Toni King


Prof. Toni King receives 2020 Brickman Leadership Award

Posted: June 12, 2020

Each year, Denison University honors an outstanding professor with the prestigious Charles and Nancy Brickman Distinguished Leadership Award at the college’s annual Academic Awards Convocation. This year, the award was given virtually to Toni King, associate professor, and director of the Black Studies Program. The Brickman Leadership Award honors a senior member of the Denison faculty who has excelled in commitment to the University.

Much of Denison’s strength derives from the vitality of its faculty and from the fact that faculty have traditionally defined their teaching role in the comprehensive sense. In addition to teaching and advising, the best Denison faculty members have contributed to the University in a variety of other ways. In presenting King with the award, last year’s recipient, Professor Gary Baker noted,

“Toni’s many nominators describe her as someone who is widely known for her generosity of spirit, the integrity of thought and action, and wise contributions to difficult conversations. She is an essential figure in the development of interdisciplinary programs at Denison, building cross-program engagement and having served as program chair for an extended period. Toni is a foundational figure, both in terms of her engagement in the community and literally in terms of having founded or co-founded multiple organizations that have been essential to the thriving of diversity on our campus, including Sister-Leaders in Dialogue, the Black Caucus, and FOCIF (Faculty of Color and International Faculty). Her nominators praised how she set the tone for these organizations – democratic, pluralistic, and supportive in nature. Toni’s voice is unique on campus, unique in its wisdom and uniquely articulate in its optimism about our community’s potential for self-improvement.”

King joined Denison University in 1997. She holds a bachelor’s from Oklahoma State University, a master’s from The Ohio State University, and a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University. King holds a joint appointment in the Black Studies and Women’s and Gender Studies programs. She has served intermittently as the director of the Center for Black Studies and contributed broadly to the life of the College including serving as associate provost for Faculty Diversity at Denison from 2009-2014, being one of the founding members of the Faculty of Color/International Faculty group in 2008, and serving as a co-chair of the Black Caucus for many years. King teaches introductory courses in black studies and in women’s and gender studies, as well as a course in her area of specialization: Black Women and Organizational Leadership. King was named to the Richard Lucier Endowed Chair, 2018-2023.

King’s book, “Black Womanist Leadership: Tracing the Motherline,” co-edited with S. Alease Ferguson and published by SUNY Press, anthologizes narratives of leadership transmission. In this book, thirteen women scholars, educators, and community leaders tell the stories of how they were socialized to lead by the women of their Motherline. The book then theoretically frames these narratives via the nexus of socio-political resistance, adult development, and leadership.


Toni has earned a bachelor’s degree in psychology from Oklahoma State University, a Masters’s degree in Counseling from The Ohio State University, and a doctorate in Organizational Behavior from Case Western Reserve University. At Denison, her courses include Introduction to Black Studies, Issues in Feminism, Feminist Research Methods; Black Women and Organizational Leadership; and, Black Women’s Lives: Autobiography as Protest. She has published numerous articles on women’s resistance to and recovery from race, class, gender oppression. She is a published poet, with works appearing in the Cimarron Review, and is known to read and perform her spoken word pieces on the Denison campus.


Primary Works:

Anthology Co-editor: Black Womanist Leadership: Tracing the Motherline , New York: Suny Press, June 2011, with S. Alease Ferguson.

“Breathe!: Victory Model of Diversity and Development for African American Women Scholars in Higher Education.” Dilemmas of Black Faculty at U.S. Predominantly White Institutions: Issues in the Post-Multicultural Era. Rhunette C. Diggs and Toni C. King, in Sharon E. Moore, Rudolph Alexander, Jr. and Anthony Lemelle, Jr. Eds. 2010.

“Going Down for the Third Time”. S. Alease Ferguson and Toni C. King, Mothering in the Third Wave, Amber Kinser, ed., Toronto, Canada: Demeter Press, 2008.

