Africa Access, a 501 c (3) organization was founded in 1989 to help schools, public libraries, and parents improve the quality of their K-12 collections on Africa. Africa Access Review,  Read Africa and Children’s Africana Book Awards (CABA) have been effective initiatives in our efforts to inform the public about quality K-12 books on Africa. In 1991, Africa Access in collaboration with the Outreach Council* of the African Studies Association created the Children’s Africana Book Awards  with three major objectives (1) to encourage the publication of children’s and young adult books that contribute to a better understanding of African societies and issues, (2) to recognize literary excellence, and (3) to acknowledge the research achievements of outstanding authors and illustrators. The first CABA was presented in 1992. Today over seventy-four titles have been recognized and more than 100 authors and illustrators are members of our Winners Circle. Each winning title has been vetted by our awards jury which is composed of African Studies and Children’s Literature scholars.


Brenda Randolph, Founder and Director

Brenda Randolph, a graduate of North Carolina Central University, holds a Master’s degree in African Studies from Howard University and a Master’s in Information Services from the University of Maryland, College Park. She has worked as a school library media specialist in Virginia (2 years), Massachusetts (3 years) and Maryland (22 years). In the 1960s Ms. Randolph co-founded the Southern Africa Relief Fund to provide humanitarian relief for Africans struggling against Apartheid and other forms of colonial oppression. In the early 1980s Ms. Randolph created the Title VI African Studies Resource Center at Howard University. In 1989, she founded Africa Access. In 1991, she created the Children’s Africana Book Awards in collaboration with the African Studies Association’s Title VI Outreach Programs.  Ms. Randolph was a major contributor to Sankofa Journal: a Journal of Children’s and Young Adult Literature, a peer-reviewed journal edited by Meena Khorana, Ph.D. and published annually by the Department of English and Language Arts at Morgan State University, Baltimore, Maryland. In 2014, Ms. Randolph created Discover Africa in the Americas, a online database of Africa-related sites in the African Diaspora. Since 2015, Ms. Randolph has served as the Outreach Director of the Center for African Studies at Howard University.

Harriet McGuire, Vice President

Harriet McGuire is a graduate of Smith College. She received Spanish and Portuguese language training at the National Foreign Affairs Training Center. She has lived in six African countries, worked as a U.S. Foreign Service Officer and currently volunteers for non-profit organizations which promote contemporary Africa arts and cultural exchange. In addition to Africa Access she works in a voluntary capacity for the African Book Collective, the Noma Award for Publishing in Africa, Sankofa Journal and serves on the Advisory Board of the Smithsonian Warren Robbins Library at the National Musuem of African Art.

Robert Edgar, Chairman of the Board

Robert Edgar is professor emeritus of African Studies at Howard University, Washington D.C. He holds a Ph.D. in African History from the University of California, Los Angeles, a M.A. in African History from Indiana University and a B.A. in History from Oklahoma State University. His areas of teaching and research include African History, Southern African History, African Religious and Political Movements and Social Science Research Methods.

Cheryl Hamlin Freeman, Treasurer

Cheryl Hamlin Freeman graduated from Howard University’s College of Pharmacy. She has worked at Kaiser Permanente and numerous hospitals in the Washington, DC area. Her passions are genealogy, gardening and working with children.

Mbye Cham

Mbye Cham is chairman of the department of African Studies at Howard University, Washington, DC. He holds a Ph.D and M.A. In African Literature from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, a M.A. in French from the State University of New York at Buffalo, a B.A. in French from Temple University, and course work from Université de Besançon, France and Université de Dakar, Senegal.