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Kelly Lytle Hernandez

Professor, History and African American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles

Kelly Lytle Hernandez is a Professor of History and African American Studies at UCLA. She is also the Interim Director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies at UCLA. One of the nation’s leading experts on race, immigration, and mass incarceration, she is the author of the award-winning books, Migra! A History of the U.S. Border Patrol (University of California Press, 2010), and City of Inmates: Conquest, Rebellion, and the Rise of Human Caging in Los Angeles (University of North Carolina Press, 2017). City of Inmates won the 2018 James Rawley Prize from the Organization of American Historians, the 2018 Athearn Prize from the Western Historical Association, the 2018 John Hope Franklin Book Prize from the American Studies Association and the 2018 American Book Award. Currently, Lytle Hernandez is the Principal Investigator for Million Dollar Hoods, a university-based, community-drive research project that maps the fiscal and human cost of mass incarceration in Los Angeles. The Million Dollar Hoods team won a 2018 Freedom Now! Award from the Los Angeles Community Action Network.

For her leadership on the Million Dollar Hoods team, Lytle Hernandez was awarded the 2018 KCET Local Hero Award. Lytle Hernández’s award-winning article, “The Crimes and Consequences of Illegal Immigration,” provides one of the most comprehensive and deeply researched historical analyses of Operation Wetback of 1954.


  • –present
    Assoc. Prof., History and African-American Studies, University of California, Los Angeles


  • 2002 
    UCLA, Ph.D.