Dexter was born in Queens, New York, and has lived alternatively in diverse locales from the American South to the West Indies.
With a profound interest in history, he received his first MA from Texas State University, where his research focused on issues of gender, resistance, and slavery in the antebellum South through the oral history archives of former slaves. His thesis, “Violent Women, Violent Culture: Gender and Resistance in the WPA Narratives of the Federal Writer’s Project, 1936–1940,” won the B.R. Brunson Award in History for Best Thesis in 2004.
Dexter is currently a doctoral candidate in history at Stony Brook University in New York. His dissertation, “A West Indian Jubilee in America: British Emancipation and the American Abolition Movement,” examines the impact of British Emancipation on American abolitionism and free African-American communities from the 1830s through the 1860s through the rhetorical exchanges that took place within the trans-Atlantic space of the United States, England, and the West Indies with the passage of the British Act of Abolition in 1833. As his research argues, the free Anglo-Caribbean became an important site of possibility for American abolitionists and free African-Americans—an experiment for the potential of freedom in the antebellum United States, as a crusade was waged to control perceptions of the emancipated British West Indies as a testing ground for the triumph of economic progress, moral reform, and the possibilities of a radical racial democracy.
Towards this end, Dexter has conducted research in New York, Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, Washington, DC, London, and within the West Indies. He has recently been named an upcoming research fellow in residency at the Library Company of Philadelphia, to be completed during summer 2015.
During his graduate tenure, Dexter has presented academic papers at historical conferences and contributed to historical encyclopedias and texts.
He has also been afforded opportunities to teach on the collegiate level on topics ranging from comparative slavery to media depictions of slavery, Black Atlantic communities, the Haitian Revolution, African-American history, and more at SUNY Stony Brook, George Mason University, and the University of Maryland University College. In this time, he has worked with both traditional and nontraditional students from diverse communities, gaining a wealth of experience in helping both teach and navigate their collegiate careers.
As the son of Afro-Caribbean immigrants, Dexter has both lived and been exposed to cultural and regional diversity which informs his professional outlook. He has translated his academic work into the social arena through invited panels, lectures, articles, and interviews as diverse as the Federal Reserve Bank of Virginia to Voice of America and BBC America. He has also worked with community organizations whose focus is to better enrich lives through the use of history.