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Professor, Intellectual & Artist

Riché Richardson has established a solid and strong record of achievement and productivity in her scholarly research in areas such as African American literature, gender studies, Southern studies, and Africana studies, has been consistently innovative and effective in her teaching, and has done extensive service on her campuses and in the larger profession over the years.  She has served two terms as Director of Undergraduate Studies in her home department, the Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell University, in which she spearheaded a revision of the curriculum (2009-11; 2013-15).  So far, she has served in three elected offices in academia, twice on the executive council of the Society for the Study of Southern Literature (2003-05); (2007-09), and on the executive committee of the Southern Literature Discussion Group (2006-11).  In the fall of 2016, she served as the Interim Director of the Mellon Mays Undergraduate Fellowship at Cornell.  She has served on the advisory board of Cornell's Center for Teaching Excellence (2014-16).  She has increasingly made a public impact and gained recognition for her work as both a scholar and artist.  She is currently serving on the Archives Committee in the College Language Association, the leading professional organization in the field of African American literature.  As someone born and raised in Montgomery, Alabama, she has long been committed to helping advance the mission of the Civil Rights Movement, and has been dedicated to being a writer, artist, and activist and working to help make a difference.  

Riché Richardson arriving in Atlanta, Georgia for the annual College Language Association conference (CLA) in April of 2012

 Curriculum Vitae

Riché Richardson pictured with the filmmaker John Singleton in October of 1991 at age 20, while interviewing him as a junior at Spelman College serving as the Associate Editor of the Spelman Spotlight newspaper.  This interview with Singleton also included  Elisa Smith, the Spotlight editor, and Michael K. Watts, editor of the Maroon Tiger newspaper at Morehouse College.  As a student serving as a "Campus News" reporter, Richardson also interviewed the famed psychologist Dr. Kenneth B. Clark

Riché Richardson after presenting at the CLA in Durham, North Carolina for the first time in 1994 as a first-year graduate student in the English Department at Duke University on a panel alongside Gregory Hampton (both discussed Terry McMillan) and Faith Smith from the Program in Literature, along with classmate Renu Bora.  It was an honor that the famed poet Mari Evans offered such compelling and thoughtful feedback to the panel afterwards.  Photograph by Dr. Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper


Riché Richardson pictured alongside Nobel Laureate and MacArthur "Genius" Grant Recipient Derek Walcott at Plumshire Inn in Davis, California during his landmark visit to the University of California, Davis campus in October of 2002, sponsored by the Davis Humanities Institute.  Right to her is the noted literary critic Marc Blanchard, a colleague in Comparative Literature

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Riché Richardson attending the "Celebrating Contemporary African American Literature: The Novel since 1998" conference at Penn State University in October of 2009


Highlights from the opening reception for Riché Richardson's debut art quilt show at Troy University's Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery, Alabama in August of 2008 featuring her art mentor and curator, the museum's founding director Georgette Norman in dialogue with Montgomery's School Board President Beverly Ross; Clair Milligan dialoging with Dr. Houston A. Baker, Jr. and Dr. Charlotte Pierce-Baker; Richardson introducing her high school English teacher, the writer Willie King, and Baker, and Richardson's aunt Pamela R. Smith (front center) with some of the friends and relatives in attendance, including, from the left, Ora Patterson, Teresa Anderson Woods, and Evelyn Elaine Ramsey 


Riché Richardson pictured standing in front of the historic home of William Faulkner, Rowan Oak, in Oxford, Mississippi in July of 2010 while attending the picnic hosted there during the annual Faulkner and Yoknapatawpha conference, whose theme was "Faulkner and Film," for which she delivered one of the keynotes, "Oprah's Faulkner"  


Cornell associate professor Riché Richardson and the novelist Tayari Jones, the Charles Howard Candler Professor of English and Creative Writing at Emory University, who is also now a Cornell University A.D. White Professor-at-Large, at CLA in 2012; Richardson and Jones, Spelman alumni, with Spelman College Professor Geneva Baxter at CLA in 2012.  Photographs by Dr. Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper


National Historian of Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity, Inc. and Africana Center professor Robert L. Harris, Riché Richardson, and art historian Cheryl Finley at the 50th anniversary celebration of the Ford Fellows' Program in October, 2012 in Irvine, California 

