University of Kentucky’s Amy Murrell Taylor Wins the Frederick Douglass Book Prize

Amy Murrell Taylor, the T. Marshall Hahn, Jr. Professor in the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Kentucky has been awarded the prestigious Frederick Douglass Book Prize. The award is presented annually by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History and the Gilder Lehrman Center for Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition at Yale University.

Dr. Taylor was honored for her book Embattled Freedom: Journeys through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps (University of North Carolina Press, 2018). The book is a study of the many thousands of men, women, and children who fled slavery and sought refuge behind the lines of the Union army during the American Civil War. It explores what their day-to-day experiences in military-supervised camps.

Manisha Sinha, the James L. and Shirley A. Draper Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut and chair of the prize jury, noted that the book “is both beautifully written and an extraordinary contribution to the history of emancipation and the American Civil War. Taylor’s analysis of the ‘politics of survival’ — securing work, finding shelter, battling hunger, clothing bodies and keeping faith — makes this book a masterwork of research and narration.” Dr. Taylor’s book was one of 72 works nominated for the award.

The Frederick Douglass Book Prize was established in 1999 and recognizes the best book published in English on slavery, resistance or abolition. Professor Taylor will be honored and receive a $25,000 prize at a ceremony in New York City in February.

A native of Rockville, Maryland, Professor Taylor received a bachelor’s degree in history from Duke University and a master’s degree and Ph.D. from the University of Virginia.

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