Each year, ASALH presents several awards to recognize community leaders and those who make significant contributions to the preservation of African American history. The awards are listed below.
Established in 1993, the Carter Godwin Woodson Scholars Medallion is presented to a scholar whose career is distinguished through at least a decade of research, writing, and activism in the field of African American life and history. The recipient’s career should embody and personify the Woodson legacy to ensure a firm foundation for the continuance of African-centered education through dedication and commitment to African-American history. Dr. Woodson devoted his entire life and resources to chronicling African American history and the recipient must have continued his tradition of correcting the deficiencies in American history where African American History is misinterpreted or distorted. The person selected must be a trained historian and an active participant in the scholarly work of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The award is presented annually.
This award was established in tribute to Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune because of her dynamic leadership and her years of contributing to education, women’s history, and African-American life and culture. Dr. Bethune served as the first woman president of ASALH from 1936 to 1951 and is one of the most outstanding women role models in our history. The award recipient must be a member of ASALH who has been an active supporter and contributor to the ASALH’s work for 10 or more years. The individual’s significant contribution must have been in at least some of the following areas: Branch work; service on the Executive Council; fund raising; work on the Black History Month Theme Material; education; and the Woodson House Campaign. Finally, the recipient will be one whose career has been highlighted with service to education, African American history, and the community. All these attributes symbolize the life of Dr. Bethune. The award is presented annually.
ASALH established the Award of Special Recognition to acknowledge the contributions of individuals, institutions and corporations that make a substantial contribution to the success of ASALH in pursuing the mission of its founder, Dr. Carter G. Woodson. The Award may vary and will include certificates, medals, trophies, and plaques. Nominees must demonstrate a history of support for activities and programs consistent with ASALH’s mission, which may include support for annual events such as the Annual Meeting, the Black History Month Luncheon and the Carter G. Woodson Birthday Celebration, as well as support for special initiatives such as the general campaign. The Council, at its discretion, may also designate individuals for special recognition who have made noteworthy accomplishments or contributions to the documentation, preservation and accurate dissemination of the Black experience through teaching, service, research, scholarship and publishing.
Begun in 2012 in partnership with Farmers Insurance, the ASALH Living Legacy Awards initial awardees were outstanding women, which tied into the annual theme. The award was modified to honor African American women and men across the country engaged in extraordinary work to improve communities, institutions, organizations, and family life.
A Freedom Scholar seeks to empower and inspire. A Freedom Scholar provides a direct benefit to African American communities locally or nationally. ASALH has initiated the Freedom Scholar award to honor early scholars of any discipline who can demonstrate that their field of study is having a direct positive impact on the life of African Americans.
The ASALH Luminary Award was established to recognize the outstanding work and contributions related to the mission and goals of ASALH, including the local branch, by a person in the locale of theannual convention. Nominees should have made significant contributions to African American history and culture with a focus on the local community where the annual meeting of ASALH is being held. Nominations must be submitted by the Local Arrangements Committee and approved by the Executive Council of ASALH. 2019 was the inaugural year for this award.
The ASALH Book Prize is for the best new book in African American history and culture. The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) is launching a new book award, which will be awarded annually. The ASALH Book Prize will recognize an outstanding book that engages thearchival record to illuminate and analyze African Americans’ social, political, and culturalrealities. Whilean engagement with archives is required, the selection committee welcomes scholarship from acrossdisciplinary and interdisciplinary. The Award was first presented in 2021.
V.P. Franklin Legacy Journal of African American History Award recognizes the outstanding and dedicated work and scholarship of Dr. V. P. Franklin (the JAAH editor and long-term ASALH member). Under his editorship, the JAAH was recognized as the premier academicjournal in African American, African, and Diaspora Studies. Either the author/s of an article and/or ASALH members and non-members can nominate JAAH published articles for the biennial award. The first award was presented in 2022.
The award is jointly sponsored by the American Historical Association and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book in African Diaspora history. The AHA Committee on Minority Historians established the prize in 1992 in memory of two early pioneers in the field, Charles H. Wesley and Rayford W. Logan. The prize is offered for a book on some aspect of the history of the dispersion, settlement and adjustment, and/or return of peoples originally from Africa. Eligible for consideration are books in any chronological period and any geographical location. Only books of high scholarly and literary merit are considered.
ASALH is a co-sponsor of the NEA’s Carter G. Woodson Award. The Woodson Award is given for leadership in promoting Black History Month, for furthering the understanding of Black Americans’ heritage, and for accomplishing significant positive change. The award is presented at the National Education Association Human and Civil Rights banquet as part of their annual conference.
Council Trenholm (1900-1970) served for 21 years as executive secretary of the American Teachers Association (ATA). One of the country’s most outstanding black educators, he helped build ATA’snumbers and strength and worked for the merger of ATA and National Educator’s Association. H. Council Trenholm was the former Secretary/Treasurer of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History during the early years of the Association. ASALH is not a co-sponsor of this award, but given the relationship of Dr. Logan and ASALH and Dr. Trenholm, we herald the winner yearly.
The Dorothy Porter Wesley Award was established in 2018 by the Information Professionals of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) to honor and document the outstanding work of Information Professionals; Bibliophiles, Librarians, Archivists, Curators and Collectors. Many of our Information Professionals have also played a major role in supporting the work of ASALH, by serving in leadership roles and as members.
The President’s Service Award is presented to an individual who has made exceptional contributions to the African American community, locally and nationally. The President of ASALH selects an individual whose record of community service exemplifies one of the most important objectives of ASALH: selfless service to the African American community.
The branch structure of ASALH reflects Carter G. Woodson’s belief that our mission, to create and disseminate knowledge about Black history, could not be realized solely by academics. He envisioned branches as a means of extending ASALH’s reach across the country and beyond. Branches collect primary materials about Black History to celebrate national and local African American achievers and local and national happenings. Invitations are extended to members and to the public to participate in theme-based events, programs and activities. Branches attend monthly membership meetings, support Annual Meeting and Conferences, and other National initiatives.
The annual Branch of the Year Award is given to an ASALH branch whose dedication to the vision of Dr. Woodson’s desire to educate the entire community on the rich life and history of African American/Africana people is demonstrated in monthly programming, community outreach, and collaborative efforts. The Branch of the Year executes that function with intentional and conscious efforts to promote ASALH and the national programs such as the Black History Festival, National Founders Day and Woodson Birthday celebration. Through the spirit of ubuntu in the tradition of African people and in living memory of Dr. Woodson.