Honors & Awards

Crystal Wilkinson Wins the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Crystal Wilkinson Wins the Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence

Crystal Wilkinson, the Appalachian Writer-in-Residence at Berea College in Kentucky, has won the 2016 Ernest J. Gaines Award for Literary Excellence presented by the Baton Rouge Area Foundation. The award recognizes outstanding work by an African American fiction writer.

Donovan Hicks, Wofford College Graduate, Named a Mitchell Scholar

Donovan Hicks, Wofford College Graduate, Named a Mitchell Scholar

Hicks graduated from Wofford College with a double major in government and finance and was a Gates Millennium Scholar. As a junior he was selected as a Truman Scholar. He also served as vice president of the student body at Wofford College.

Washington University Scholar Named a Newspaper's "Person of the Year"

Washington University Scholar Named a Newspaper’s “Person of the Year”

Jason Q. Purnell, an assistant professor in the George Warren Brown School of Social Work at Washington University in St. Louis, was named person of the year by the St. Louis American, which has the largest circulation of any weekly newspaper in Missouri.

Swarthmore College President Honored by Hong Kong Baptist University

Swarthmore College President Honored by Hong Kong Baptist University

Valerie Smith, president of the highly rated Swarthmore College in Pennsylvania, was the recipient of an honorary doctor of letters degree from Hong Kong Baptist University. Dr. Smith was honored for her work on diversity, inclusion, and curricular innovation during her first year as president of the Swarthmore.

Toni Morrison Selected to Receive the 2016 Emerson-Thoreau Medal

Toni Morrison Selected to Receive the 2016 Emerson-Thoreau Medal

The award was established in 1958 by the American Academy of Arts and Sciences to recognize lifetime achievement in literature. Professor Morrison will be honored at a ceremony in April in Cambridge, Massachusetts.

The Newest Inductee Into the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame

The Newest Inductee Into the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame

Clinton V. Turner is the former associate vice president for agriculture and extension at Virginia State University. He is the first Virginian to be inducted into the the George Washington Carver Public Service Hall of Fame in Tuskegee, Alabama.

Rutgers University Creates an Endowed Chair in Honor of the Late Clement A. Price

Rutgers University Creates an Endowed Chair in Honor of the Late Clement A. Price

The Rutgers University Board of Governors has approved the creation of the Clement A. Price Chair in Public History and the Humanities. Professor Price served on the Rutgers University faculty for nearly 40 years until his death in November 2014.

University of North Alabama Honors its First Black Graduate

University of North Alabama Honors its First Black Graduate

In a case that lasted only 10 minutes, Wendell Wilkie Gunn, with the help of famed civil rights attorney Fred Gray, obtained a court order demanding that he be allowed to enroll at what is now the University of North Alabama. He did so on September 11, 1963 and graduated in 1965.

Notable Honors and Awards Relating to African Americans in Higher Education

Notable Honors and Awards Relating to African Americans in Higher Education

Tisha Lewis Ellison, an assistant professor of education at the University of Georgia, was honored by the Literacy Research Association, and The Colored Conventions Project at the University of Delaware, led by Professor P. Gabrielle Foreman, will receive an award from the Modern Language Association.

Major Awards for a Pair of Black Scholars

Major Awards for a Pair of Black Scholars

James A. Anderson, chancellor of Fayetteville State University in North Carolina, will be honored by the American Association of Blacks in Higher Education and Tanure Ojaide, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte, received the Nigerian National Order of Merit.

Three Scholars Honored for Their Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

Three Scholars Honored for Their Kentucky African American Encyclopedia

There are more than 1,000 entries in the encyclopedia detailing African American history from frontier days to the present time. More than 150 scholars contributed to the entries in the volume.

Honors for Two African American Women Scholars

Honors for Two African American Women Scholars

Goulda A. Downer, an assistant professor in the College of Medicine at Howard University in Washington, D.C., was honored by the Institute of Caribbean Studies and Alcorn State University has renamed its Fine Arts Building to honor long-time faculty member Joyce J. Bolden.