“Carrying Our Burden in the Heat of the Day”: Mid-Life Self Sacrifice within the Family Circle among Black Professional Women. Toni C. King and S. Alease Ferguson. Women & Therapy. 2006, 18(2): 148-169.

“Taking Up Our Elder’s Burdens as Our Own”: African American Women against Elder Financial Fraud. S. Alease Ferguson and Toni C. King. National Women’s Studies Association Journal (2006).

“Who’s That Lady”: Ebony magazine and Black Professional Women in the 1970s; in Disco Divas: Women, Gender and 70s Popular Culture in America, Sherrie Inness, ed. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania Press, 2003.

“Third shift: The invisible work of African American women in higher education.” Toni C. King, et al, This Bridge We Call Home: Radical Visions for Transformation. AnaLouise Keating and Gloria Anzaldua, editors. New York: Routledge, 2002.

Charting ourselves: Leadership development with African American professional women.” Toni C. King and S. Alease Ferguson, National Women’s Studies Association Journal, 2001, vol. 23, # 2, pp. 123- 141.

Whiteness in the black studies classroom: Responding to student resistance. Toni C. King and John L. Jackson, submitted to Making Connections: A Journal for Teachers of Cultural Diversity, 2001.

“To and fro’: Deepening the soul life of organizations through play.” Toni C. King and Eloise Buker, Presented at the National Women’s Studies Association Conference, June 1998. National Women’s Studies Association Journal, Spring 2001.

“Is this class just about opinions or what?’: Scripted questions as indicators of group development in the introduction to women’s studies class,” in Teaching Introduction to Women’s Studies: Expectations and Strategies, Barbara Scott Winkler and Carolyn DiPalma, eds., Westport Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, Toni C. King, 1999.

Ruptured silences: Resistances to relating across sexualities among African American professional women.” Women and Therapy, Toni C. King and S. Alease Ferguson, 1998, 21(4): 37-52.

“I am because we are’: Clinical interpretations of communal experience among African American women.” Women and Therapy, Toni C. King and S. Alease Ferguson, 1996, 18(1): 33-45.

“Clinical analysis of chronic dependency and help giving among African American women.” Smith College Studies in Social Work, Toni C. King, and S. Alease Ferguson, 1996, 66(2): 163-183.

“There but for the grace of god’: Two black women therapists explore privilege.” Women and Therapy, S. Alease Ferguson and Toni C. King, 1996, 20(1): 5-14. This article has also been published as a chapter in a book entitled: More Than a Mirror: How Clients Influence Therapists Lives. Marcia Hill, editor. Binghamton, NY: Haworth Press, 1997.

“Bringing organizational behavior and therapy together: Counseling the African American female on job socialization failure.” Women and Therapy, S. Alease Ferguson and Toni C. King, 1996 13(1): 45-55.

“Rounding corners: An African American female scholar’s pre-tenure experiences,” in Rhythms of Academic Life, Peter Frost and M. Susan Taylor, eds. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 1996.

‘”Witness us in our battles’: Four student projections of black female academics.” Journal of Organizational Change Management. 1995, (6): 16-25. [Nominated for best JOCM article for 1995].

“Selected social networks of African American professional women: Pathways to reclamation of self, Women and Therapy, 1995, 16(4): 63-77.

“Diversity and Managers.” in Modern Management: Diversity, Quality, Ethics, and the Global Environment, sixth edition. Samuel C. Certo (Ed.). Boston: Allyn and Bacon, 1994.

“Women of color in management: Towards an inclusive analysis.” E. Bell, T. Denton (currently Toni C. King) and S. Nkomo, in Women in Management: Trends, Issues, and Challenges in Managerial Diversity, Ellen Fagenson (Ed.). Volume 4, Women and Work Series, Newbury Park, Sage Publications, 1993.

“Bonding and supportive relationships among black professional women: Rituals of restoration.” Journal of Organizational Behavior, December 1990, 11: 447-457.