LaWanda Fenlason Cox (1909-2005) was a pioneering historian of the American Civil War and the period of Reconstruction. Cox was born on September 24, 1909 in Aberdeen, Washington. She attended Washington High School in Portland, Oregon. Later, she received her Bachelors at the University of Oregon in 1931, her masters from Smith College (1934) and her Ph.D. from the University of California, Berkeley in 1941. Cox studied at Smith College with Merle Curti a social historian, and at Berkeley with John Schuster Taylor an economist. She was a member of the history faculty at Hunter College and the City University of New York's Graduate Center (and briefly, at Goucher College) from 1940, until her retirement from teaching in 1971. She remained a very active historian, until the loss of her sight in 1989; she died on February 2, 2005 in New York City.
She was the author of several major works including, Politics, Principle, and Prejudice 1865-1866: Dilemma of Reconstruction America (1963) which she wrote with her husband, John H. Cox; both shared the 1964 Dunning Prize for this work. She also wrote on her own: Reconstruction: The Negro, and the New South (1973), and also Lincoln and Black Freedom: A Study of Presidential Leadership (1981).
- Cox, LaWanda. Lincoln and Black Freedom: A Study in Presidential Leadership. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1981.
- Cox, LaWanda, and John H. Politics, Principle, and Prejudice 1865-1866: Dilemma of Reconstruction America. New York: Free Press, 1963.
- Cox, LaWanda. Reconstruction: The Negro, and the New South. Columbia: University of South Carolina Press, 1973.
- "In Memoriam: LaWanda Fenlason Cox". American Historical Association. Retrieved 22 October 2011.