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Sanders Earns National Humanities Center's Tony Kaye Fellowship

Sanders Earns National Humanities Center's Tony Kaye Fellowship

Dr. Crystal Sanders

Congratulations to Crystal Sanders, who has been selected for the Anthony E. Kaye Fellowship at the National Humanities Center (NHC) for the 2020-21 academic year. Dr. Sanders is one of 33 scholars chosen from 673 applicants for the center's prestigious residential fellowship program. An Associate Professor of History and African American Studies and Director of the Africana Research Center (ARC), she first came to Penn State in 2011 as an ARC postdoctoral fellow and joined the faculty in the departments of History and African American Studies in 2012.

During her fellowship, Dr. Sanders will complete her second book, America’s Forgotten Migration: Black Southerners’ Quest for Graduate Education in the Age of Jim Crow. The Kaye Fellowship was named in honor of Tony Kaye, a member of Penn State’s department of History from 2002 to 2016. Following his own NHC fellowship in 2015-16, Dr. Kaye accepted the position of vice president of scholarly programs at the center. He passed away in 2017. Dr. Sanders is the fourth member of Penn State’s department of History to earn an NHC fellowship in recent years, including Kaye, Nan Woodruff, and, most recently, McCabe Greer Professor of History Christina Snyder. Dr. Sanders said, "I am honored and humbled to receive the Kaye Fellowship at the NHC. It is quite rare for a fellowship holder to have personally known the individual for which his or her fellowship is named, but Tony Kaye was a dear colleague and friend. When I was a junior scholar roaming the halls of the history building, he was never too busy to chat or answer a question. He modeled collegiality, intellectual curiosity, and sound scholarship, and I plan to honor his legacy by replicating his example."

The National Humanities Center is the world’s only independent institute dedicated exclusively to advanced study in the humanities. Its residential scholarship program provides scholars with helpful resources and puts them in conversation with each other to advance knowledge in a variety of humanities disciplines. Through this and other programs, the center pursues a mission of creating new knowledge, enhancing secondary and post-secondary teaching, and engaging the public to promote the essential role of the humanities in a democratic society.

Lew Gold Passes Away

Lew Gold Passes Away

Karen and Lew Gold

The Richards Center is very sad to share the news that Lew Gold ('59) has passed away. Lew passed away on March 9. He and his wife, Karen, both have been longtime supporters of Penn State and the College of Liberal Arts. Lew was a founding member of the George and Ann Richards Center's board of visitors. He and Karen endowed a graduate scholarship in the center and provided crucial guidance during the center's growth into a nationally recognized institution. We will miss Lew's leadership and his ever-present kindness and good humor. Our thoughts are with Karen and their extended family. You can read more about Lew's legacy here.

Nicole Myers Turner Publishes First Book

Former Richards Center postdoctoral fellow Nicole Myers Turner has published her Soul Liberty: The Evolution of Black Religious Politics in Postemancipation Virginia, with the University of North Carolina Press. This is Dr. Turner's first book. She is Assistant Professor of Religious Studies at Yale University and was the center's postdoctoral fellow in African American history during the 2015-2016 academic year. During her fellowship, she refined the manuscript that would become Soul Liberty. The book explores how freedpeople adapted new strategies to pursue religious and political self-determination in Virginia, following emancipation and the abolition of slavery. You can read more about Soul Liberty and order your own copy at the UNC Press website.

The Richards Center Welcomes Jonathan Jones!

The Richards Center is excited to announce that Jonathan Jones has accepted our Postdoctoral Scholar in Civil War History position for the 2020-21 year! Welcome to the Richards Center Jonathan!!


Jonathan S. Jones is a PhD candidate at Binghamton University, where he will defend his dissertation, “‘A Mind Prostrate’: Opiate Addiction in the Civil War’s Aftermath,” in May 2020. The manuscript investigates the phenomenon of opiate addiction among Civil War veterans, a harrowing medical consequence of the war that proved traumatic for veterans and alarming for American doctors and the state. During his time at the Richards Center, Jones will prepare a book manuscript derived from his dissertation. He has published widely on the history of opiate addiction in popular and scholarly outlets, with an article on the experience and outcomes of addiction for Civil War veterans forthcoming in The Journal of the Civil War Era (June 2020). Jones’s research has been supported by The Huntington Library, The College of Physicians of Philadelphia, and Yale University’s medical library, among other institutions. Jones is a first-generation student hailing from the Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas area, where he taught high school history before pursuing his doctorate. He obtained an M.A. in 2013 from Texas Christian University and an B.A. in 2011 from Dallas Baptist University.

The Richards Center Welcomes Maryam Aziz!

The Richards Center and Africana Research Center is excited to announce that Maryam Aziz has accepted our Postdoctoral Scholar in African-American History position for the 2020-21 year! 

Maryam Aziz is a Ph.D. candidate in American Culture at The University of Michigan. She will defend her dissertation, “Built With our Empty Fists: The Rise and Circulation of Black Power Martial Arts” this May. The project explores why community organizers practiced or depicted martial arts and unarmed self-defense during the Black Power Era. It looks at how this phenomenon was informed shaped by U.S. militarism and transformed notions of manhood and womanhood in 20th-century Black activism. During her tenure at the Richards Center, she will prepare her book proposal and begin researching her second project, which historicizes martial arts within women’s organizing in the late 20th century. A scholar-practitioner, Maryam has an extensive background in Japanese-descended martial arts. On campuses and in local communities, she has taught inclusive, anti-hate crime self-defense workshops based on her research. 1n 2016, she created a series of accessible videos called the Self-Defense Starter Kit. As a publicly engaged scholar, she served as an Assistant Curator and Research Assistant for the 2017 Schomburg Center Exhibit, Black Power!, which commemorated the 50th anniversary of the movement. She also serves as one of the Assistant Directors for the Schomburg Center’s Mellon Summer Humanities Institute for rising seniors.

George Richards Passes Away

George and Ann.jpg
George and Ann Richards
It is with heavy hearts that we share the news of the recent passing of George Richards ('54). Richards died on January 7 after an extended illness. In 2002, Richards and his wife, Ann, made a $3 million naming gift to the center. That gift enabled the center to grow into a national resource for Civil War era scholarship and education. You can follow this link to read more about George Richards's legacy and reactions to his passing from the Richards Center community.