Diversity Award: Rebecca Hankins

Rebecca Hankins, SAA Fellow and Africana resources librarian/curator at Texas A&M University, is a 2020 recipient of the Diversity Award given by the Society of American Archivists (SAA). The award recognizes outstanding contributions in advancing diversity within the archives profession, SAA, or the archival record.

Named a Fellow of SAA in 2016, Hankins’ impressive career has been dedicated to documenting the stories of underrepresented populations. To this end, the breadth of her work is impressive and includes actively collecting materials documenting traditionally underrepresented populations; exhibiting materials illustrating the impact of these groups; scholarly publishing on issues of diversity; and mentoring young archivists of color.  

In addition, Hankins’ commitment to the profession is evidenced in her work for both SAA and the Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA). Her work with both organizations has allowed her to continue to press her case for diversity within the profession by engaging in specific activities such as ensuring the representativeness of the ACA exam. Hankins has a long tradition of working tirelessly from within these organizations to effect change in a meaningful way. Rebecca has broken barriers and has been a trailblazer for so many archivists. She has paved the way for marginalized archivists to find their own voices, and has done much to advance diversity within the archives profession through the years.

As noted by one of her nominators, “Rebecca advocates for diversity and equality in SAA and ACA. She has been a tireless champion for good in the archival profession. She has inspired and encouraged me to become involved with both SAA and ACA. She has shown me how to be a mentor, a leader, and how one person really can make a difference.”