SCAASI prides itself on recognizing excellence and professional accomplishments. Each year we recognize the achievements of our members and students.

organizational awards

The Southern Conference on African American Studies, Inc., (SCAASI), encourages scholarly research, academic service, and innovative teaching.   SCAASI provides awards for scholarly writing and research, which have specific selection criteria.  From time to time, there are members who bring national recognition to African American Studies, and in the process to SCAASI, who go unrecognized because their contribution falls outside of the scholarly writing and research criteria of an established SCAASI Award.  Such individuals are ambassadors.  An ambassador, by definition, promotes the best interest of an organization. Such individuals should be recognized.

The SCAASI Ambassador Award bridges that gap by affording the opportunity to recognize members who make exemplary contributions in scholarly research, writing, and academic service not qualifying for an established award.  Recipients of the SCAASI Ambassador Award must be members in good standing (paid current dues) with SCAASI.

The Ambassador Award recipient must be nominated by a member of the SCAASI Executive Committee, who shall make the recommendation in writing and underwrite cost of the award.  The Executive Committee shall approve the award, and, may further choose to pay it from general funds.  This is not an annual award, rather, it is a periodic award.

SCAASI Ambassador Award recipients will be recognized at the Annual Meeting of SCAASI, receive a plaque, and a $100 honorarium. 

Past Award Recipient

2019 – Dr. Michele Valerie Ronnick, recognized for her scholarly contributions on Blacks in the Classics

C. Calvin Smith-Wali R. Kharif Book Award


The Book Award is named for the late C. Calvin Smith (1943-2009) and Wali Rashash
Kharif. Dr. Smith earned the Doctor of Philosophy Degree in History at the University of
Arkansas, and was a distinguished faculty member and administrator at Arkansas State
University. Dr. Smith authored two books, War and Wartime Changes: The Transformation of
Arkansas, 1940-1945, (1986) and Educating the Masses: The Unfolding History of Black School
Administrators in Arkansas, 1900-2000 (2003). He was a founding member, Ochillo Award
winner, and former president of SCAASI. Dr. Kharif earned his Doctor of Philosophy Degree in
History at the Florida State University, and was a distinguished faculty member at Tennessee
Technological University, where he was honored as an Emeritus Professor. He is author of
Reminiscences and Reflections (2005), a study of African American life in the remote Tennessee
and Kentucky Upper Cumberland region. He too is an Ochillo Award winner, and former
president of SCAASI.

The Smith – Kharif Book Award recognizes the most distinguished scholarly book on
African American Studies published in the calendar year preceding the SCAASI Annual
Conference. The book may focus on any of the interdisciplinary subject areas addressed by
SCAASI but must relate to African American Studies. Eligibility is open only to books authored
by SCAASI members. Anthologies, encyclopedias and edited works are not considered. The
amount of the award is $300.
While non-refereed and self-published books meeting the highest editorial quality are
welcomed, highest priority is given to refereed publications. In making its selection, the Book
Award committee places priority on 1) originality in research and literary interpretation, 2)
development of new theoretical perspectives, or 3) reinterpretation of old themes.

Past Awards Award Winners:

2012 – Mignette Y. Patrick Dorsey, Speak Truth to Power. University of Alabama Press,
2013 – Jason E. Shelton and Michael O. Emerson, Blacks and Whites in Christian
America: How Racial Discrimination Shapes Religious Convictions. New York
University Press, 2012.
2014 – No CCSBA presented.
2015 – No CCSBA presented.
2016 – Will Guzman, Civil Rights in the Texas Borderlands: Dr. Lawrence A. Nixon
and Black Activism. University of Illinois Press, 2015.
2017 – Reginald K. Ellis, Between Washington and DuBois: The Racial Politics of
James Edward Shepard. University Press of Florida, 2017.
2018 – No CCSBA presented.
2019 – Darius J. Young, Robert R. Church, Jr. and the African American Political
Struggle. University Press of Florida, 2019.
2020 – Bertis D. English, Civil Wars, Civil Beings, and Civil Rights in Alabama’s
Black Belt: A History of Perry County. University of Alabama Press, 2020.
2023 – Sonya Y. Ramsey, Bertha Maxwell-Roddey: A Modern-Day Race Woman and the
Power of Black Leadership. University Press of Florida, 2022.
Note: The C. Calvin Smith Book Award was established in 2011 (the first award recipient recognized in
2012); it was renamed on February 7, 2020 as the C. Calvin Smith – Wali R. Kharif Book Award

Click Here For Award Submission Information

This award is given to members who have distinguished themselves in publications and have been selected best article.

Dr. Bertis English

Best article in 2008

THE GRIOT: The Journal of African American Studies

“How Holy a Cause: Revisiting Slavery and the Secession Debate in Alabama, 1860-1881.”

Dr. Joy Gleason Carew

University of Louisville

Best article in 2009

Article: From Alabama to Moscow: Black Americans and the Soviet Experiment


Vol. 28               Number 2               Fall 2009

Ms. Mary Stanton

Best article in 2010

THE GRIOT: The Journal of African American Studies

“African American Amusement Parks in the Jim Crow District of Columbia”

Vol. 29     Number 2     Fall 2010

Dr. Vida Robertson

Best article in 2011

THE GRIOT: The Journal of African American Studies

“Dundus: Disabling the Concept of Race in Namba Roy’s Black Albino”

Vol. 30          Number 2          Fall 2011

The Lillie Newton Hornsby Memorial Collegiate Essay Awards given to three undergraduate college students on the basis of their submitting documented scholarly essays based upon the theme for the upcoming convention.

The Reanitsa K. Butler Memorial Scholarship is given for the best judged, on site, delivered papers by an undergraduate student group.

In honor of Life Member Dr. Samuel DuBois Cook, from 2009 on the winning school of the Butler Memorial Essay Contest will be awarded the Samuel DuBois Cook Trophy.

The FHJM Simms Award -honoring the #1 member of SCAASI for the current year.

The Slade Prize – award given to both student and professional for best published poetry in current year of THE GRIOT: The Journal of African American Studies.

Established to commemorate S. C. A. A. S. I.’s late President, Prof. Thessalonia Ford is a trophy [The Thess Prize] to be awarded to the winning school of the Hornsby Quiz Bowl.

As the results of a generous gift by Dr. Shirley W. Moore, the Fund is used to underwrite the awards given at the Honorary Board Members’ Luncheon at each SCAASI Convention. The name of the fund will always be given credit on the printed program. An example follows – …awards are gifts from the Rev. Tolly and Mrs. Rebecca Hibbler Fund.

The Woodrow Jones Memorial to help defray annual convention expenses.

The Yvonne Ochillo Memorial Award given for the article judged best published in  THE GRIOT: The Journal of African American Studies during the year (between the last annual meeting and the current meeting). The Award has been tweaked as the Yvonne Ochillo/Golden Pen Award. From 2009 on, a cash Prize will be awarded to the winner of The Yvonne Ochillo Adward.

Award & Competition
Contact Info.

Golden Pen Award Nominations: Contact-Dr. Tashia Bradley ( and Dr. Ronald Goodwin ( 

Slade Award for Poetry Nominations: Contact-Dr. Leonard Slade ( 

Smith-Kharif Book Award Nominations: Contact-Dr. Wali Kharif ( and Dr. Bertis English ( 

Student Essay Competition: Contact-Dr. Deana McQuitty ( and Mrs. Eunice Matthews-Armstead ( 

Quiz Bowl Team Registration: Contact-Dr. Wali Kharif ( and Dr. Abel Bartley (