Brenda S. Banks Travel Award

Purpose and Criteria for Selection:

Created in 2017, this award recognizes and acknowledges individuals of color, such as those of African, Asian, Latinx, Middle Eastern/North African, Native American, Alaska Native, or Pacific Islander descent, and who have demonstrated professional archival experience and manifest an interest in becoming active members of the Society of American Archivists.

This award supports the Society of American Archivists’ Archivists and Archives of Color Section’s objectives of:

  • Providing individuals of color who have demonstrated professional archival experience with an opportunity for professional development and networking through engagement with SAA; and
  • Promoting increased participation in SAA by individuals of color employed in an archives by exposing first-time Annual Meeting attendees to the experience of attending national meetings and encouraging them to join and remain members of the organization.

Recipients will be selected based on their submission of a completed application and the strength of their personal statement/essay. Personal statements/essays must be no more than 500 words and will be evaluated on: 

  • Overall clarity;
  • Understanding of professional goals and experience with and/or commitment to working with, or documenting and preserving the histories of communities of color;
  • Description of the benefits of attending the SAA Annual Meeting; 
  • Description of commitment to SAA, diversity and inclusion, and the profession.


The applicant: 

  • Must be of American Indian/Alaska Native, Asian, Black/African American, Hispanic/Latinx, Middle Eastern/North African, or Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander descent;
  • Must have demonstrated professional archival experience; and
  • Shall not have previously attended an SAA Annual Meeting.

Sponsor and Funding:

Sponsored by the SAA Archivists and Archives of Color Section and funded through the SAA Foundation, the award is named in honor of Brenda S. Banks, Fellow and Past President of SAA and co-founder of the Archivists and Archives of Color Section.


One award may be given during each awards cycle. The recipient receives full complimentary registration and related expenses for hotel and travel to attend the SAA Annual Meeting during the year in which the award is received. In addition, the recipient receives a complimentary one-year membership in SAA.

2021 Recipients: As the 2021 SAA Annual Meeting will be held virtually, 2021 recipients will receive complimentary registration to the 2021 virtual conference as well as one year of complimentary SAA membership (July 1, 2021 – June 30, 2022). They will also receive complimentary registration and travel support to the 2022 Annual Meeting in Boston (or the next annual conference that is held in person). The award cannot be extended past the next in-person annual conference.  

Selection Committee:

The Brenda S. Banks Travel Award Subcommittee of the SAA Awards Committee comprises  four members of the Society of American Archivists (one of whom will be the current junior co-chair of the Archivists and Archives of Color Section) and one of the co-chairs of the Awards Committee (ex officio). Of the three remaining members, one shall be appointed each year by the SAA President-Elect to serve a three-year term, and shall serve as chair of the subcommittee in their third year.

Application Deadline and Requirements:

Click here to preview the application and/or to apply. All applications must be submitted by February 28 of each year and include the following:  

  • Personal statement/essay of no more than 500 words;
  • CV or résumé. 

Brenda S. Banks Travel Award Recipients:

2023:  Marisa Ramirez (William H. Hannon Library at Loyola Marymount University)

2022:  Polly Peralta (former intern at the Museum of Pop Culture)

2021:  Shelly Black (Cyma Rubin Library Fellow at North Carolina State University)

2020:  Victor Betts (North Carolina State University's Special Collections Research Center)

2019:  Tracy Drake (Chicago Public Library’s Vivian G. Harsh Research Center)

2018:  Saida Largaespada (University of California, Los Angeles)

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