Participant Info

First Name
Last Name
Wise Whitehead
Loyola University MD
Website URL
19th century black women's history, the civil right movement, American history , culturally responsive pedagogy, motherhood and raising black sons
Additional Contact Information

Personal Info

About Me

Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead is an associate professor of Communication and African and African American Studies at Loyola University Maryland; the host of the daily talk show, Today With Dr. Kaye (WEAA 88.9 FM); and, the award-winning author of Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis. She is a K-12 master teacher in African American History; an award-winning curriculum writer and lesson plan developer; an award-winning former Baltimore City middle school teacher; and, a three-time New York Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker. Her Op-Eds have been printed in both The Baltimore Afro and The Baltimore Sun.

From 2013-2015, Dr. Whitehead was selected as one of only four experts to participate in the White House’s Black History Month Panel co-sponsored by President Obama and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) on topics ranging from the Emancipation Proclamation to the president’s policies on women and girls. In 2014, she was one of the featured speakers at the Youth Mentoring Summit at the U.S. Capital in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. She has received various fellowships and grants to support her work including a 2012 Gilder Lehrman Fellowship in American History, a 2011 Lord Baltimore Fellowship from the Maryland Historical Society, a 2010 NEH Summer Stipend, and a 2007 SREB Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Maryland (only one doctoral fellowship is awarded per state).

In February 2016, Dr. Whitehead received the Joan B. Kroc’s Institute for International Peace Studies “Distinguished Alumni” Award for her work as a peace activist, scholar, filmmaker, writer, and poet. In 2016, her book, RaceBrave: new and selected works, was selected by the Baltimore Sun as one of the Top Ten Summer Reads. In 2015 her book, Notes from a Colored Girl, was awarded the Darlene Clark Hine Book Award for Best Book in African American women’s and gender history from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and in 2014, it received the Letitia Woods Brown Book Award for Best Edited Book in African American History from the Association of Black Women Historians. In addition, Dr. Whitehead was awarded the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC); was selected as one of the top 25 women professors in Maryland by Online Schools Maryland; and in 2013, she was the recipient of Loyola University Maryland’s Faculty Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship for her work documenting the stories of women who are temporarily experiencing homelessness. Whitehead has also received the 2006 Gilder Lehrman Preserve America Maryland History Teacher of the Year Award (sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Maryland State Department of Education); was one of fifty alumni to receive the Distinguished Black Alumni Award from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (2005); and, was a winner of both the Langston Hughes, David Diop, Etheridge Knight Poetry Award (1999, 2000) and the Zora Neale Hurston Creative Writing Award (1998) from the Gwendolyn Brooks Creative Writing Center at the University of Chicago.

Dr. Whitehead has trained over 3000 K-12 teachers throughout the country in how to become culturally responsive teachers in diverse environments. She is the author of several book chapters, articles, opinion editorials, and four books, RaceBrave: new and selected works (2016); Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America (2015); the award-winning Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis (2014); Sparking the Genius: The Carter G. Woodson Lecture (2014); and, the co-editor of Rethinking Emilie Frances Davis: Lesson Plans for Teaching her 1863-1865 Pocket Diaries (2014). Her forthcoming book, The Emancipation Proclamation: Race Relations on the Eve of Reconstruction (Routledge) is due out in 2017. She is the creator of the #SayHerName syllabus, the Clinton Syllabus, and the Trump Syllabus K12 Syllabus. She is also the guest editor for the fall 2016 special “#BlackGirlActivism” edition of Meridians journal.

Prior to her work in academia, Dr. Whitehead was a documentary filmmaker with MetroTV, a PBS-affiliate and a senior producer for Music Television Networks (MTV). In 2001, she directed and produced Twin Towers: A History, a documentary film that describes the technical problems that were overcome, including the challenge to the ironworkers and it recounts the daredevil stunts that the buildings attracted. The film was nominated for a New York-Emmy in 2002 (Dr. Whitehead’s third nomination). It has since become the second-largest selling film about 9/11 and airs regularly on PBS stations around the country.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program, her M.A. from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana in International Peace Studies, her graduate degree in Advanced Documentary and Narrative Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy, and her B.A. from Lincoln University, PA.

