The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH) will award an annual prize to recognize an outstanding book in the field of African American history and culture beginning in February 2021. A call for submissions went out in Spring 2020 and the selection committee received over sixty eligible books, all of which engaged archival sources while representing many disciplinary and interdisciplinary orientations.
In broad term, the ASALH Book Prize committee is interested in monographs that model rigorous and imaginative approaches to this field of study; books that are beautifully written; books that have clear implications for how we teach and represent specific aspects of African American history and culture; books that have the capacity to introduce important aspects of African American experiences to broad publics; books that use sharp analyses of African American history and culture to speak boldly to the contemporary moment; books that engage new and/or previously underutilized archives; and books that use particular experiences in African American history and culture to illuminate universal aspects of the human experience.
For the inaugural year, the ASALH Book Prize selection committee includes five jurors: Ula Taylor, University of California-Berkeley; Gerald Horne, University of Houston; Kellie Carter-Jackson, Wellesley College; Elizabeth Todd-Breland, University of Illinois-Chicago; and Christopher Tinson, Saint Louis University. This selection committee received and read sixty-one books and have chosen five finalists (listed below). Congratulations to all the finalists for their outstanding work!
- Daina Ramey Berry & Kali Gross, A Black Women’s History of the United States, Boston: Beacon Press, 2020
- William Darity, Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-First Century, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020
- Aston Gonzalez, Visualizing Equality: African American Rights and Visual Culture in the Nineteenth Century, Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2020
- Shana Redmond, Everything Man: The Form and Function of Paul Robeson, Durham: Duke University Press, 2020
- Quito Swan, Pauulu’s Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environment Justice, Gainesville: University Press of Florida, 2020
The inaugural winner(s) of the ASALH Book Prize will be announced on February 10, during ASALH’s 2021 Black History Month Virtual Festival. Additionally, the winning author(s) will be featured in a virtual book roundtable hosted by ASALH-TV in April 2021.