In the Shadow of Slavery: Africa’s Botanical Legacy in the Atlantic World, by Judith A. Carney and Richard Nicholas Rosomoff, has been named the winner of the Twelfth Annual Frederick Douglass Book Prize, one of the most coveted awards for the study of the African-American experience. Carney and Rosomoff will share the $25,000 award with Siddharth Kara, who won for his book, Sex Trafficking: Inside the Business of Modern Slavery (Columbia University Press). The prize is given by Yale University’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance, and Abolition, sponsored by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History.
Martha Hodes, the 2010 Douglass Prize Jury Chair and Professor of History at New York University, said that “In the Shadow of Slavery tells the fascinating story of how enslaved Africans shaped and changed the landscape of the New World. With remarkable originality, the authors reveal how the men and women of the Middle Passage wielded their agricultural experience as part of the unending struggle to control their own lives. Interpreting archival evidence with both rigor and creativity, Carney and Rosomoff explore the provisioning of slave ships, the transfer and diffusion of African horticultural knowledge, the botanical gardens of slaves, and the gastronomic legacies of black slavery, among many other intriguing topics. Comprehensive and compelling, this is a work of truly global dimensions that narrates the ordeal of enslavement as a simultaneous story of food, memory, and survival.”
The award is named for Frederick Douglass (1818–1895), the man who escaped slavery and emerged as one of the great American abolitionists, reformers, writers, and orators of the nineteenth century. It is the most generous history prize in its field, awarding $25,000 annually to the year’s best non-fiction book on slavery, resistance, and/or abolition.