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 career scholars in any discipline who can demonstrate that their work is having a direct positive impact on the life of African-Americans. The Freedom Scholar Award recognizes the contributions of an early career academic whose scholarship focuses on the empowerment of the African-American community. Applicants and nominees must be within ten (10) years of receipt of their terminal degree.

Requirements and Criteria for Candidates/Nominees:

  • Submit an essay of no more than 500 words which must include the date of terminal degree, area of scholarship and detail how the scholar’s work has benefitted or empowered the African-American community.
  • Attach a research or published article(s) or data including media or governmental action or letters of support from a group (NGO/nonprofit/ institution or governmental agency) demonstrating the nexus between the candidate’s scholarship and the benefit achieved.
  • The candidate’s essay must clearly address this nexus between academic scholarship and the benefit to a particular African-American community and/or the African-American community generally.
  • Evidence of scholarship may include any field of the arts and sciences.  


Christopher Bonner
Khalid el-Hakim
Aisha Johnson

Tiffany G. B. Packer
Sarah Lewis