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Writers at Work: Ramón Espejo-Saavedra presents Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead

Tuesday, Oct. 20, 2020 at 6 p.m.

Ramon Espejo-SaavedraRamón Espejo-Saavedra is Professor of Spanish in the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures at Loyola University Maryland. After studying Spanish and Philosophy at Occidental College in Los Angeles, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. in Spanish from the University of Pennsylvania. His research focuses on Spanish fiction of the 19th and 20th centuries, with particular emphasis on the relationship between literature and history. He has published nationally and internationally in journals such as the Bulletin of Spanish Studies¸ Hecho teatral, Decimonónica, Crítica Hispánica, and Hispanic Review, among others. His last book is entitled Autenticidad y artificio en el costumbrismo español (Ediciones de la Torre, 2015). His most recent research, to be published this year, consists of two articles, one on monsters and freak shows in a short story by Leopoldo Alas, “Clarín”, and another on the figure of the war veteran in three short stories from the 1890s.

Kaye Wise WhiteheadKarsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead recently selected as one of the Essence “Woke 100 Women” changing the world; the “Best Radio Host” in Baltimore by the Baltimore Sun; as one of the “Top 100 Women” in Maryland by The Daily Record; one of the “25 Women to Watch” by the Baltimore Sun; and, as the recipient of the 2019 Collegium Visionary Award, Karsonya (Dr. Kaye) Wise Whitehead is a Professor of Communication and African and African American Studies in the Department of Communication at Loyola University Maryland and the host of the award-winning radio show, Today With Dr. Kaye on WEAA 88.9 FM. Dr. Kaye is one of the most sought-after speakers in the country and has given over 500 Keynotes.

As one of only a handful of daily drive-time afternoon radio shows hosted by a black woman, Today With Dr. Kaye received the 2019 Associated Press Award for Outstanding Talk Show and the second place Award for Outstanding Editorial and Commentary. Dr. Whitehead also writes a bi-monthly column, “Dispatches from Baltimore,” for the Baltimore Afro newspaper based upon her deep ethnographic study within the Black Butterfly neighborhoods of Baltimore City. She is the author of four books including RaceBrave: new and selected works; Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis, which received both the 2015 Darlene Clark Hine Book Award from the Organization of American Historians and the 2014 Letitia Woods Brown Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians; and, Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America. She is a K-12 master teacher in African American History; an award-winning curriculum writer and lesson plan developer; an award-winning former Baltimore City middle school teacher; and, a three-time New York Emmy-nominated documentary filmmaker.

From 2013-2015, Dr. Whitehead was selected as one of only four experts to participate in the White House's Black History Month Panel co-sponsored by President Obama and the Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) on topics ranging from the Emancipation Proclamation to the president’s policies on women and girls. In 2014, she was one of the featured speakers at the Youth Mentoring Summit at the U.S. Capital in celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. She has received various fellowships and grants to support her work including a 2012 Gilder Lehrman Fellowship in American History, a 2011 Lord Baltimore Fellowship from the Maryland Historical Society, a 2010 NEH Summer Stipend, and a 2007 SREB Pre-Doctoral Fellowship for Maryland (only one doctoral fellowship is awarded per state).

In February 2016, Dr. Whitehead received the Joan B. Kroc’s Institute for International Peace Studies “Distinguished Alumni” Award for her work as a peace activist, scholar, filmmaker, writer, and poet. In 2014, she received the 2014 Lifetime Achievement Award from the Progressive National Baptist Convention (PNBC); was selected as one of the top 25 women professors in Maryland by Online Schools Maryland; and in 2013, she was the recipient of Loyola University Maryland's Faculty Award for Excellence in Engaged Scholarship for her work documenting the stories of women who are temporarily experiencing homelessness. Whitehead has also received the 2006 Gilder Lehrman Preserve America Maryland History Teacher of the Year Award (sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Maryland State Department of Education); was one of fifty alumni to receive the Distinguished Black Alumni Award from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana (2005); and, was a winner of both the Langston Hughes, David Diop, Etheridge Knight Poetry Award (1999, 2000) and the Zora Neale Hurston Creative Writing Award (1998) from the Gwendolyn Brooks Creative Writing Center at the University of Chicago.

Prior to her work in academia, Dr. Whitehead was a documentary filmmaker with MetroTV, a PBS-affiliate and a senior producer for Music Television Networks (MTV). In 2001, she directed and produced Twin Towers: A History, a documentary film that describes the technical problems that were overcome, including the challenge to the ironworkers and it recounts the daredevil stunts that the buildings attracted. The film was nominated for a New York-Emmy in 2002 (Dr. Whitehead’s third nomination). It has since become the second-largest selling film about 9/11 and airs regularly on PBS stations around the country.

She received her Ph.D. from the University of Maryland, Baltimore County in the Language, Literacy, and Culture program, her M.A. from the University of Notre Dame, Indiana in International Peace Studies, her graduate degree in Advanced Documentary and Narrative Filmmaking from the New York Film Academy, and her B.A. from Lincoln University, PA. Dr. Whitehead can be reached by e-mail, via twitter @kayewhitehead, or at her website She lives in Baltimore with her family.

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