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Riché Richardson and Georgia State University professor Akinyele Umoja at the book signing at the Africana Center at Cornell on September 25, 2013 for We Will Shoot Back:  Armed Resistance in the Mississippi Freedom Movement, which she introduced.  "Dr. Riché Richardson is a fantastic young scholar-activist who I knew as an undergraduate student at Spelman College. I am very proud to see her as a major force in the Africana Studies program at Cornell University"

Postmaster Donald Snipes, Richardson and Rosa Parks Museum founding director Georgette Norman at the historic stamp at Troy University's gala celebration of Rosa Parks's 100th birthday on February 4, 2013 pictured  in photograph by Mickey Welsh the Montgomery Advertiser newspaper.  National Book Award for Poetry recipient Nikky Finney, Rosa Parks Museum Founding Director  Georgette Norman, and Riché Richardson on February 5, 2013 at the Rosa Parks Museum in Montgomery


Riché Richardson pictured as newest member of the Sister Scholars Advisory Council of the Delta Research and Educational Foundation (DREF), at DREF's conference in Washington, D.C., in September of 2014


Arlene Keizer, scholar at the University of California, Irvine, and Riché Richardson at Toni Morrison Society Conference; Richardson seated with mentor and noted Langston Hughes scholar and Spelman College Professor Donna Akiba Sullivan Harper at the gala dinner banquet in New York City celebrating Toni Morrison's 85th birthday in July of 2016


Riché Richardson greeting Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison at her gala 85th birthday dinner banquet in New York City at the Roosevelt Hotel, during the Toni Morrison Society's biennial conference in July of 2016  


Riché Richardson at the Bench by the Road placement ceremony of the Toni Morrison Society held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in July of 2016: the author A. J. Verdelle and Riché Richardson at the ceremony; Riché Richardson and the journalist and scholar Paula Giddings, a Soror in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. and a mentor and teacher during undergraduate and graduate years, respectively, at Spelman and Duke, where Richardson worked as her office assistant in the spring of 1998


Riché Richardson and scholar and playwright Lisa Thompson, at the Modern Language Association Convention in Austin, Texas in January of 2016; Richardson, Thompson and Angela Ards, literary scholar at Boston College 


Riché Richardson with former Spelman College president Beverly Daniel Tatum and Rihana Mason, research scientist at Georgia State University, at the Senior Ford Fellows' conference in Washington, D.C. in October of 2016; Adrienne Petty, historian at the College of William and Mary, and Richardson


Riché Richardson presented with a national certificate by Cassandra E. Brown, president of the Montgomery Alumnae Chapter (MAC), at the annual Founder's Day Celebration in Montgomery, Alabama on January 13, 2018, recognizing 25 years of membership in Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc.  

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Riché Richardson and former Black Panther Party Chairwoman Elaine Brown at dinner at the Height's Restaurant in Ithaca, following the leader's landmark interview with Noliwe Rooks at Cornell on October 4, 2016, "Radical Reform and New Age Racism in America: a Conversation," which Richardson introduced.  Photography by Dr. Kevin K. Gaines


Riché Richardson and the acclaimed jazz musician Wynton Marsalis and artistic director of Jazz at the Lincoln Center, an A.D. White Professor-At-Large at Cornell, during his landmark visit to campus in March of 2018.  Photography by Dr. Kevin K. Gaines


Riché Richardson meeting Harry Edwards, author of The Revolt of the Black Athlete, on April 18, 2019, during his visit back to Cornell for the 50th 
anniversary of the Willard Straight Occupation, and as a member of the planning committee for the event sponsored by the office of the university president, Martha Pollack. Edwards has been an architect in shaping black athletic activism for over a half century in civil rights history, from John Carlos and Tommie Smith’s famous Olympic black power salute in 1968, to #TakeAKnee.  Photography by filmmaker Abby Ginzberg, co-director and c0-producer alongside Frank Dawson of the 2016 documentary film Agents of Change 


The 2016 Black Lives Matter and #SayHerName march in Ithaca, New York, and the 2017 #TakeAKnee demonstration on Cornell's campus; images of the march were photographed by the Ithaca Journal


Riché Richardson and author and scholar Stacey Patton seated with Beverly Guy-Sheftall, distinguished black feminist scholar and founder and Director of the Women's Research and Resource Center at Spelman College, at the conference "On/By Black Women/Black Girls" at Cornell in April of 2017.  Professor Guy-Sheftall was featured as the keynote speaker and Patton also gave a talk.  Guy Sheftall taught and mentored Richardson, who introduced her keynote, as an undergraduate at Spelman.  Photograph by Stacey Patton


