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January 2015 Updated Bio

I am an assistant professor of Communication and African and African American Studies in the Department of Communication at Loyola University Maryland; the Founding Executive Director of The Emilie Frances Davis Center for Education, Research, and Culture; a K-12 Master Teacher in African American History; an award-winning curriculum writer and lesson plan developer; an award-winning former Baltimore City middle school teacher, , winning the 2006 Maryland History Teacher of the Year Award; and, a three New York Emmy nominations documentary filmmaker.

As an interdisciplinary scholar  with a focus in race, class, and gender, my teaching, research, and service crosses many boundaries reaching deep into the fields of communication, history, education, cultural studies (specifically race, class, and gender issues), women’s studies and black history.  My background experience includes my doctoral work in black women’s history, historical sociolinguistics, and women’s history from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County; a master’s degree in International Peace Studies, with a concentration in race, class, and gender issues, from the Joan B. Kroc Center of International Peace Studies at the University of Notre Dame; a B.A. degree in history from Lincoln University , PA.


My first book,”Sparking the Genius: The Carter G. Woodson Lecture” (Apprentice House) was published in February 2014:

Sparking the Genius: The 2013 Carter G. Woodson Lecture Author: Karsonya Wise Whitehead  Publisher: Apprentice House Cover art by Calvin Coleman Edited by Ronald J. Harrison

Sparking the Genius: The 2013 Carter G. Woodson Lecture
Author: Karsonya Wise Whitehead
Publisher: Apprentice House
Cover art by Calvin Coleman
Edited by Ronald J. Harrison

My second book, “Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis” (USC Press) was published in May 2014  and was recently awarded the Letitia Woods Brown Book Award for Best Edited Book in African American history from the Association of Black Women Historians:

My third book, “Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America” (Apprentice House) was published in January 2015:

In 2014, I co-edited “Rethinking Emilie Frances Davis: Lesson Plans for Teaching Her 1863-1865 Civil War Pocket Diaries” (Apprentice House) with Conra Gist. My fourth book, “The Emancipation Proclamation: Race Relations on the Eve of Reconstruction” (Routledge) is due out in November 2015.


In 2014, I was selected to moderate the White House’s Black History Month Panel co-sponsored by President Obama and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History ASALH; I was one of the featured speakers at the 2014 Youth Mentoring Summit at the U.S. Capital in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington; and, in 2013, I was one of four experts selected nationwide to present at the President Obama’s first White House Black History Month Panel co-sponsored by ASALH. I have received various fellowships and grants to support my work including a 2012 Gilder Lehrman Fellowship in American History, a 2011 Lord Baltimore Fellowship from the Maryland Historical Society, a 2010 NEH Summer Stipend, and a 2007 SREB Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Maryland (only one doctoral fellowship is awarded per state).

In 2014, I was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC); and, I was selected as one of the top 25 women professors in Maryland by Online Schools Maryland. In 2013, I was also the recipient of Loyola University Maryland’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship for her work documenting the stories of women who are temporarily experiencing homelessness. I have also received the 2006 Gilder Lehrman Preserve America Maryland History Teacher of the Year Award (sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Maryland State Department of Education); was one of fifty alumni to receive the Distinguished Black Alumni Award from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (2005); and, was a winner of both the Langston Hughes, David Diop, Etheridge Knight Poetry Award (1999, 2000) and the Zora Neale Hurston Creative Writing Award (1998) from the Gwendolyn Brooks Creative Writing Center at the University of Chicago.



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