The Terry Kershaw Student Essay Contest is named in the honor of the late Dr. Terry Kershaw.
Terry Kershaw, the former Head of the Department of Africana Studies at the University of Cincinnati, was a NCBS Board Member (2001-2015), Vice President of NCBS (2010-2012) and editor of NCBS’ International Journal of Africana Studies (2002-2011).


  1.  Essays should focus on ANY aspects of the Africana experience, i.e. art, education, history, literature, politics, psychology, social issues, and policy issues.
  2. The essay must:
  • Be typed and submitted in Microsoft Word (do not convert your document to a PDF)
  • Not extend more than twenty-five (25) pages in length, inclusive of reference and bibliography pages.
  • Be double-spaced with one inch page margins utilizing Calibri font, 12pt
  • Contain page header to include the title of essay, centered, and a bold capital G or U (representing Graduate or Undergraduate) left justified
  • Contain page footer with page number 1 of XX
  • Utilize document sources with either MLA or the APA style guide.
  1. Include a separate cover sheet is a must.   Cover sheet must include: your name, essay title, mailing address, email address, telephone number, name of the college you attend, your class status (i.e., freshman, sophomore, junior, senior or graduate student) and name of faculty advisor.
  2. DO NOT type your name on ANY of the pages. Reviewers must NOT have any identifying clues from your paper.
    DO NOT reveal your college/university affiliation anywhere in the document
  3. Submit your essay electronically to:

Submission deadline:  Friday, December 20, 2024

A note to our student submitters:

Thank you for submitting your essay for consideration.

We deeply appreciate the time and effort in preparing the essay. All essays are considered through a blind process. If your essay is not selected as a winner, please do not be discouraged, you can submit again the following the year. Essays that do not win are not an indication of poor quality as we receive stellar essays, but just a reflection of the competitive nature of the program. We would like to provide feedback to all submitted essays, but due to the sheer volume of essays received, this is not possible.

Winners of the competition will recognized and awarded during this 48th Annual NCBS Conference on Friday, March 21, 2025 during the Terry Kershaw Student Luncheon

NCBS Student Essay Committee
Dr. Sarita Davis, Chair, Georgia State University

Dr. T. Ajewole Duckett, Northern Illinois University
Dr. Alicia Fontnette, University of Delaware
Dr. Grace Gipson, Virginia Commonwealth University
Aliza Leslie, Georgia State University
Dr. Denae Muhammad Powell, University of Houston
Zana Sanders, University of California, Berkeley
Marcus Smith, University of Massachusetts, Amherst

2023 Terry Kershaw Student Essay Contest Winners

1st Place Graduate
Tariq E. Edwards
University of California, Irvine

Only Restlessness Is Allowed: Set It Off (1996) and the Interruption of Black Women’s Grief

Advisor: Dr. Tiffany Willoughby-Herard

2nd Place Graduate
Yolanda Harris
The University of San Francisco

An Autoethnography: The Vitality of a Black Centered Education”

Advisor: Dr. Dr. David Donahue

3rd Place Graduate
Mason Oruru
Georgia State University

Fanon’s Decolonization”

Advisor: Robin Jackson

1st Place Undergraduate
Chelsea Portorreal
Lehman College

“Imbricationality: Refusal and Resistance in Spaces of Enclosure

Advisor: Dr. Eve Eure

2nd Place Undergraduate
Kyla McDermott
Temple University

An Anatomization of the Prisoner Revolutionary Class”

Advisor: Michael K. Wilson

3rd Place Undergraduate
Kalena Holeman

University of Houston

“Notes on Themes of Journey and their Dantean Resonances in Twentieth-Century Black Women’s Writing: A Look into Gayl Jones’s Corregidora and Early Black Feminist Criticism”

Advisor: Dr. Haylee Harrell