Riché Richardson and the distinguished Cornell historian Margaret Washington, standing in front of abolitionist and liberator Harriet Tubman's home in Auburn, New York, in March of 2018, on visit to the Harriet Tubman National Historic Park, the Harriet Tubman Home for the Aged, and Fort Hill Cemetery, as well as Seneca Falls.  This annual bus tour of historic sites  related to the history of slavery and women's history was brilliantly  coordinated for faculty, graduate students and undergraduates from Cornell by Professor Washington, who shared rich and revealing  insights throughout


Riché Richardson pictured with Mary Smith Ware, from St.Jude Educational Institute's Class of 1955, who received the Legacy Award at the annual St. Jude Alumni & Friends Grand Reunion on November 23, 2018.  Ware made history as one of the 5 plaintiffs in the Browder v. Gayle case (alongside Aurelia Browder, Claudette Colvin, Susie McDonald, and Jeanette Reese) filed by Attorney Fred Gray before the United States District Court that desegregated Montgomery public buses in the months after Rosa Parks's arrest on December 1, 1955, which culminated the Montgomery Bus Boycott

Short animation on Rosa Parks (5 min.) was developed by Riché Richardson in collaboration with TED-Ed over a two-year period and released in April of 2020.  It is narrated by Christina Greer


Riché Richardson pictured with Norma Darden on October 15, 2021, at Miss Mamie's Spoonbread, Too, in Harlem, author of Spoonbread and Strawberry Wine:  Recipes and Reminiscences of Family, owner of this legendary restaurant and former Wilhemina model, who was featured in the famous 1978 fashion show The Battle of Versailles.  Ms. Darden hosted and served as the speaker for the reception and final event capping off the week-long visit to New York City of Cornell's Design Justice Workshop on black memory workers co-taught by Richardson and the architect Peter Robinson, a landmark learning experience sponsored by the Mellon Foundation 


Riché Richardson pictured with colleague and friend from Harvard Marla Frederick and Mathew Knowles during Dr. Knowles's visit to Cornell University on September 27, 2018 for an interview with the scholars introduced by Gerard Aching, which was preceded by remarks from Cornell's Provost Mike Kotlikoff, and a performance by Baraka Kwa Wimbo, the university's black women's acapella gospel ensemble.  Images here show Dr. Knowles during the dialogue with Richardson's freshmen students in The African American Short Story course on the left, and on the right, touring Cornell Library's Special Collections during a visit to its landmark Hip Hop Collection while viewing a copy of Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation, a theme at the foundation of his 2018 book The Emancipation of Slaves Through Music.  

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Riché Richardson pictured at the Africana Library with Miriam Robertson, Director of the Brownsville Heritage House in Brooklyn, New York, who was visiting Cornell's campus on December 1, 2021 to attend the  presentations of students in the Mellon Design Justice Workshop on black memory workers co-taught by Richardson and the architect Peter Robinson; Richardson, Robertson and Robinson


Journalist and scholar Steven Thrasher, author of the bestselling book The Viral Underclass:  The Human Toll When Inequality and Disease Collide, pictured after book signing and talk at Cornell on September 15, 2022 with Ed Baptist, Amir Douglas, and Riché Richardson on Ithaca Commons  


Riché Richardson pictured in group photo with the UCLA historian Scot Brown on November 10, 2022 after talk in Africana Studies and Research Center at Cornell, his alma mater, entitled “The Rise and Decline of Black Bands in Popular Music in the 1970s,” along with N'Dri Assie-Lumumba, Kofi Acree and Denise and Abe Lee and other friends 


Photo of Father Manuel Williams and parishoners at Resurrection Catholic Church in Montgomery, Alabama at the Alabama Shakespeare Festival on January 13, 2023, after attending attending the landmark performance Jubilee based on the history of the Fisk Jubilee Singers.  Photography by Jewel Pitts


Highlights from symposium at Brown University honoring bell hooks and Lani Guinier, during "Writers and Intellectuals on bell hooks panel chaired by Africana Studies director Noliwe Rooks on February 19, 2023, and including Riché Richardson, DaMaris Hill and Rebecca Walker (photography by Kaiolena Tacazon from the Brown Daily Herald); the panelists with Beverly Guy-Sheftall


Riché Richardson and Georgia State University historian Akinyele Umoja on his visit to Cornell in March of 2023; Richardson and Cornell alumnus and Zubrow Distinguished Visiting Journalist Andrew Morse, the president and publisher of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution on visit to Cornell's Hip Hop Collection with its curator Ben Ortiz in April, 2023 (photo reposted from their Instagram).   


