We are honored to announce that Howard University’s Center for African Studies Outreach Director Brenda Randolph has been selected to receive the 2022 Distinguished Africanist Award by the African Studies Association (ASA). For the first time, the ASA expanded its selection criteria beyond those who hold Ph.D.s and who have written significant academic texts to acknowledge the exceptional value of scholarship often relegated to the margins as ‘service’. The ASA’s unparalleled decision acknowledges Brenda’s lifelong engagement with and commitment to Africa, and to developing and disseminating Africa affirming scholarship and literature. It is also a recognition of the significant impact of African Studies Outreach programming on African knowledge production and promotion at all levels of education.
For the past 40 years, Brenda has played a transformational role in the field of K-12 African literature and curricular materials. She has published numerous articles, book reviews and online scholarly texts and websites including The Gold Road: Medieval Ghana, Mali and Songhai; Discover Africa in the World, and a webpage of extended book reviews of children’s materials on Africa. The impact of these websites has been extensive, reaching nearly 9000 teachers and students to date, while her book reviews have been read by over 3000 educators. As founder of the non-profit Africa Access as well as the Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA), Brenda has been an exemplar in promoting, Africanist authors and literature and educational resources in U.S. K-12 schools. CABA, pioneered with the ASA Outreach Council in 1991, became the model for the creation of other world area book awards and recently celebrated its 30th anniversary.
We are delighted to see Brenda’s unique and significant contributions to African Studies recognized and celebrated by the ASA and the community of Africanist scholars.