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Law Professor Wins Pulitzer Prize

Hemingses The 2009 Pulitzer Prize for history was awarded this week to Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of law at New York Law School. Gordon-Reed won the $10,000 prize for her book, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family, which the prize committee described as "a painstaking exploration of a sprawling multi-generation slave family that casts provocative new light on the relationship between Sally Hemings and her master, Thomas Jefferson."

The Harvard Law School graduate also won the 2008 National Book Award for the book, her second on the relationship between Hemings and Jefferson. Her first book, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, published in 1997, explored the possibility of their relationship without taking a definitive position on whether it was true. When DNA tests later confirmed a genetic link between Jefferson and Hemings' youngest child, Gordon-Reed rewrote the first book's introduction.

Also a professor of history at Rutgers University in Newark, Gordon-Reed is now working on a third volume in this series, according to the Star-Ledger. It traces the Hemings family history into the 20th century. She has published two other books, Vernon Can Read!: A Memoir, a profile of civil rights leader Vernon Jordan written together with him, and Race on Trial: Law and Justice in American History, in which she edits 12 original essays that illustrate how race determined the outcome of trials.

Gordon-Reed started her career as an associate at Cahill Gordon & Reindel and as counsel to the New York City Board of Corrections. She is a 1981 graduate of Dartmouth College and was a member of the Law Review at Harvard.

Posted by Robert J. Ambrogi on April 22, 2009 at 01:04 PM | Permalink | Comments (3)


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