Dr. Lessie Branch is an Associate Professor at Metropolitan College of New York.

She is a Racial Policy Scholar and a Fulbright Specialist in Race, Ethnicity and Religion in Politics, Senior Research Fellow at the DuBois Bunche Center for Public Policy at Medgar Evers College and a Scholar with Scholars Strategy Network. Dr. Branch has a Ph.D. and an M. Phil from Milano School of International Affairs, Management, and Urban Policy as well as an MA in Political Science from the New School of Social Research. She completed her BA in Political Science at Fordham University.

Her research examines the gulf between Black optimism about group progress and the actual data on continuing disparities and potentially speaks to wider questions of social knowledge, social beliefs and relative group position; even to questions of “consciousness” and ontology. She is the author of Optimism At All Costs: Black Attitudes, Activism, and Advancement in Obama’s America with University of Massachusetts Press.

She has appeared in the New York Times, Center for Public Integrity, and Women’s Wear Daily. She’s written for Blavity, Journal of Contemporary Rhetoric, Scholars Strategy Network, Racism Review, and Diverse Issues in Higher Education.