Listen Live WZAK Cleveland



Dr. Elaine Richardson aka “Dr. E” is a multidimensional personality: professor, performer, author and mentor are just a few of the ways she gives back and gives thanks. Her message is empowerment through education, and knowledge of self and history. Her motto is: “Ignorance, low self-esteem and shame are killers. When you know who you are, nobody can control you.” She credits the undying love of her mother and education with saving her life from a cycle of drug-addiction, abusive pimps, and the dangerous life of teen aged and young adult sex-trafficking on the streets of Cleveland.

Richardson re-enrolled into Cleveland State University, in 1987. The road was not easy, especially as a single mom of three small children, but with the help of family, mentors, tutors and academic advisors, Richardson allowed her frustration to propel her efforts, graduating with undergraduate and graduate degrees in English from Cleveland State University in 1991 and 1993. She was awarded a minority doctoral fellowship under the guidance of her academic mentor, Geneva Smitherman, one of the foremost linguists in the country, and in 1996, Richardson graduated with a doctorate in English and Applied Linguistics from Michigan State University.

Author of three books, and co-author of three others on academic studies of American Black-language patterns, Elaine Richardson has taught at both The University of Minnesota, and The Pennsylvania State University before returning to Ohio in 2007 to accept a full professorship in Literacy Studies in the College of Education and Human Ecology at The Ohio State University and pen her memoir to encourage others to take their rightful places in the world: PHD to Ph.D.: How Education Saved My Life (New City Community Press).

In addition to her life as an author and academician, Dr. E is a songwriter, recording artist, and performer. She has had some of her music played on daytime television shows. In 2010, she released her first solo recording Elevated, which was nominated for a Soultracks best new artist award. She is currently touring the country performing a one-woman show based on her memoir and forthcoming recording Songs for the Struggle from her independent label “Give Us Free” Records. Dr. E is also a motivational speaker and lecturer.

Dr. E has won many awards: The Ohio State University Community Cultural Icon Award, 2013; National Council of Negro Women, Community Service Award, 2012; Outstanding Woman of Columbus, 2011; Cleveland State University Distinguished Alumni, 2007; TRiO Achiever Award, Mid-America Association of Educational Opportunity Program Personnel (MAEOPP), 2006; Edward Fry Book Award, National Reading Conference for, African American Literacies, 2005; Fulbright lecturing/researcher in the Department of Literature in English at the University of the West Indies, Mona, Jamaica, 2004; National Communication Association Book Award for edited collection with Ronald L. Jackson, Understanding African American Rhetoric: Classical Origins to Contemporary Innovations, 2004.

Dr. E’s professional memberships include the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE), The Conference on College Composition

and Communication (CCCC), The National Women’s Studies Association (NWSA), Committee of Linguists of African Descent (CLAD), Broadcast Music, Inc (BMI); She is a board member of the Foundation for the African Diaspora, focusing on the self-sustainability and education of people of African descent. Dr. E has been featured in the Cleveland Plain Dealer, Call & Post, Columbus Dispatch, Phenomenal Woman Magazine, WEWS Kaleidoscope with Leon Bibb, The Pittsburgh Courier, Syracuse Post-Standard, Springfield News-Leader, Altoona Mirror, State College Magazine, among others. She has also been recognized by Who’s Who in Black Cleveland and Columbus. Her memoir, PHD (Po H# on Dope) to Ph.D., was nominated for best non-fiction, by the AfricanAmerican Literary Awards Show in 2013. Dr. E is the founder of The Ohio State University’s Hiphop Literacies Conference, as well as founder of the SisterFriends Afterschool Program,focusing on the literacy education of Black girls at Sherwood Middle School in Columbus, Ohio, and co-funded by the Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs. Dr. E is a proud alumnus of Cleveland East Technical High School, where she actively raises funds for scholarships through benefit concerts, donating profits from her CDs and book sales. For more on Dr. E visit

Also On 93.1 WZAK:
10 Times Meghan Markle Gave Us Duchess Of Sussex Glamour
10 photos