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.

2023 Frederick Douglass Book Prize Winners

The twenty-fifth annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize is shared by two scholars: R. Isabela Morales for Happy Dreams of Liberty: An American Family in Slavery and Freedom (Oxford University Press) and Simon P. Newman for Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London (University of London Press).

R. Isabela Morales, who received her PhD from Princeton, is a public historian and the education and exhibit manager at the Stoutsburg Sourland African American Museum.

Simon P. Newman is emeritus professor of history at the University of Glasgow and is currently a research fellow at the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin.

The winners will be presented with their awards at a ceremony sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute at Trinity Church in New York City on February 28, 2024. Please write to events@gilderlehrman.org to inquire about attending.

Submissions

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.

Books with a copyright date between January 1, 2023, and December 31, 2023, are eligible for consideration for the 2024 Frederick Douglass Book Prize. Entries will be accepted from February 6 until May 1, 2024. For further details on submission requirements, visit the GLC website or write to gilder.lehrman.center@yale.edu with the subject heading: FDBP 2024.


Frederick Douglass Book Prize Winners

2023
R. Isabela Morales
Happy Dreams of Liberty: An American Family in Slavery and Freedom (Oxford University Press)

Simon P. Newman
Freedom Seekers: Escaping from Slavery in Restoration London (University of London Press)

2022
Tiya Miles
All That She Carried: The Journey of Ashley’s Sack, a Black Family Keepsake (Random House)

Jennifer L. Morgan
Reckoning with Slavery: Gender, Kinship, and Capitalism in the Early Black Atlantic (Duke University Press)

2021
Vincent Brown
Tacky’s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War (The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)

Marjoleine Kars
Blood on the River: A Chronicle of Mutiny and Freedom on the Wild Coast (The New Press)

2020
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)

2019
Amy Murrell Taylor
Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps (University of North Carolina Press)

2018
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)

2017
Manisha Sinha
The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition (Yale University Press)

2016
Jeff Forret
Slave against Slave: Plantation Violence in the Old South (Louisiana State University Press)

2015
Ada Ferrer
Freedom’s Mirror: Cuba and Haiti in the Age of Revolution (Cambridge University Press)

2014
Christopher Hager
Word by Word: Emancipation and the Act of Writing (Harvard University Press)

2013
Sydney Nathans
To Free a Family: The Journey of Mary Walker (Harvard University Press)

2012
James Sweet
Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (University of North Carolina Press)

2011
Stephanie McCurry
Confederate Reckoning: Power and Politics in the Civil War South (Harvard University Press)

2010
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)

2009
Annette Gordon-Reed
The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family (W. W. Norton)

2008
Stephanie E. Smallwood
Saltwater Slavery: A Middle Passage from Africa to American Diaspora (Harvard University Press)

2007
Christopher Leslie Brown
Moral Capital: Foundations of British Abolitionism (Omohundro Institute of Early American History and Culture and University of North Carolina Press)

2006
Rebecca J. Scott
Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery (Harvard University Press)

2005
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)

2004
Jean Fagan Yellin
Harriet Jacobs: A Life (Basic Civitas Books)

2003
Seymour Drescher
The Mighty Experiment: Free Labor versus Slavery in British Emancipation (Oxford University Press)

2002
Robert W. Harms
The Diligent: A Voyage Through the Worlds of the Slave Trade (Basic Books)

2001
David W. Blight
Race and Reunion: The Civil War in American Memory (Harvard University Press)

2000
David Eltis
The Rise of African Slavery in the Americas (Cambridge University Press)

1999
Ira Berlin
Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in North America (Harvard University Press)

Philip Morgan
Slave Counterpoint: Black Culture in the Eighteenth-Century Chesapeake and Lowcountry (University of North Carolina Press)

 

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