Awards and Honors

Keys to more than two dozen American cities, including New York, Miami, Los Angeles, and New Orleans

Delta Sigma Theta Sorority (Honorary Member)

Seven NAACP Image Awards: for Love Poems; Blues: For All the Changes; Quilting the Black-Eyed Pea; Acolytes; Hip Hop Speaks to Children; 100 Best African American Poems; Bicycles

Life Membership & Scroll, The National Council of Negro Women

Named one of Oprah Winfrey’s 25 Living Legends

Phi Beta Kappa

State Historical markers in Knoxville, Tennessee, and Lincoln Heights, Ohio

The Tennessee Governor's Award in the Arts

Tennessee Governor's Award In the Humanities

Virginia Governor's Award for the Arts

Woman of the Year, Ebony Magazine

Woman of the Year, Ladies Home Journal

Woman of the Year, Mademoiselle Magazine

The Rosa Parks Women of Courage Award, first recipient

American Book Award

Caldecott Honor Book Award

Carl Sandburg Literary Award

Moonbeam Children’s Book Award

Tennessee Writer's Award, The Nashville Banner

The Appalachian Medallion Award

The East Tennessee Writers Hall of Fame Award

The Gwendolyn Brooks Award

The Gwendolyn Brooks/John O. Killens Award

The Langston Hughes Award

ALC Lifetime Achievement Award

Art Sanctuary’s Lifetime Achievement Award

Artist-in-Residence. The Philadelphia Clef Club of Jazz and Performing Arts

Distinguished Visiting Professor, Johnson & Wales University

Duncanson Artist in Residence, The Taft Museum

Poet-In-Residence, Walt Whitman Birthplace Association

The Cecil H. and Ida Green Honors Chair, Texas Christian University

The Hill Visiting Professor, University of Minnesota

Sankofa Freedom Award

The Legacy Award, National Alumni Council United Negro College Fund

The Ohio Women's Hall of Fame

2000 Council of Ideas, The Gihon Foundation

A species of bat named in her honor (Micronycteris giovanniae)

Affrilachian Award

American Library Association's Black Caucus Award for Non-fiction

Ann Fralin Award

Child Magazine Best Children's Book of the Year

Cincinnati Bi-Centennial Honoree

Excellence in Leadership Award from Dominion Power

Finalist, Best Spoken Word Grammy

John Henry "Pop" Lloyd Humanitarian Award

Legends and Legacies Award

Named a HistoryMaker

National Association of Radio and Television Announcers Award for Best Spoken Word Album

National Book Award Nomination for Gemini

National Parenting Publications Gold Award

Outstanding Woman of Tennessee

Parents' Choice Award for The Sun Is So Quiet

Presidential Medal of Honor, Dillard University

The SHero Award for Lifetime Achievement

United States Senate Certificate of Commendation

Woman of the Year, Cincinnati YWCA

Women of Power Legacy Award