Highlights from The Delta Sisterhood Tea of Ithaca Alumnae Chapter in Cortland, New York on May 6, 2023, at which Richardson served as one of the speakers; Richardson pictured Michell Crestfield and Misha Innis-Thompson, faculty from Cornell.


Richardson delivering keynote at 12th Annual Mother-Daughter Tea at Calvary Baptist Church at Ithaca Hotel on May 13, 2024; pictured with  Denise Lee, Lisa Collins and Ella Awa.  Pictured alongside Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon, poet from Cornell also highlighted on the program


Riché Richardson pictured with Erika Jackson Gardner and Schuronda Stanton on July 22, 2023 at the Closing Ceremony for the Jills Take Spelman Leadership Institute, a collaboration with Jack and Jill of America. Richardson, Gardner and Stanton were Xinos as teens growing up in Montgomery, Alabama and presented as debutantes in the cotillion of the National Sorority of Phi Delta Kappa in 1989, in which Stanton won Miss Debutante. Richardson pictured in front of the historic Sisters Chapel at Spelman Stanton's daughters, one of whom, like Gardner's, participated in the landmark leadership program and was among the celebrants.  Richardson standing at the entrance of the famous Spelman Arch. 


"Hodge Huddle" family gatherings are held monthly with dinners or activities in various locations; here are highlights from the several summer evenings in 2023 spent downtown at the stadium in Montgomery watching games with the Biscuits team. 


Outing to see the Barbie film in July, 2023 with mother Joanne Richardson and aunt Pamela R. Garrett

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Highlights from the epic evening at Beyoncé's Renaissance concert in Atlanta, Georgia on August 14, 2023 in a suite at Mercedes Benz Stadium with Delta sorors from Spelman's Eta Kappa Chapter, including Line Sisters from (E.S.P. 39) ^2, Spring 1992, Cynthia Gunner, Malaika Dowdell and Dekia Scott and (Wall Street 39)^2 (Spring 1990) number, Laura Morse


Riché Richardson pictured here at Maurice Hobson's talk and book signing on September 1, 2023 at the Montgomery Interpretive Center of Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail Alabama State University with the author's mother and Mrs. Linda Blevins, her mother Joanne Richardson, and the author.  Richardson and Hobson serve as editors of the New Southern Studies book series at the University of Georgia Press and are also working on an edited volume


Highlights from the vending and tailgating at the Alabama State University's Labor day classic on September 2, 2023, including Delta soror, the surgeon Dr. Juvonda Hodge, who first welcomed Richardson to the Spelman sisterhood in 1989, and at Pamela R. Garrett and Darlene McDade, also Delta sorors


Highlights from evening with family and family friends Tuskegee University's Red Tail Classic playing Fort Valley State University on September 3, 2023; pictured with the outstanding Alabama artist Carole Carson


Highlights with family and family friends Darlene McDade and Servicewoman Kayla Summerlin from Alabama State University's 99th annual Turkey Day Classic game against Tuskegee on November 23, 2023


Highlights from the 18th Annual Royal Grand Reunion of St. Jude Alumni & Friends held on November 24, 2023 at the Embassy Suites in Montgomery, Alabama.  Riché Richardson pictured with 
Father Manuel Williams from Resurrection Catholic Church, Class of 1975; the artist William Ford, Class of 1971, who highlights Richardson among alumni on the inaugural poster in his series of works featuring important people in the history and legacy of the City of St. Jude; the grandsons of Catherine Harris, her 7th grade teacher at St. John the Baptist Catholic School, and classmates Teresa Brown Green and Officer William Guilford, members of the Class of 1989


Highlights from the holiday dinner of the Montgomery City Federation of Women's Clubs at Charles Anthony restaurant in Montgomery Alabama on December 15, 2023.


