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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.  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


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 


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


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"

National Book Award for Poetry recipient Nikky Finney, Rosa Parks Museum Founding Director  Georgette Norman, and Riché Richardson on February 5, 2013, celebrating the 100th birthday of Rosa Parks 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


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 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

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

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