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26583: Laurent Dubois Wins Frederick Douglass Book Prize (fwd)
From: P D Bellegarde-Smith <email@example.com>
From: Matthew Smith University of the West Indies
Book by Laurent Dubois Wins $25,000 Frederick Douglass Prize
New Haven, Conn. - Yale University's Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study
of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition recently announced that it has
awarded the Seventh Annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize to Laurent
Dubois for his study of the trans-cultural struggle over slavery and
citizenship in the revolutionary French Caribbean.
Dubois, associate professor at Michigan State University, will be
awarded the prize for his book "A Colony of Citizens: Revolution and
Slave Emancipation in the French Caribbean, 1787-1804" (A Colony of
Citizens was published for the Omohundro Institute of Early American
History and Culture, Williamsburg, Virginia, by the University of North
Carolina Press). Focusing on the island of Guadeloupe, Dubois explores
the slave revolts there that brought about the 1794 abolition of
slavery. His historical account sheds new light on the contradictory
ways this emancipation developed, leading to its ultimate reversal in
the early 19th century. On a broader scale, he examines how
slaves-turned-citizens both experienced and shaped the transformations
of the age.
The $25,000 annual award for the year's best non-fiction book on
slavery, resistance and/or abolition, is the most generous history prize
in the field, and the most respected and coveted of the major awards for
the study of the black experience. The prize will be awarded at a dinner
at the Yale Club of New York on February 23, 2006, as the capstone of
Black History Month.
David W. Blight, director of the Gilder Lehrman Center, commented:
"Laurent Dubois's 'Colony of Citizens' is a complex, fascinating story
of slave resistance in the Caribbean. The book is deeply researched in
French archival sources, in ethnographical and anthropological sources
and even in maps and imaginative fiction. With a focus on how the
Haitian Revolution spread to Guadaloupe, Dubois transforms a seemingly
local story into a much larger one - about how the French Revolution
itself was in part rooted in the slave systems of the West Indies.
Dubois convincingly shows that slaves and free persons of color
interpreted and converted republicanism to their own ends - the claim of
citizenship in the French empire - only to have their freedom crushed
again in re-enslavement."
Commented John David Smith, the Charles H. Stone Distinguished Professor
of American History at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte and
chair of the Frederick Douglass Prize jury: "Not since C.L.R. James in
his 'The Black Jacobins' (1938), has a scholar examined the broad nexus
of revolution, slavery and emancipation as creatively and as powerfully
as Dubois. 'A Colony of Citizens' is a decidedly original, path-breaking
and incredibly well-researched work that positions slavery,
emancipation, re-enslavement and then eventual re-emancipation in
Guadeloupe within an international framework and suggests the complex
fruits of emancipation in the French Caribbean and the Atlantic World. .
. .This gracefully written, carefully argued and well-documented book
has important implications that transcend the time period Dubois
examines and the specific events he analyzes."
Four other books were singled out as finalists: "The Price of Liberty:
African Americans and the Making of Liberia," by Claude A. Clegg III
(University of North Carolina Press), "Israel on the Appomattox: A
Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil
War," by Melvin Patrick Ely (Knopf Publishers), "Ouidah: The Social
History of a West African Slaving 'Port' 1727-1892," by Robin Law (Ohio
University Press) and "The Sounds of Slavery: Discovering African
American History through Songs, Sermons and Speech," by Shane White and
Graham White (Beacon Press).
This year's winning book was selected from a field of nearly 70 entries
by a jury of scholars that included Colin Palmer (Princeton University)
and Deborah White (Rutgers University) in addition to Smith.
The Frederick Douglass Prize was established in 1999 to stimulate
scholarship in the field by honoring outstanding accomplishments.
Previous winners were Ira Berlin and Philip D. Morgan, 1999; David
Eltis, 2000; David Blight, 2001; Robert Harms and John Stauffer, 2002;
James F. Brooks and Seymour Drescher, 2003; Jean Fagan Yellin, 2004.
Editor's Note: cross-posted with H-SLAVERY