Riché Richardson lit the Advent Candle during the third week of celebration at the church service at Resurrection Catholic Church in Montgomery, Alabama on December 17, 2023; pictured during the reading with Father Manuel Williams.


Highlights from epic lunch with beloved art mentor and curator Georgette Norman, the founding Director at Rosa Parks Museum and one of the U.S. South's foremost institution leaders and builders in the arts, at Plant Bae Vegan Restaurant in Montgomery, Alabama on December 27, 2023 


Riché Richardson pictured at matinee screening of The Color Purple with club sisters in Dora Beverly Federated Club on December 31, 2023 in Montgomery, Alabama, including cousin Cynthia Underwood Thomas, Rev. Loretta Payne, aunt Pamela R. Garrett, and mother Joanne Richardson


Pictured with Auburn University professor Ernest L. Gibson on January 4, 2024, and University of Alabama professor Delia Steverson on January 6, at the MLA Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Richardson first met Gibson when he served as a speaker at the 75th Anniversary Conference Resurrection Catholic Church on a roundtable with Father Manuel Williams, Father Michael Nutt, Rev. Bryan N. Massengale and the federal judge Vanzetta Penn McPherson in 2019; Richardson served as mentor for Steverson in the Career Enhancement Fellowship Program in 2020-21


Richardson pictured among fellow graduates from Duke’s iconic English department as their paths blessedly aligned to converge after the presidential address by Frieda Ekotto at the MLA in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania on January 6, 2024, including Sheila Smith McKoy, Ifeoma Nwankwo, Evie Shockley, alongside Stefan, and Maurice Wallace. All roads ever lead back to Duke, indeed. At one point, as a quartet chatted on in the lobby of the Marriott, the realization hit of representing the first (Sheila), second (Maurice), third (Richardson—and also the very first to ever matriculate from an HBCU), and fourth (Ifeoma) among Black students to graduate from the PhD program in Duke’s English department #ForeverDuke, #Duke 100


Repost from Society for the Study of Southern Literature Facebook page: "SSSL celebrated Riché Richardson and her Holman Award for Emancipation’s Daughters in today’s [January 5, 2024] “Black South Joy”panel at MLA 2024! Award presented by Allison Harris."

Repost from Richardson's page:  "Thanks again so much to SSSL, to my family and to everyone who supported me on the path toward this book’s development and to everyone who shared kind and congratulatory words in the fall after the announcement. Thank you thank you thank you. I am grateful to all of you, and foremost, to the Lord, to whom I give the highest thanks, praise and glory for lighting my way on this journey."


Richardson pictured as respondent and moderator for distinguished law professor Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw as the speaker at the annual Martin Luther King, Jr. Commemorative Lecture in Sage Chapel at Cornell University on February 19, 2024


Highlights from the Inauguration of the new Toni Morrison Fellowship at The Africa Institute in Sharjah, United Arab Emirates, a program on which Richardson delivered a presentation on February 29, 2024 reflecting on "The Pieces I Am," the 2019 documentary on the Nobel Laureate, alongside Philathia Bolton, the inaugural Toni Morrison Fellowship recipient, including Spelman sisters Beverly Guy-Sheftall and Cynthia Spence, along with Gabrielle Wallen, Margo Crawford, and panel moderator Surafel Wondimu Abebe.  

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Highlights from inaugural visit of novelist Tayari Jones, A.D. White Professor-at-Large to Cornell's after public talk "What We Answer To:  A Southern Daughter's REFLECTION, with Mendi Obadike, Shirley Lewis, Richardson in the Multi-Purpose Room at the Africana Studies and Research Center on March 21, 2024; Jones pictured with Xavier Pickett and faculty hosts Richardson and Ishion Hutchinson at the Heights Restaurant in Ithaca.  


Pictured alongside NYC Council Member Yusef Salaam at the 33rd annual National Action Network Convention hosted by Rev. Al Sharpton in New York City on April 13, 2024.  Salaam, who spoke on two panels, was criminalized and imprisoned as an innocent teen boy, along with others in what became known as “the Central Park Five,” and is now known as "the Exonerated Five."  Of the councilman, Richardson notes that "Yusef’s warmth, wisdom, kind heart and peaceful spirit radiate from him in every word spoken, and are an inspiring testament to his faith and perseverance on his life’s path, illustrating some of the greatest possibilities for healing and using what was meant for harm to help make the world a better place."

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