Daniel Morales-Armstrong

Headshot of Daniel Morales-Armstrong over a white background. Daniel is shown from the shoulders up and looking to the right.

Joint Ph.D. Candidate

I am a joint PhD student in History and Africana Studies. Prior to Penn, I served as an adolescent educator in Washington Heights and The Bronx, where I taught Black Latin American history, writing, and prepared students for post-secondary success in my home communities. Working alongside my student collaborators, I facilitated local and international initiatives to research, analyze, and tell our own personal, community, and Afro-Caribbean histories. These experiences inform my approach to history: considering whose voices, histories, and narratives prevail, and whose are plagued by silences. 

At Penn, my work interrogates those silences within Black Puerto Rican history. My research focuses on slavery, emancipation and unfreedom in 19th century Puerto Rico, particularly as related to the post-emancipation labor contracting system. This includes significant considerations about the limitations inherent in colonial archives - from the racial, gendered and classed paradigms that distort mis/representations of enslaved people’s lives, to the silences created by the movement of documents from Spanish colonies to the metropole. 

In addition to my doctoral research, much of my academic service at Penn is dedicated to honoring the diverse iterations, and histories, of Black life in the hemisphere. To that end, I am part of an interdisciplinary cadre of Penn faculty and students working to expand the University’s scholarship and programming engaging Black communities in Latin America. As a public historian, I have presented my work through in-person and virtual events in secondary schools, university lectures, conferences, museums, and community bookstores.

Advisors: Dr. Roquinaldo Ferreira (History); Dr. Grace Sanders Johnson (Africana Studies).


M.A. in History, University of Pennsylvania, 2023.

M.A. in African-American Studies, Columbia University, 2018.

Ed.M. in Prevention Science and Practice, Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2011.

B.A. in Psychology, SUNY Albany, 2010.

Research Interests

Puerto Rico, 19th century, emancipation, unfreedom, the Caribbean, African Diaspora studies, AfroLatin American and U.S. based AfroLatinx histories, race and ethnicity in Latin America and its diasporas, Black historiography, colonial archives, global microhistory, oral history.


Courses Taught

Instructor of Record:

Race in Latin America and its Diasporas [LALS 5030/AFRC 5030] (Summer 2022)

Special Topics In Latin American Studies: Race in Latin America [SOC/ANTH 317 - at Rutgers University Camden] (Fall 2021)

The Inclusive City: Participatory Design at Taller Puertorriqueño [HIST 491/AFRC 492/LALS 491/URBS 491] (Spring 2021)


Teaching Assistant:

Introduction to Africana Studies (Fall 2020, Spring 2020, Fall 2019)

A Borderless Caribbean (Summer 2020)

Love, Anger, Madness: History, Memory, and Silence in Haiti (Summer 2019)

Selected Publications

Morales-Armstrong, Daniel. “Overseen and Overlooked: Spanish and British Silencing of Labor Resistance in Post-Emancipation Puerto Rico.” Slavery & Abolition 44, no. 2 (2023): 394-410.

The Inclusive City Charrette Analysis: A Humanities+Urbanism+Design Partnership between the University of Pennsylvania and Taller Puertorriqueño. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania/Humanities + Urbanism + Design Initiative, 2021.

Featured in "Black Puerto Rican History: Daniel Morales Armstrong's Research Sheds Light on Untold Narratives." Penn Today, written by Kristen de Groot. 22 February 2023.

Featured in "Community Builders: Daniel Morales-Armstrong helms a course designed to lead students in a collaborative engagement with a local Philadelphian community," Omnia, written by Blake Cole. 5 August 2021.