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Karsonya Wise Whitehead is an American educator, author, radio host, speaker, and documentary filmmaker who is known as the #blackmommyactivist. She is the founding director of The Karson Institute for Race, Peace, and Social Justice, a Professor of Communication and African and African American Studies at Loyola University Maryland, and the host of Today With Dr. Kaye on WEAA.[1] In 2022, Dr. Kaye received the Vernon Jarrett Medal for Journalistic Excellence from Morgan State University’s School of Global Journalism and Communication (SGJC) for Outstanding Reporting on the Impact Racial Reckoning Has Had in Helping to Close Social/Racial Wealth Gap for Black People in America; was selected by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women and was highlighted by Black Girls Vote Ladies and Politics Spotlight. As one of only a handful of Black women who solo host a daily drive-time afternoon radio shows, Dr. Kaye’s radio show has received numerous awards, most recently the show won both the 2022 Chesapeake Associated Press Award for Best Talk Show and Best in Show and won Second Place for Best Editorial or Commentary.

In 2021, Dr. Kaye received the Edward R. Murrow Regional Award in the inaugural category, Excellence in Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion (Region 12); 2021 Chesapeake Associated Press Award for Outstanding Editorial or Commentary; and, was selected by the Baltimore Business Journal to receive the Leaders in Diversity Award. She also received The Amistad Award for her contributions to human rights and social justice from the Amistad Committee

In 2020, Whitehead was selected by the Daily Record as one of Maryland’s Top 100 Women;[2] by the Baltimore Sun as the Best Radio Host.[3] In 2019, Whitehead received the Collegium Visionary Award from the College of Holy Cross;[4] the Exceptional Merit in Media Award (EMMA) from the National Women’s Political Caucus for her work editing and compiling #BlackGirlActivism: Exploring the Ways We Come Though the Storm,[5] a special issue of the Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism journal (Duke University Press); the Baltimore Sun named her as one of Baltimore’s 25 “Women to Watch in 2019”; and, Essence magazine included her on the 2019 “Woke 100 List,” of “black women advocating for change.”[6][7]

Today With Dr. Kaye

In 2020, the radio show received Chesapeake Associated Press Award for Outstanding Editorial or Commentary[8] and in 2019, it received the Cheapeake Associated Press Award for Outstanding Talk Show and the second place Award for Outstanding Editorial or Commentary.[9][10] Whitehead is also an Opinion Editorial columnist for the Baltimore Afro-American.[11]


Whitehead received her B.A. from Lincoln University; her M.A. in International Peace Studies from the University of Notre Dame; her graduate degree in Advanced Documentary and Narrative Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy;[12] and her Ph.D. in Language, Literacy, and Culture from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County.[13][14] She is a member of Delta Sigma Theta sorority.

Whitehead was a middle school teacher in Baltimore City. She was also a documentary filmmaker with Metro TV, a PBS-affiliate and a senior producer for Music Television Networks (MTV). In 2001, she directed and produced The Twin Towers: A History which was nominated for a New York Emmy Award,[15] her third nomination.

Whitehead serves as the National Secretary for the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH)[16] and the National Secretary for the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA).[17]

Whitehead is the president of the National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), 2020–2023.


In 2021, Whitehead was named a “Leader in Diversity” by Baltimore Business Journal.[18] In 2016, Whitehead received the Kroc Institute for International Peace Studies’ “Distinguished Alumni” Award from the University of Notre Dame.[19][20] In 2014, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Progressive National Baptist Convention. In 2013, she received the Faculty Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship from Loyola University Maryland.[21]


Whitehead is a curriculum writer who created and compiled the crowd-sourced Trump Syllabus K12 curriculum: Lesson Plans for Teaching During this New Age of Resistance.[22]

Whitehead is the author of four books including Letters for My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America[23] and Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis[24] which was reviewed in Journal of American History.[25] A documentary film The Women of Philadelphia was made about the book [26] and it received both the 2015 Darlene Clark Hine Award from the Organization of American Historians[27] and the 2014 Letitia Woods Brown Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians.

Whitehead NEW BW Headshot

External links



Sparking the Genius: The Carter G. Woodson Lecture” (Apprentice House) was published in February 2014. In Sparking the Genius, Whitehead outlines the Critical Moments in American History that defined both the beginning of the early Civil Rights Movement-with the release of the Emancipation Proclamation-and the modern Civil Rights Movement in 1963. Starting with the Birmingham Campaign (Project C), Whitehead outlines, defines, and deconstructs five Critical Moments including the release of Dr. King’s “Letter from a Birmingham Jail,” the assassination of Medgar Evers, the March on Washington, and the bombing of the Sixteenth Street Baptist Church. With an introduction from Dr. Alicia Moore and Dr. La Vonne Neal, the book also includes an article on critical pedagogy by Dr. Conra Gist and a lesson plan for teaching the Woodson Lecture to K-16 students.


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 2015  Darlene Clark Hine Book Award from the Organization of American Historians and  the 2014 Letitia Woods Brown Book Award for Best Edited Book in African American history from the Association of Black Women Historians. In Notes from a Colored Girl, Karsonya Wise Whitehead examines the life and experiences of Emilie Frances Davis, a freeborn twenty-one-year-old mulatto woman, through a close reading of three pocket diaries she kept from 1863 to 1865. Whitehead explores Davis’s worldviews and politics, her perceptions of both public and private events, her personal relationships, and her place in Philadelphia’s free black community in the nineteenth century.


Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America” (Apprentice House) was published in January 2015. For the past 14 years, she has written letters, poems, notes, and words of inspiration to her two boys, Kofi Elijah and Amir Elisha. She has documented everything from their first steps to their first encounter with racism; from their questions about race to their questions about falling in love. She has borne witness to their tears of joy and pain, their cries of frustration and discovery, and the difficulties that they have encountered growing up black and male. Since this is her love for them poured out onto the page, she chose to publish them exactly as they were written-without any edits or corrections. “Letters to My Black Sons” traces her (and her husband’s) journey to try and raise happy and healthy black boys in a post-racial America.

Cover by Calvin Coleman

RaceBrave,” is a collection of poetry and essays that detail Whitehead’s experiences raising two black sons in Baltimore City. Passionate, edgy, unapologetic… RaceBrave: new and selected works provides another glimpse into Karsonya Wise Whitehead’s work to document her experience raising two black boys in a post-racial America. On July 7, 2014, the day Eric Garner was murdered, Whitehead set out to write about what was happening across America to unarmed black people, in doing so she explores the feelings of hopelessness and helplessness that resonate with parents around the country-sometimes with humor, sometimes with sadness, but always with an ear that bends toward the truth. In marking these moments, Whitehead also reached back into her childhood diaries to examine how life has changed for her, as a writer, a poet, and a mother over the years. RaceBrave is a masterwork that covers multiple topics and captures every mood





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