Karsonya Wise Whitehead

Host, Today with Dr Kaye

Karsonya (Kaye) Wise Whitehead is an associate professor of Communication and African and African American Studies at Loyola University Maryland and the award-winning author of Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis; a featured Public Commentator for WYPR and Op-Ed columnist for the Baltimore Sun; 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 2016, her book, RaceBrave: new and selected works, was selected by the Baltimore Sun as one of the Top Ten Summer Reads. In 2015 her book, Notes from a Colored Girl, was awarded the Darlene Clark Hine Book Award for Best Book in African American women’s and gender history from the Organization of American Historians (OAH) and in 2014, it received the Letitia Woods Brown Book Award for Best Edited Book in African American History from the Association of Black Women Historians. In addition, Dr. Whitehead was awarded 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.

Dr. Whitehead has trained over 3000 K-12 teachers throughout the country in how to become culturally responsive teachers in diverse environments. She is the author of several book chapters, articles, opinion editorials, and four books, RaceBrave: new and selected works (2016); Letters to My Black Sons: Raising Boys in a Post-Racial America (2015); the award-winning Notes from a Colored Girl: The Civil War Pocket Diaries of Emilie Frances Davis (2014); Sparking the Genius: The Carter G. Woodson Lecture (2014); and, the co-editor of Rethinking Emilie Frances Davis: Lesson Plans for Teaching her 1863-1865 Pocket Diaries (2014). Her forthcoming book, The Emancipation Proclamation: Race Relations on the Eve of Reconstruction (Routledge) is due out in 2017. She is the creator of the #SayHerName syllabus, the Clinton Syllabus, and the Trump Syllabus K12 Syllabus. She is also the guest editor for the fall 2016 special “#BlackGirlActivism” edition of Meridians journal.

 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 kewhitehead@loyola.edu, via twitter @kayewhitehead, or at her website www.kayewisewhitehead.com. She lives in Baltimore with her family.

BALTIMORE, MD (WEAA) — Cristina Duncan Evans, a representative in the Baltimore Teachers Union joins Dr. Kaye to discuss the many challenges of reopening schools and the impact it could have on students and educators. 

BALTIMORE, MD (WEAA)—Teachers are protesting the decision to reopen schools before everyone is vaccinated.  Cindy Sexton, president of the Teachers Association of Baltimore County joins Dr. Kaye to discuss the many concerns educators have regarding in-person learning.

Dr. Kaye also addresses the grim milestone the United States has reached, surpassing 500,000 COVID-related deaths. 

In the second hour, Dr. Kaye is joined by Dr. Aysha Khoury as part of the Vaccination Hesitation Conversation Series. 

BALTIMORE, MD (WEAA) — What does it mean to be Black in America?

Dr. Kaye and callers weigh in:

In the second hour of the show, Senator Ben Cardin joins the conversation to discuss his legislation to ban religious, racial and discriminatory profiling by law enforcement.  

BALTIMORE, MD (WEAA) — “It has been horrific…”

Dr. Alicia Moore, Associate Professor of Education at Southwestern University in Georgetown, Texas joins Dr. Kaye to share her personal experience during the deadly, historic winter storm.


Dr. Kaye also interviews Joshua Evans, an 11-year-old who recently published his first book. Joshua introduces us to his book’s adventurous characters and shares what inspired him to start writing. 

  To listen to the second hour of the show, click the link. 

BALTIMORE, MD (WEAA) — Dr. David Satcher, the first African American Director of the CDC and the first African American man named Surgeon General joins Dr. Kaye to address racial health disparities and COVID-19.

(WEAA) —A college professor at HBCU is accused of telling a Black student to "Take your hoodie off, you're not going for Skittles and sweet tea". 

The comment, makes a reference to Trayvon Martin who was fatally shot by George Zimmerman in 2012. 

Martin, who was unarmed, was wearing a hoodie and carrying a bag of Skittles and an iced tea when he was killed.

Dr. Kaye poses the question, "Can Black people be racist?". 

(WEAA) — Many African Americans are skeptical of the COVID-19 vaccine due to the history of medical abuse and mistreatment within Black communities. 



  Dr. Tanjala Purcell, an epidemiologist and an Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health joins Dr. Kaye to answer tough questions about medical mistrust. 


Dr. Aysha Khoury, a physician educator committed to health equity and the elimination of health disparities, joins Dr. Kaye to address medical racism. 

 RELATED| The Vaccination Hesitation Conversation Series with Dr. Purnell

RELATED| Painful History Shadows Efforts To Vaccinate African Americans

(WEAA) — Throughout The Vaccination Hesitation Conversation SeriesDr. Kaye and medical experts address the vaccine uncertainty and skepticism among Black Americans. 

Dr. Tanjala Purnell, an epidemiologist and an Assistant Professor of Cardiovascular Disease and Clinical Epidemiology at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health joins Dr. Kaye to answer tough questions about medical mistrust.  

UN Women

(WEAA) —  United Nations Women, the global campaign for gender equality, is facing backlash after releasing a controversial Valentine's Day illustration some people say "disrespected Black women". 

Dr. Kaye says, “I’m tired of White America defining what it means to be a Black woman”. 

Click below to listen to the show: 

BALTIMORE, MD (WEAA) — Dr. James Campbell, a pediatric infectious disease expert, joins Dr. Kaye to discuss COVID-19 vaccinations and children.

(WEAA) If our children fail or fall behind, who is to blame?

Are parents obligated to help their children with virtual learning?

Alexis Stutts, a teacher, posted an emotional video on Facebook sharing her frustration over the lack of support from parents during virtual learning.

"I can only do so much, I cannot do this by myself", Alexis says with tears in her eyes.

The video has been shared over 62,000 times.

(WEAA) — If Black people got their own country, would you move there? 

Where can Black people go —on this planet — to be free and not have to deal with racism, oppression and hostility?

 (WEAA) --Baltimore Mayor Brandon Scott joins Dr. Kaye for On The Stoop with the Mayor. 

Mayor Scott discusses vaccine inequity, issues surrounding the city’s payroll system, Baltimore crime and policing as well as his newly released transition report. 

(WEAA) -- Should we stop celebrating Black History Month? 

Is it time for us to embed that teaching into the American history curriculum?