The Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., Prize

Father Cyprian Davis gesturing with his right hand while speaking at a lecturn
Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B.

In partnership with the American Catholic Historical Association, the Cushwa Center has established the Cyprian Davis, O.S.B., Prize recognizing works in progress that promise to make significant contributions to the study of the Black Catholic experience in North America and the Caribbean from the colonial period to the 20th century.

This prize celebrates the life and legacy of Father Cyprian Davis, O.S.B. (1930–2015), a Benedictine monk of Saint Meinrad Archabbey in Indiana, respected academic, and beloved teacher and lecturer. Father Davis served as archivist for the National Black Catholic Clergy Caucus, of which he was a founding member in 1968. Among his six books, The History of Black Catholics in the United States (Crossroad, 1990) won the John Gilmary Shea Prize for its groundbreaking contribution. Father Davis’ comprehensive history helped restore the stories of Black Catholics to the writing and teaching of U.S. Catholic history and continues to inspire new scholarship on African American Catholicism. 

The center invites applications from scholars of any academic discipline. In addition to receiving a cash award of $1,000, each year's prize winner is invited to the annual meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association to be recognized along with other honorees of the association. 

Application Procedures

Please submit an application form with the following documents attached:

  1. current curriculum vitae;
  2. 1,000-word project description, including plans for publication.

Applications must be submitted with required materials by December 31, 2024.


Applicants will be notified by early March and will be invited to the annual meeting of the American Catholic Historical Association taking place the following January.


Prize recipients will be asked to:

  1. participate in an interview about their project and/or provide the center with a short report on the results of their research;
  2. acknowledge the prize in all publications which result from their research;
  3. notify the Cushwa Center of any publication benefiting from the prize.

Application form