Members of the College Language Association may nominate members for outstanding literary, linguistic scholarship, noted creative projects, and distinguished service awards.

The nominator and nominee must be paid financial members for the year of nomination. Books are eligible for consideration in the year of publication and the following year; thus, the Awards Committee may accord an award for a two-years’ period based on the number of nominations. The deadline for nominations is January 31st.

Please send nominations to:

  1. Dr. Warren J. Carson, Chair, CLA Awards Committee ([email protected])
  2. Dr. Jason Hendrickson, CLA Secretary ([email protected])

The chair of the Awards Committee will acknowledge nominations to the author as well as provide contact information for the committee. It is the responsibility of the nominee to contact publishers and/or marketing representatives to mail copies of the book under consideration directly to the committee. 

Past Recipients: Scholarship Award

Year Recipient
2024 Julius B. Fleming Jr., Black Patience: Performance, Civil Rights, and the Unfinished Project of Emancipation
2023 Elizabeth J. West, Finding Francis: One Family's Journey from Slavery to Freedom
2022 Christopher N. Okonkwo, Kindred Spirits: Chinua Achebe and Toni Morrison
2021 Christel N. Temple, Black Cultural Mythology
2020 Michelle Hartman, Breaking Broken English: Black-Arab Literary Solidarities and the Politics of Language
2019 Derik Smith, Robert Hayden in Verse: New Histories of African American Poetry in the Black Arts Movement
2018 Aaron N. Oforlea, James Baldwin, Toni Morrison, and Black Male Subjectivity
2017 Kameelah Martin, Envisioning Black Feminist Voodoo Aesthetics
2016 Reginald A. Wilburn, Preaching the Gospel of Black Revolt: Appropriating Milton in Early African American Literature         
2016 Trimico Melancon, Unbought and Unbossed: Transgressive Black Women, Sexuality, and Representation
2015 Simone A. James Alexander, African Diasporic Women's Narratives: Politics of Resistance, Survival, and Citizenship
2014 Keith Clark, The Radical Fiction of Ann Petry
2012 Lawrence Jackson, The Indignant Generation: A Narrative History of African American Writers and Critics, 1934-1960
2010 Frances Smith Foster, 'Til Death or Distance Do Us Part: Love and Marriage in African America
2010 Trudier Harris, The Scary Mason-Dixon Line: African American Writers and the South
2009 La Vinia Delois Jennings, Toni Morrison and the Idea of Africa
2009 Lovalerie King, Property Matters in African American Literature: Race, Theft, and Ethics
2008 Margaret Wade-Lewis, Lorenzo Dow Turner, Father of Gullah Studies
2007 Naomi Long Madgett, Pilgrim Journey
2006 Bernard W. Bell, The Contemporary African American Novel: Its Folk Roots and Modern Literary Branches
2003 Karla F. C. Holloway, Passed On: African American Mourning Stories: A Memorial
2001 Helena Woodard, African-British Writings in the Eighteenth Century: The Politics of Race and Reason
2001 Renée Larrier, Francophone Women Writers of Africa and the Caribbean
1999 Mary Kemp Davis, Nat Turner Before the Bar of Judgment: Fictional Treatments of the Southhampton Slave Insurrection
1999 Richard L. Jackson, Black Writers and Latin AmericaCross-Cultural Affinities
1998 Sandra G. Shannon, The Dramatic Vision of August Wilson
1997 J. Lee Greene, Blacks in Eden: The African American Novel’s First Century
1996 Joyce Pettis, Toward Wholeness in Paule Marshall’s Fiction
1995 Thadious M. Davis, Nella Larsen, Novelist of the Harlem Renaissance: A Woman’s Life Unveiled
1994 Frances Smith Foster, Minnie’s Sacrifice, Sowing and Reaping, Trial and Triumph: Three Rediscovered Novels by Frances E. W. Harper
1994 Karla F. C. Holloway, Moorings & Metaphors: Figures of Culture and Gender in Black Women’s Literature, CLA Scholarly Discovery Award
1993 Richard K. Barksdale, Praisesong of Survival: Lectures and Essays, 1957-89
1992 Margaret Walker Alexander, For Distinguished Contribution to Literary Scholarship and Creative Activity
1991 Ian Isidore Smart, Nicolás Guillén: Popular Poet of the Caribbean
1990 Bernard W. Bell, The Afro-American Novel and Its Tradition
1989 Houston A. Baker, Jr., Modernism and the Harlem Renaissance
1988 Pinkie Gordon Lane, I Never Scream: New and Selected Poems
1988 Naomi L. Madgett, Octavia and Other Poems
1987 Trudier Harris, Black Women in the Fiction of James Baldwin
1987 Arnold Rampersad, The Life of Langston Hughes Vol. 1: 1902-1942: I, Too, Sing America
1986 Joanne V. Gabbin, Sterling A. Brown: Building the Black Aesthetic Tradition
1986 Therman B. O’Daniel, A Twenty-Five Year Author-Title Cumulative Index to the CLA Journal (1957-1982)
1985 Gloria Wade Gayles, No Crystal Stair: Visions of Race and Sex in Black Women’s Fiction
1983 Martha K. CobbHarlem, Haiti, and Havana: A Comparative Critical Study of Langston Hughes, Jacques Roumain, and Nicolás Guillén
1983 Marian Russell, Melvin Tolson: Harlem Gallery
1976 Michael W. Peplow and Arthur P. Davis, The New Negro Renaissance: An Anthology
1975  Arthur P. Davis, From the Dark Tower: Afro-American Writers 1900-1960
1974 Theodore Hudson, From LeRoi Jones to Amiri Baraka
1966 Ruthe T. Sheffey, From Delight to Wisdom: Thematic Progression in the Poetry of Robert Frost


Past Recipients: Service Award

Year Recipient and Rationale
2016 Yakini B. Kemp, For Distinguished Service to CLA
2016 Emma Waters Dawson, For Distinguished Service to CLA
2002 Herman F. Bostick, For Distinguished Service to CLA
2000 Louis Rivers, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1999 Robert J. Hudson, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1998 Earle D. Clowney, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1997 Robert P. Smith, Jr., For Distinguished Service to CLA
1996 Cason L. Hill, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1996 Ruthe T. Sheffey, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1994 Thelma D. Curl, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1990 Russell Brooks, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1989 Maggie Daniels, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1984 John F. Matheus, In Recognition of Outstanding Contributions to CLA
1982 George E. Kent, For Distinguished Service to CLA
1978 Hugh M. Gloster, in Honor of Founding the Organization and For Distinguished Service to CLA
1977 Therman B. O’Daniel, for 20 years as editor of the CLA Journal and for initiation and editorship of a series of critical evaluations of principal Afro-American authors