Joyce King, the Benjamin E. Mays Endowed Chair for Urban Teaching, Learning and Leadership, has been named the 2022 recipient of the Society of Professors of Education’s (SPE) William H. Watkins Award.

This award is named for William H. Watkins, whose 40-year career in educational activism and scholarship focused on the lived experiences of the African diaspora in the United States. His work demonstrated a commitment to curriculum study, community/solidarity, socio-political and class issues, and culture – the same qualities that SPE considers when selecting award recipients.

King is a faculty member in the College of Education & Human Development’s Department of Educational Policy Studies and an affiliated faculty member in Georgia State University’s Department of Africana Studies, the Women’s and Gender Studies Institute and the Urban Studies Institute. The most recent of her nine books include “Heritage Knowledge in the Curriculum: Retrieving an African Episteme” and “We Be Lovin’ Black Children: Learning to Be Literate about the African Diaspora.”

Her 70-plus publications appear in several leading journals, including the Harvard Educational Review, the Journal of Negro Education, the Journal of Black Studies, the Journal of Intersectionality, Educational Researcher, the International Journal of Qualitative Studies in Education, the Journal of African American History and the International Journal of African Renaissance Studies. She is past president of the American Educational Research Association and a member of the Institute for Food and Development Policy board of directors. King served on the National African American Reparations Commission and she is currently a board member of The Marcus Garvey Institute. . In 2018, she received Stanford University’s Graduate School of Education Alumni Excellence in Education Award; in 2021, she received Georgia State’s Alumni Distinguished Faculty Award.

King will receive the William H. Watkins Award virtually at the society’s annual meeting on April 23.

“What an honor to be recognized by my colleagues in this way. I’m so delighted to join in carrying on the legacy of Bill Watkins – a courageous and brilliant scholar and a friend,” she said.

For more information about the award, visit

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