Dr. Whitehead can be reached by e-mail, via twitter @kayewhitehead, or at her website She lives in Baltimore with her family.

Recent Publications


2016       RaceBrave: new and selected works. Baltimore, MD: The Apprentice House.

*2016, Top Ten Summer Reads, The Baltimore Sun


2015       Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Sons in a Post-Racial America. Baltimore, MD: The Apprentice House.


2014        Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis.

Columbia, SC:  University of South Carolina Press.

*2015, Darlene Clark Hine Book Award, Organization for American Historians

*2014, Letitia Woods Brown Book Award for Best Edited Book in African American History, Association for Black Women Historians


2014        Sparking the Genius: The Carter G. Woodson Lecture. Baltimore, MD: The Apprentice House.


In Process

2018        The Emancipation Proclamation: Race Relations on the Eve of Reconstruction.  Series ed. William Allison, Critical Moments in American History Series. New York: Routledge.


Collected Editions

2014       Rethinking Emilie Frances Davis: Lesson Plans for Teaching Her 1863-1865 Civil War Pocket Diaries, ed. Karsonya Wise Whitehead and Conra Gist. Baltimore, MD: The Apprentice House.


Book Chapters

2016       “Killing/Saving/Loving Black Boys, Our Black Sons Matter: Mothers Talk about Fears, Sorrows, and Hopes. Edited by George Yancy, Maria del Guadalupe Davidson, and Susan Hadley. New York: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016: 167-170.

2014       “Metacognitive RACLaGE Reflection: A Black Professor’s Journey to Use the Master’s Tools to Dismantle His House” in Pedagogical Ups and Downs: Scholars of Color Reflect on Exploring Race in Predominantly White Classrooms, ed. George Yancy and Maria del Guadalupe Davidson, Critical Social Thought Series. New York: Routledge.


2013       “Speaking Up and Speaking Out: Exploring the Lives and Experiences of Black Women during the 19th Century” in The True worth of a Race: African American Women and the Struggle for Freedom, ed. Lopez D. Matthews, Jr. and Kenvi Phillips. Association of Black Women Historians.

2012        “‘Rise in the Scale of Being’: Jonathan Clarkson Gibbs, Philadelphia Ministry, and Florida Politics,” in Before Obama: A Reappraisal of Black Reconstruction Era Politicians, ed. Matthew Lynch. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO.  330-359. (8,800 words)



2017        “Black Lives Matter in the Classroom: Creating Spaces of Liberation and Disruption.” Spectra (March 2017): 20-26.


2016        “Rethinking Meridians: as a Critical Knowledge Project, a Pedagogical Offering, and a Black Feminist Quilted Narrative.” Meridians: feminism, race, transnationalism 15, #1 (2016): VII-XVII.


2014        “Harriet Tubman: From Maternal Mother to Jezebel,” Meridians: feminism, race,

transnationalism 12, #2 (2014): 156-160.


2014        “Strumming Our Fate With Her Fingers: Remembering Maya Angelou,” Black History Bulletin 77 #2 (2014): 1-5.


2013        “Reframing the Historical Narrative,” Black History Bulletin 76 #2 (2013): 34-36.


2013        Gist, Conra D. and Kaye Wise Whitehead. “Deconstructing Dr. King’s ‘Letter’ & the Strategy of Nonviolent Resistance,” Black History Bulletin 76 #2 (2013): 6-10.


2012         “The Long Arm of Justice” Swings From the Emancipation Proclamation to the March on Washington,” Black History Bulletin 75 #2 (2012): 24-26.


2011         “Reconstructing the Life of a Colored Woman: The Pocket Diaries of Emilie F. Davis,” The Pennsylvania Magazine of History and Biography 135, #4 (2011): 561-564.


2010       “They Both Got History: Using Diary Entries to Analyze the Written Language and Historical Significance  of Free Black Philadelphia,” LLC Review 2009: 48-61.

Media Coverage
Country Focus
United States
Expertise by Geography
United States
Expertise by Chronology
19th century, 20th century, 21st century
Expertise by Topic
American Civil War, Children & Youth, Emancipation, Family, Gender, Pedagogy, Public History, Race, Slavery, Women