy Award, Birmingham Black Pride (August 2021)
  • History Department’s Sutter Scholarship, University of Alabama at Birmingham (2019-2020) Outstanding Citizen Award, Birmingham City Council (September 2019)
  • Marsha P. Johnson "Game Changer" Award, TAKE Resource Center's Community Service Awards Gala (June 2019)
  • Birmingham’s “Best Activist,” The Other Awards (May 2019)
  • Diversity Enhancement Programs Fellowship (annual award), University of Alabama at Birmingham (September 2017- May 2019)
  • Graduate Student Contribution to the Community Life Award, Brown University Division of Campus Life and Student Services (May 2016)

Engagement, Partnerships, and Professional Service

  • The Impact of Poverty & Racism on Black Rural Communities in Alabama: Implications for Health. Biomedical and Health Sciences Program. The University of Alabama at Birmingham. Co-Presenter (September 2021). Birmingham, Al.
  • The Foster Woods Folk School’s Teach-In Day of Action. Zinn Education Project. Presenter. (June 2021). Virtual.
  • The Impact of Poverty & Racism on Rural Alabama Communities. UAB’s Summer Health Professions Education Program (SHPEP). Co-Presenter (June 2021). Virtual
  • A Mixed-Methods Study in the Black Belt: Measuring Performance and Exploring Black Rural Education. American Educational Research Association. Co-Presenter (April 2021).Virtual.
  • Rekon Presents: The State of the Black Community During Covid-19 and Ongoing Local/National Protests w/Martez Files. Black With Covid. Guest. (August 2020). Virtual
  • Transforming Student Voices Through Writing, Righting, and Rioting.NCCEP Conference. Presenter. (August 2020). Virtual.
  • Knowledge is Power with host Richard A. Rice on V949. Cohost. (January 2020). Birmingham, Al.
  • Theorizing the Black Maternal: Educational Injustices and Black Feminist Mothering as a Site of Knowing and Resistance. Research on Women and Education Conference. Presenter. (November 2019). Nashville, TN.
Martez Devonte Files


University of Pittsburgh
5100 Wesley W. Posvar Hall
230 South Bouquet Street
Pittsburgh, PA 15260