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Michigan State Professor Wins $25,000

Michigan State Professor Wins $25,000
Frederick Douglass Book Prize

Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition recently awarded the Seventh Annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize to Dr. Laurent Dubois for his study of the trans-cultural struggle over slavery and citizenship in the revolutionary French Caribbean.

Dubois, associate professor of history 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 (University of North Carolina Press). Focusing on the C island of Guadeloupe, Dubois explores the slave revolts that brought about the 1794 abolition of slavery there. 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 Feb. 23, as the capstone of Black History Month.

“Dubois convincingly shows that slaves and free persons of color interpreted and converted republicanism to their own ends only to have their freedom crushed again in re-enslavement,” says Dr. David W. Blight, director of the center.

“Not since C.L.R. James in The Black Jacobins, has a scholar examined the broad nexus of revolution, slavery and emancipation as creatively and as powerfully as Dubois,” says Dr. 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. “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.”

This year’s winning book was selected from a field of nearly 70 entries by a jury of scholars that included Dr. Colin Palmer (Princeton University) and Dr. Deborah White (Rutgers University).

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