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 127 books 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 President
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 now Discover Africa in the World an online database of Africa-related sites in the African Diaspora. In 2020 she created The Gold Road in collaboration with staff at Howard University and Boston University. The Gold Road provides information about medieval Mali. Both websites are hosted by the Center for African Studies at Howard University. On November 10, 2021 Ms. Randolph received the Activist Award from the National Coalition Against Censorship, read her acceptance speech here. Ms. Randolph currently serves 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 Museum of African Art.
Mbye Cham, Chairman of the Board
Mbye Cham is former 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.
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.
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.