Liberty Legacy Foundation Award

Recognizing the best book by a historian on the civil rights struggle from the beginnings of the nation to the present.



Inspired by OAH President Darlene Clark Hine’s call in her 2002 OAH presidential address for more research on the origins of the civil rights movement in the period before 1954, the Liberty Legacy Foundation Award is given annually by the Organization of American Historians to the author of the best book by a historian on the civil rights struggle from the beginnings of the nation to the present.


Each entry must be published during the period January 1, 2024, through December 31, 2024.

Submission Process

One copy of each entry, clearly labeled “2025 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award Entry,” must be mailed directly to the committee members listed below. Each committee member must receive all submissions postmarked by October 1, 2024.

Bound page proofs may be used for books to be published after October 1, 2024, and before January 1, 2025. If a bound page proof is submitted, a bound copy of the book must be received by each committee member and postmarked no later than January 7, 2025.

Please mail submissions to the committee members listed below:

Gordon Mantler, George Washington University, chair
Robyn Spencer-Antoin, Wayne State University
Carl Suddler, Emory University

Addresses to come.

Past Winners


Christina Greene, University of Wisconsin, Madison. Free Joan Little: The Politics of Race, Sexual Violence, and Imprisonment 


Mia Bay, University of Pennsylvania, Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance (Belknap Press of Harvard University Press)


Johanna Fernández, Baruch College of the City University of New York, The Young Lords: A Radical History (The University of North Carolina Press)

Honorable Mention: Quito J. Swan, University of Massachusetts Boston, Pauulu’s Diaspora: Black Internationalism and Environmental Justice (University Press of Florida)


Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, Princeton University, Race for Profit: How Banks and the Real Estate Industry Undermined Black Home Ownership (The University of North Carolina Press)


Martha S. Jones, The Johns Hopkins University, Birthright Citizens: A History of Race and Rights in Antebellum America (Cambridge University Press)


Ula Yvette Taylor, University of California, Berkeley, The Promise of Patriarchy: Women and the Nation of Islam (University of North Carolina Press)


Russell Rickford, Cornell University, We Are an African People: Independent Education, Black Power, and the Radical Imagination(Oxford University Press)

Honorable Mention: Elizabeth Hinton, Harvard University, From the War on Poverty to the War on Crime: The Making of Mass Incarceration in America (Harvard University Press)


Tanisha C. Ford, University of Massachusetts, Amherst, Liberated Threads: Black Women, Style, and the Global Politics of Soul(University of North Carolina Press)


N. D. B. Connolly, Johns Hopkins University, A World More Concrete: Real Estate and the Remaking of Jim Crow South Florida (The University of Chicago Press)


Susan D. Carle, American University, Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880–1915 (Oxford University Press)


Andrew W. Kahrl, Marquette University, The Land Was Ours: African American Beaches from Jim Crow to the Sunbelt South (Harvard University Press)


Tomiko Brown-Nagin, University of Virginia, Courage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Rights Movement (Oxford University Press)


Chad L. Williams, Hamilton College, Torchbearers of Democracy: African American Soldiers in the World War I Era (University of North Carolina Press)


Beryl Satter, Rutgers University at Newark, Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America(Metropolitan Books)


Chris Myers Asch, U.S. Public Service Academy, The Senator and the Sharecropper: The Freedom Struggles of James O. Eastland and Fannie Lou Hamer (The New Press)


Michael Honey, University of Washington, Going Down Jericho Road: The Memphis Strike, Martin Luther King’s Last Campaign (W.W. Norton & Company)

Kent Germany, University of South Carolina, New Orleans After the Promises: Poverty, Citizenship, and the Search for a Great Society(University of Georgia Press)

Laurie Green, University of Texas, Austin, Battling the Plantation Mentality: Memphis and the Black Freedom Struggle (University of North Carolina Press)


Thomas F. Jackson, University of North Carolina Greensboro, From Civil Rights to Human Rights: Martin Luther King, Jr. and the Struggle for Economic Justice (University of Pennsylvania Press)


Matthew J. Countryman, University of Michigan, Up South: Civil Rights and Black Power in Philadelphia (University of Pennsylvania Press)

Honorable Mention: Emilye Crosby, State University of New York, Geneseo, A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi (University of North Carolina Press)


Nikhil Pal Singh, University of Washington, Seattle, Black is a Country: Race and the Unfinished Struggle for Democracy (Harvard University Press)


Robert Rodgers Korstad, Duke University, Civil Rights Unionism: Tobacco Workers and the Struggle for Democracy in the Mid-twentieth Century South (University of North Carolina Press)

Barbara Ransby, The University of Illinois at Chicago, Ella Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision(University of North Carolina Press)


J. Mills Thornton III, University of Michigan, Dividing Lines: Municipal Politics and the Struggle for Civil Rights in Montgomery, Birmingham, and Selma (University of Alabama Press)

Finalists for the inaugural year (2003) of the award are:

Greta De Jong, A Different Day: African American Struggles for Justice in Rural Louisiana, 1900–1970 (University of North Carolina Press)

Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz, Outlaw Woman: A Memoir of the War Years, 1960–1975 (City Lights)

Barbara Mills, “Got My Mind Set on Freedom” Maryland’s Story of Black and White Activism, 1663–2000 (Heritage Books, Inc.)

Jerald E. Podair, The Strike that Changed New York: Blacks, Whites, and the Ocean Hill-Brownsville Crisis (Yale University Press)

Mark Robert Schneider, “We Return Fighting”: The Civil Rights Movement in the Jazz Age (Northeastern University Press)

John D. Skrentny, The Minority Rights Revolution (Belnkap Press of Harvard University Press)