Awards and Recognitions

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.

Freedom Scholar Award

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.

Living Legacy Awards

In partnership with Farmers Insurance, the ASALH Living Legacy Awards honor African American women and men across the country engaged in extraordinary work to improve communities, institutions, organizations and family life.

V.P. Franklin Legacy Journal of African American History Award

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 academic journal 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 will be presented in 2020.

Woodson Scholars Medallion

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.

Mary McLeod Bethune Service Award

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.

Council Award of Special Recognition

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.

National Educational Association’s Carter G. Woodson Memorial Award

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.

National Educational Association’s H. Councill Trenholm Memorial Award

Dr. Trenholm was a contemporary of Dr. Carter G. Woodson and served as the Secretary/Treasurer of the Association. This award recognizes individuals who embodies Dr. Trenholm’s tenacity and spirit of service.

The Dorothy Porter Wesley Award

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 Wesley-Logan Prize

The Wesley-Logan Prize in African diaspora history is jointly sponsored by the American Historical Association and the Association for the Study of African American Life & 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. Details can be found here.  Dr. Randal Maurice Jelks will serve as the 2019-2022 ASALH representative to the committee.

Rays of Light Honorees

ASALH’s Centennial Rays of Light Honorees awarded at ASALH’s Centennial Anniversary in 2015 for their significant work in upholding and continuing the legacy of our Founder, Dr. Carter Godwin Woodson.

The ASALH Book Prize

The ASALH Book Prize 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 the archival record to illuminate and analyze African Americans’ social, political, and cultural realities. While an engagement with archives is required, the selection committee welcomes scholarship from across disciplinary and interdisciplinary boundaries.