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BLACK GOTHAM A FINALIST FOR AFRICAN-AMERICAN SCHOLARSHIP AWARD

Black Gotham

Carla Peterson's "Black Gotham" is a finalist for the 2012 Frederick Douglass Book Prize.

Congratulations to Carla Peterson whose book, "Black Gotham," was selected as a finalist for the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, one of the most coveted awards for the study of the African-American experience.

Jointly sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute and the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition at Yale University, this annual prize of $25,000 recognizes the best book on slavery, resistance, and/or abolition.

The finalists are: Robin Blackburn for The American Crucible: Slavery, Emancipation and Human Rights (Verso Books), R. Blakeslee Gilpin for John Brown Still Lives: America's Long Reckoning with Violence, Equality, and Change (University of North Carolina Press), Carla L. Peterson for Black Gotham: A Family History of African Americans in Nineteenth-Century New York City (Yale University Press), and James H. Sweet for Domingos Álvares, African Healing, and the Intellectual History of the Atlantic World (University of North Carolina Press).

Carla Peterson’s "Black Gotham" brilliantly reconstructs her own family’s elusive past as a window into free black life in 19th century New York. Part detective tale, part cultural history, Peterson’s book recaptures hidden stories of black abolitionism, economic uplift, Civil War heroism, and turn-of-the-century civil rights movements. By painstakingly reconstructing a segment of black New York, Peterson highlights a vibrant cast of characters who constantly redefined the meaning of both American and African American freedom.

The winner will be announced following the Douglass Prize Review Committee meeting in the fall, and the award will be presented at a celebration in New York City on February 28, 2013.

The Frederick Douglass Book Prize was established in 1999 to stimulate scholarship in the field by honoring outstanding accomplishments. Previous winners are Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan in 1999; David Eltis, 2000; David Blight, 2001; Robert Harms and John Stauffer, 2002; James F. Brooks and Seymour Drescher, 2003; Jean Fagan Yellin, 2004; Laurent Dubois, 2005; Rebecca J. Scott, 2006; Christopher Leslie Brown, 2007; Stephanie Smallwood, 2008; Annette Gordon-Reed, 2009; Siddharth Kara, Judith Carney, and Richard N. Rosomoff, 2010; Stephanie McCurry, 2011.

The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the one-time slave who escaped bondage to emerge as one of the great American abolitionists, reformers, writers, and orators of the nineteenth century.