The Lapidus Center Announces Inaugural Harriet Tubman Prize Winner Awarded At The Schomburg

finch-and-rethinking-the-slave-rebellionThe Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery has announced Aisha K. Finch’s Rethinking Slave Rebellion in Cuba: La Escalera and the Insurgencies of 1841-1844 (University of North Carolina Press) as the winner of its first annual Harriet Tubman Prize.

The Harriet Tubman Prize is awarded to the best nonfiction book published in the United States on the slave trade, slavery, and anti-slavery in the Atlantic World.The Harriet Tubman Prize ceremony will be held at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture on December 12, 2016.

A jury of three—Kathleen Bethel, African American Studies Librarian at Northwestern University; Greg Grandin, award-winning Professor of History at New York University; and Charles R. Johnson, award-winning novelist, essayist, playwright and Professor Emeritus of Creative Writing and English at the University of Washington—selected Rethinking Slave Rebellion in Cuba based on the significance of the book’s subject, the quality of the research and writing, and the originality and appeal to an academic and a general audience.  

The esteemed jury described Rethinking Slave Rebellion in Cuba as “a nuanced, deeply researched, and precisely rendered” examination of the underground rebel movement in western CubaThey added, “With a textured reading of the gendered dynamics of the revolt, based on voluminous judicial documents, and a penetrating analysis of the broader social and political consequences of the uprising and its brutal repression, Rethinking Slave Rebellion is both timely and timeless, sure to take its place among the great works on Atlantic World slavery.”  

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“This prize represents the Lapidus Center’s profound commitment to shifting the ways in which we think about fundamental concepts such as ‘the human,’ ‘the modern,’ and ‘the west’,” Finch said. “I am humbled and honored to be a part of this intellectual legacy, especially one that stands on the shoulders of the radical anti-slavery activist Harriet Tubman. I feel enormously privileged to receive a prize that bears her name.”

The Lapidus Center for the Historical Analysis of Transatlantic Slavery is part of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture at The New York Public Library. Its mission is to generate and disseminate scholarly knowledge on the slave trade, slavery, and anti-slavery pertaining to the Atlantic World. More information on the Center can be found at

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