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Updated 11:00 AM October 9, 2006




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Scott honored for volume on post-emancipation obstacles to freedom for slaves

Rebecca J. Scott, the Charles Gibson Distinguished University Professor of History and a professor of law, has been selected as the winner of the Frederick Douglass Book Prize, awarded for the best book on slavery or abolition.
(Photo by Lin Jones, U-M Photo Services)

Scott's "Degrees of Freedom: Louisiana and Cuba after Slavery" (Harvard University Press) examines the path to freedom taken by two slave societies and their construction of post-emancipation communities.

The $25,000 prize, the most generous of its kind in the field, 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. The prize will be presented to Scott at a dinner in New York City in February 2007.

"An author's fondest wish, of course, is that a book will find its widest possible audience," Scott says of the award. "Hearing a prize announcement is a bit like having the band strike up a small trumpet fanfare. With any luck, some potential readers will look for the book to see what the fuss is about."

Three finalists were selected from a field of nearly 80 entries. The winner was chosen 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," says Larry E. Hudson Jr., member of the committee and 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. 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.

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