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Thinker. Writer. Researcher. Public Historian

Alonna J. Carter-Donaldson is a Public Historian and freelance writer specializing in African American History and Genealogy. 


My name is Alonna Carter-Donaldson

I am a public historian, writer, editor, trainer, and public speaker. I am committed to sharing the obscure stories of African-Americans through documenting oral histories, performing interpretive museum work, and using archives and other modes of information to write compelling journal articles, nonfiction works, and creative nonfiction.

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Coming Up Next

Join the Senator John Heinz History Center's  From Slavery to Freedom Film Series for a panel discussion following a film screening of Driving While Black by Dr. Gretchen Sorin and Film Maker Ken Burns.  I will be on the panel!  To register click here.


In The News...

Library Bookshelves

Preserving Historic Negro Mountain

This article originally appeared in The New Pittsburgh Courier in June 2019. The Edna B. McKenzie Branch of ASALH has made it their duty to keep Negro Mountain in Garrett County, Maryland free of litter and highlight its historic significance.

Image by Hal Gatewood

May 2017

This article was originally published by Public Source. Alonna Carter questions: where are all the community sports for Black girls?

Typewriter Keys

Check Out More by The Author in Soul Pitt Quarterly!

Stack of Newspapers


Educational Opportunities

Chalkboard with Different Languages

Beginning Genealogy

Famous Figures in Black History (For kids)


Curriculum Vitae of Alonna Carter-Donaldson

Professional Experience

Burke Research fellow for The Frick Pittsburgh, MASTERS IN PUBLIC HISTORY Candidate, and Award-winning Master of Professional Writing graduate.

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Jan 2022-April 2023

Project Scholar,
Intersection of Race and Disability Project

Researching and Documenting Five BIPOC within the disability community in Western PA who created change.

May 2021- 2022

Burke Family Fellow,
The Frick Pittsburgh

Inaugural awardee of the Chip Burke Fellowship given by the Frick Pittsburgh, to perform historical research pertinent to the historic Clayton Mansion, specifically on 19th Century/Gilded Age Black Pittsburghers.

September 2016 - present

Owner, Writer, and Editor, Renaissance Writing, LLC

As Founder and CEO, Writer and Editor., I provide clients with affordable editing services for resumes, manuscripts, and more.  Successful clients have gone on to have their books published through local publishing houses or have opted to self-publish.  More info at  

January 2021 - August 2021

Research Intern- Heinz History Center

As a Research Intern, I provided archival research on Dr. David Jones Peck, the first African American to graduate from Rush Medical School in Chicago for an exhibition entitled Pittsburgh: A Tradition of Innovation at the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, PA. I also assisted with research on an upcoming exhibition around the Black experience in Pittsburgh, which is slated to be open in 2023.

September 2021 - present

Trainer-UPMC Health Plan

  • Overseeing new hire pre-training for newly onboarded employees.

  • Researching and selecting virtual training platforms to enhance employee engagement.

  • Conducting training for the UPMC Purple Experience.

  • Developing training and educational aids, such as tip sheets and FAQs, to assist employees in learning new processes.

  • Designed and trained a Computer Skills presentation to assist new hires with becoming computer literate.

  • Creating and facilitating training on professional writing for both staff and leadership in Member Services, and the Diversity and Inclusion Program.


Getting Started with African American Genealogy

July 12, 2025

I was very fortunate to give a talk on beginning African American Genealogy in collaboration with SparksPitt Johnstown and the Cambria County Library early in 2021.

Empty Chairs in Lecture Room

Preserving Historic Negro Mountain

Article from the New Pittsburgh Courier

A piece I wrote on historic Negro Mountain in Garrett County, Maryland, and the efforts of the Edna B. McKenzie Branch of ASALH to preserve it.


Learn More About Alonna Carter-Donaldson

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Learn More About Alonna Carter-Donaldson

Sharing A Love of Knowledge

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