Wake Forest University Names a Campus Building to Honor Maya Angelou

Wake Forest University Names a Campus Building to Honor Maya Angelou

Wake Forest University in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, announced that its newest residence hall will be named to honor Maya Angelou, who served on the faculty at the university from 1982 until her death in 2014. The building will be the first on the Wake Forest campus to be named for an African American.

Three Black Scholars Honored With Prestigious Awards

Three Black Scholars Honored With Prestigious Awards

The honorees are Gilda Barabino dean of the School of Engineering at City College of New York, Karla Smith Fuller of Guttman Community College in New York City, and Yacob Astatke of the School of Engineering at Morgan State University in Baltimore.

Rutgers University Scholar Wins Prestigious Literary Award

Rutgers University Scholar Wins Prestigious Literary Award

John Keene, associate professor of English and chair of the African and African American studies department at the Newark campus of Rutgers University in New Jersey, has been chosen as the recipient of the 2016 Lannan Literary Award for fiction.

University of Delaware Professor Honored by the Association of Black Women Historians

University of Delaware Professor Honored by the Association of Black Women Historians

Erica Armstrong Dunbar, the Blue and Gold Professor of Black American Studies and History at the University of Delaware, is the winner of the Lorraine A. Williams Leadership Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Three Black Women Scholars Presented With Notable Awards

Three Black Women Scholars Presented With Notable Awards

The honorees are Phyllis Sharps of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Vievee Francis of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, and Megan Covington of Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, North Carolina.

Marilyn Nelson Wins the $25,000 Neustadt Prize for Children's Literature

Marilyn Nelson Wins the $25,000 Neustadt Prize for Children’s Literature

Marilyn Nelson is a professor emerita at the University of Connecticut. Professor Nelson is a winner of the Pushcart Prize and has been a finalist for the National Book Award three times. From 2001 to 2006, Dr. Nelson was the poet laureate of the state of Connecticut.

The University of Virginia Honors the Late Julian Bond With an Endowed Chair

The University of Virginia Honors the Late Julian Bond With an Endowed Chair

Professor Bond, who was a civil rights pioneer and led the NAACP for 12 years, taught at the University of Virginia for 20 years. He was a founding member of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee, the first president of the Southern Poverty Law Center, and served in the Georgia State legislature for 20 years.

Kimberlé Crenshaw to Receive the Gittler Prize From Brandeis University

Kimberlé Crenshaw to Receive the Gittler Prize From Brandeis University

The Gittler Prize is presented annually to a person whose body of published work reflects scholarly excellence and makes a lasting contribution to racial, ethnic or religious relations. Professor Crenshaw, who is on the faculty at the law schools of Columbia University and UCLA, will receive the award and a $25,000 prize in October 2017.

Honors and Awards for Three African American Scholars

Honors and Awards for Three African American Scholars

James Rosser is having a building named in his honor at California State University, Los Angeles. Playwright Ntozake Shange will receive the Langston Hughes Medal from the City College of New York, and Adriel Hilton of Webster University was honored by the South Carolina College Personnel Association.

Five Finalists Announced for the Inaugural Harriet Tubman Prize

Five Finalists Announced for the Inaugural Harriet Tubman Prize

The award, presented by the Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture of the New York Public Library, recognizes the best book of the year on slavery, the slave trade, or anti-slavery topics.

University of Chicago to Honor Its First Black Woman Doctoral Degree Recipient

University of Chicago to Honor Its First Black Woman Doctoral Degree Recipient

Georgiana Simpson enrolled at the University of Chicago in 1907 at the age of 41. Her presence of campus was protested by students from the South. But Simpson persisted and went on to earn a bachelor’s degree in 1911 and a Ph.D. in 1921.

Notable Honors for Two African American Academics

Notable Honors for Two African American Academics

The honorees are Robert Nobles, associate vice chancellor for research at the University of Tennessee, and Renee Kirby, associate director of disability resources and services at Temple University in Philadelphia.

