Announcing the 2023 George and Ann Richards Prize for Best Article

Announcing the 2023 George and Ann Richards Prize for Best Article

Kimberly Welch’s article “The Stability of Fortunes: A Free Black Woman, Her Legacy, and the Legal Archive in Antebellum New Orleans” has been chosen as the recipient of the George and Ann Richards Prize for best article published in The Journal of the Civil War Era by a prize committee drawn from the journal’s editorial board members. The article appeared in the December 2022 special issue, Archives and Nineteenth Century African American History, organized and guest-edited by Leslie M. Harris and Daina Ramey Berry. The $1,000 prize will be announced on the journal’s website and in the December 2023 issue.
The prize committee (Jameson Sweet, Erika Pani, and Wayne Hsieh) unanimously selected the article for the prize. The committee wrote, “A close analysis of a single court case in 1840s New Orleans, ‘The Stability of Fortunes’ sheds new light on African American women, property ownership, and race in the nineteenth century United States. Welch approaches the study through an examination of the court case and its related documents as an intentionally curated archive used and produced by Black Americans for their benefit. Welch reveals a fascinating story of how a successful Black businesswoman used her resources and intentionally created documents to defend and secure her estate for her mixed-race children. After the death of the man who had been her romantic partner for over fifty years, his unscrupulous relatives sought to use her race against her and her children to acquire her estate, yet through the intentional production of numerous documents over the course of her life, she successfully defended her property ownership in court. “The Stability of Fortunes” is an important contribution to the scholarship on free Black Americans and how they navigated American slave society. Welch concludes that a methodological approach in which court records are read as archives reveals strategies and ‘competing intentionalities of their curators’ in such a way that gives us a deeper understanding of these histories.”
Congratulations Professor Welch!

Hilary N. Green

Hilary N. Green is the James B. Duke Professor of Africana Studies at Davidson College. She previously worked in the Department of Gender and Race Studies at the University of Alabama where she developed the Hallowed Grounds Project. She earned her M.A. in History from Tufts University in 2003, and Ph.D. in History from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2010. Her research and teaching interests include the intersections of race, class, and gender in African American history, the American Civil War, Reconstruction, as well as Civil War memory, African American education, and the Black Atlantic. She is the author of Educational Reconstruction: African American Schools in the Urban South, 1865-1890 (Fordham, 2016).

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.