Rebecca J. Scott: University of Michigan Professor Wins $25,000 Frederick Douglass Book Prize





NEW YORK, NY (SEPTEMBER 13, 2006) – Rebecca J. Scott, Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and Professor of Law at the University of Michigan has been selected as the winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded for the best book on slavery or abolition. Scott won for her book, Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery (Harvard University Press). The book examines the path to freedom taken by two slave societies and their construction of post-emancipation communities. The prize is awarded by Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.

In addition to Scott, the other two finalists for the prize were Steven Deyle for Carry Me Back: The Domestic Slave Trade in American Life (Oxford University Press); Richard Follett for The Sugar Masters: Planters and Slaves in Louisiana’s Cane World, 1820-1860 (Louisiana State University Press).

The $25,000 annual award is the most generous history prize in the field. The prize will be presented to Scott at a dinner in New York City in February 2007.

This year’s three finalists were selected from a field of nearly 80 entries by a jury of scholars that included Mia Bay (Rutgers University), Larry E. Hudson, Jr. (University of Rochester), and Jane Landers (Vanderbilt University). The winner was selected by a review committee of representatives from the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History, and Yale University.

“Rebecca Scott’s Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery is a worthy recipient of the Frederick Douglass Prize,” said Hudson, Associate Professor of History at the University of Rochester. “Its examination of the political obstacles to black freedom in post-emancipation Cuba and Louisiana provides an innovative and exciting approach to comparative history that will influence the study of the black experience for decades to come.”

The Frederick Douglass Book Prize was established in 1999 to stimulate scholarship in the field of slavery and abolition by honoring outstanding books. Previous winners were 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; and Laurent Dubois, 2005.

The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the slave who escaped bondage to emerge as one of the great American abolitionists, reformers, writers, and orators of the 19th century.

The Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, a part of the Yale Center for International and Area Studies, was launched at Yale in November 1998 through a generous donation by philanthropists Richard Gilder and Lewis Lehrman and the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History. Its mission is to promote the study of all aspects of slavery, in particular the chattel slave system, including African and African-American resistance to enslavement, abolitionist movements and the ways in which chattel slavery finally became outlawed.

In addition to encouraging the highest standards of new scholarship, the GLC is dedicated to the dissemination of knowledge through publications, conferences, educational outreach and other activities. For further information on events and programming, contact the center by phone (203) 432-3339, fax (203) 432-6943, or e-mail gilder.lehrman.center@yale.edu.


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