A Long Overdue Tribute to the First Black Woman to Graduate from the Yale School of Music

A Long Overdue Tribute to the First Black Woman to Graduate from the Yale School of Music

Helen Eugenia Hagan graduated from the Yale School of Music in 1912. She went on to a long career as a concert pianist and an educator. She died in 1964 but until recently her remains were buried in an unmarked grave in New Haven’s Evergreen Cemetery.

Yale University Honors Its First Black Student

Yale University Honors Its First Black Student

James W.C. Pennington took classes at Yale Divinity School beginning in 1834. He was not allowed to enroll but could audit courses from the back of classrooms. Pennington could not participate in classroom discussions and he was not allowed to take out books from the library.

Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors to Honor Dillard University President

Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors to Honor Dillard University President

Walter M. Kimbrough, the seventh president of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, has been selected to receive the Dr. Kent L. Gardner Award from the Association of Fraternity/Sorority Advisors.

Legal Scholar Michelle Alexander Selected to Receive a $250,000 Heinz Award

Legal Scholar Michelle Alexander Selected to Receive a $250,000 Heinz Award

Michelle Alexander is a visiting professor at the Union Theological Seminary and a senior fellow at the Ford Foundation. Earlier, she taught at Ohio State University and Stanford Law School. Professor Alexander is being honored for her research on racial disparities in incarceration rates.

Natasha Trethewey Awarded the 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement

Natasha Trethewey Awarded the 2016 Fellowship for Distinguished Poetic Achievement

Natasha Trethewey is the Robert W. Woodruff Professor of English and Creative Writing and the director of the creative writing program at Emory University. She is the former poet laureate of the United States.

Two African American Women Scholars Honored With Prestigious Awards

Two African American Women Scholars Honored With Prestigious Awards

Adrienne R. Carter-Sowell of Texas A&M University was honored by the American Psychological Association and Saundra Yancy McGuire of Louisiana State University was selected to receive an award from the American Chemical Society.

Nnedi Okorafor Wins Two of Science Fiction's Most Prestigious Awards

Nnedi Okorafor Wins Two of Science Fiction’s Most Prestigious Awards

Nnedi Okorafor, an associate professor of English at the University at Buffalo of the State University of New York System, is only the fourth author in the past two decades who has won both the Hugo Award and the Nebula Award for the same novella. The awards are among the highest honors given to science fiction authors.

University of Iowa Names Its New Residence Hall for Alumna Elizabeth Catlett

University of Iowa Names Its New Residence Hall for Alumna Elizabeth Catlett

The University of Iowa is naming its newest residence hall in honor of Elizabeth Catlett, the celebrated artist and the first African American woman to earn a master of fine arts degree at the university.

T. Geronimo Johnson to Receive the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

T. Geronimo Johnson to Receive the 2016 William Saroyan International Prize for Writing

T. Geronimo Johnson, who teaches creative writing at the University of California, Berkeley, is being honored for his 2015 novel Welcome to Braggsville. The novel tells the story of four Berkeley students who stage a protest at a Civil War reenactment event in Georgia.

The Higher Education of the Three Black Scholars Who Won Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Awards

The Higher Education of the Three Black Scholars Who Won Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Awards

The Rona Jaffe Foundation has announced six winners of its annual Writing Awards. The literary awards are only given to women who are in the early stages of their writing careers. Three of the six winners are African Americans with impressive higher education credentials.

Prestigious Honors for Two African American Professors

Prestigious Honors for Two African American Professors

The honorees are Wayne J. Dawkins, professor of professional practice in the Scripps Howard School of Journalism and Communications at Hampton University in Virginia, and Gibor Basri, professor of astronomy emeritus at the University of California, Berkeley.

Richmond Honors Virginia Union University Students Who Protested Jim Crow

Richmond Honors Virginia Union University Students Who Protested Jim Crow

On February 22, 1960, 34 students from Virginia Union University were arrested for staging a sit-in at a segregated lunchcounter of a downtown department store. The city has now honored this group with a historical marker.