William Pickens Prize

The Department of African American Studies awards the William Pickens Prize annually for outstanding senior essays in the field of African and African American Studies.
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2018 Pickens Prize Recipient

Yuni (Yoon) Chang, an African American Studies major, was awarded the 2018 Willam Pickens Prize for her essay, “Seat of Empire: Multiracial Student Organizing at Yale Against War & Militarism.” 

Read more about Pickens Prize winner and Bouchet Fellow Yuni Chang  on the Yale College web site.

Read more about Yale Phi Beta Kappa graduate William Pickens (‘04), a leading civil rights activist of the early 20th century.

Annual Pickens Prize Award Winners

2018 

  • Youn Chang “Seat of Empire: Multiracial Student Organizing at Yale Against War & Militarism”

2017

  • Lauren Chambers “A Different Kind of Dark Energy: Placing Race and Gender in Physics”

2015

  • Jordan Konell “A Special Solidarity?: Philadelphia’s Black-Jewish Relationship and the 1964 Columbia Avenue Riot”

2014      

  • David Joseph-Gotenier “From Segregation to Re-Segregation: A History of Racial Inequality in the YMCA”

2013 

  • Ethan Mordecai Cargill “The Black Arts Iconography of John Coltrane”
  • Emily Wanger “An ‘Awkward Silence’ - Examining Civil Rights Organizations’ Belated Opposition to Mass Incarceration in the United States”

2012      

  • Jordan Rogers “Put your House in Order and Plot a Sweet Life:  Home, Movement, Sexuality, and the Black Diasporic Musical Tradition in the South of France”
  • Christopher Pagliarella “The African Methodist Episcopal and Black Baptist Churches in Literacy Education:  Achievement, Loss and Hope”

2011      

  • Rhiana Gunn-Wright “Breaking the Brood Mare:  Representation, Welfare Policy and Teen Pregnancy in New Haven”

2010    

  • Naomi Bland “Plan B:  The Collision of the Birth Control Movement and the Uplift Movement Viewed Through Works of Angelina Weld Grimké”
  • Rodney Reynolds “I Know of No Better Way to Express the Struggle of Our People:  King, Hughes, and the Poetics of the Civil Rights Movement”

2009      

  • Rena Karefa-Johnson “The Stolen Girls Locked in the Leesburg Stockade: The Forgotten Price of Freedom”

2008      

  • Andrew Dowe “Time/Space/Self - Movement and Identity in black queer literary imaginations
  • Maura Fitzgerald Second Line Parades in New Orleans: Revelry and Resistance in the ‘Spaces Between’ ”

2007      

  • Offiong Bassey “Unlikely Candidates: The Authenticating Power of Evangelical Conversion and Call in the Live of Nineteenth-century Itinerant Ministers, Sojourner Truth and arena Lee”
  • Hallfridur Birnir “Walking Towards Brilliance: The Public Sculptures of David Hammons”
  • Cynthia So “The Causes and Consequences of Undocumented Haitian Immigration to the Dominican Republic”

2006      

  • Kersten Charity Stevens “The Blues-Hip Hop Dichotomy: Assessing Interstitiality in the Black Noise of the Past and Present”
  • Bryant Hall “The Power of Hypocrisy: The Politics of Double Morality in Cuba”

2005      

  • Lia Bascomb “Three Voices of Black Iconography: Nina Simone, Bob Marley, and Fela Anikulapo-Kuti”

2004      

  • Julianna Bentes “From Strong Roots: The Impact of World War II on the Civil Rights Movement through Citizenship, Empowerment, and Mobilization”
  • Erin Liotta “Bill T. Jones and Uncle Tom: Understanding Modern America Through the Politics of Dance”

2003      

  • Nilofar Gardezi “Kaleidoscopic in Memory Now”: Symbolism and Historicity in Robert Hayden’s ‘Angle of Ascent’ ”
  • Cameron Leader-Picone “Colored People’s Laughter: African American Literature, Jazz, Blues and the Problem of the Color Line”
  • Sarah Nelson Wright “Adopting Differences: Hybridity, Intersectionality and Transracial Adoption In Contemporary America”

2002      

  • Joshua Jelly-Schapiro “Are We All Creoles Now?”: Ethnicity and (Imagi-)Nation in a Heterogenous Caribbean Diaspora
  • Melissa Barton “ ‘An Off-Rhyme Occasion’: Race, Politics, and the Artistry of Gwendolyn Brooks’s War Sonnets”
  • Alan Schoenfield “The Politics of Position in the Teaching of Black Literature and the Future of Multicultural Education”

2001      

  • Eyi Tuakli-Wosornu “Black Skin/White Class: An Exploration of Black Students in New England Preparatory Schools”
  • Alexandra L. Cox “Reproduction, Apprehension, Production: The Visual Politics of the Crack Baby Scare”

2000      

  • Ayanna M. Johnson “Why Black Women Withdraw Early from Selective Colleges and Universities”
  • Brian J. Kreiter “Blackaccess.Com: Reevaluating African-American Participation in the Internet Economy”

1999     

  • Rosa Walker “Blackaccess.Com: Reevaluating African-American Participation in the Internet Economy”

1998      

  • Regina Bain “Black Theater: The Altar Line:  An Ideology of Theater Art for the Black Community”
  • Lorelei Williams “Wallflowers: Black Women in the Television Landscape”

1997

  • Nicholas Taylor Boggs “Of Mimicry and (Little Man Little) Man:  Towards a queersighted theory of black childhood”