Frederick Douglass Book Prize

In partnership with the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, the Institute awards an annual prize of $25,000 for an outstanding non-fiction book in English published on the subject of slavery, resistance, and/or abolition. The prize was first awarded in 1999 to Ira Berlin and Philip Morgan.

We are interested in all geographical areas and time periods. Please note that works related to the Civil War are acceptable only if their primary focus relates to slavery or emancipation. Publishers and authors are invited to submit books that meet these criteria.

Only books copyrighted in 2020 will be considered for the 2021 award. The submission deadline typically is at the end of March. The winning book will be announced in December 2021 and the prize awarded at a celebration in February 2022. Please contact the Gilder Lehrman Center at for more information.

For information on attending the next Frederick Douglass Book Prize event, please email

Frederick Douglass Book Prize Winners

Sophie White
Voices of the Enslaved: Love, Labor, and Longing in French Louisiana (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and the University of North Carolina Press)

Amy Murrell Taylor
Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps (University of North Carolina Press)

Erica Armstrong Dunbar

Never Caught: The Washingtons’ Relentless Pursuit of Their Runaway Slave, Ona Judge (37Ink/Atria Books)

Tiya Miles
The Dawn of Detroit: A Chronicle of Slavery and Freedom in the City of the Straits (The New Press)

Manisha Sinha

The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press)

Jeff Forret

Slave against Slave: Plantation Violence in the Old South (Louisiana State University Press)

Ada Ferrer

Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press)

Christopher Hager
Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing (Harvard University Press)

Sydney Nathans
To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker (Harvard University Press)

James Sweet
Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (University of North Carolina Press)

Stephanie McCurry
Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard University Press)

Judith A. Carney & Richard Nicholas Rosomoff
In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World (University of California Press)

Siddharth Kara
Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery (Columbia University Press)

Annette Gordon-Reed
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W. W. Norton)

Stephanie E. Smallwood
Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Harvard University Press)

Christopher Leslie Brown
Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and University of North Carolina Press)

Rebecca J. Scott
Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery (Harvard University Press)

Laurent Dubois
A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787–1804 (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and University of North Carolina Press)

Jean Fagan Yellin
Harriet Jacobs: A Life (Basic Civitas Books)

Seymour Drescher
The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor versus Slavery in British Emancipation (Oxford University Press)

Robert W. Harms
The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade (Basic Books)

David W. Blight
Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Harvard University Press)

David Eltis
The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge University Press)

Ira Berlin
Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (Harvard University Press)