Prof. Tamika Nunley's book wins multiple prizes

Tamika Nunley, associate professor of history in the College of Arts & Sciences, has received two awards for her book, “At the Threshold of Liberty: Women, Slavery, and Shifting Identities in Washington, D.C.” (University of North Carolina Press, 2021).

Nunley received the Letitia Woods Brown Book Prize from the Association of Black Women Historians, awarded annually to the best book published in the preceding year on the subject of African American women’s history.

“To receive an award named in honor of Letitia Woods Brown, one of the most prolific scholars of African American history and Washington, D.C. makes this recognition particularly meaningful to me. The Association of Black Women Historians is a scholarly home for me, and there’s no greater privilege than to be read by scholars you deeply admire,” Nunley said.

Nunley's book has also received the 2022 Pauli Murray Prize for best book in Black Intellectual History from the African American Intellectual Historical Society. 

"At the Threshold of Liberty" explores how African American women throughout American history navigated the oppressive restrictions placed upon them. Using primary sources such as government documents and memoirs, Nunley traced the path that Black women took in navigating legal and social proscriptions to develop their own sense of liberty.

The AAIHS said that Nunley's book "is not merely a history that brings to light those who were invisible in the narrative before...With stories drawn from meticulous research of letters, memoirs, abolitionist papers, and more, Nunley transforms the narrative of 19th century American history into one determined by both free and enslaved Black women."

In her forthcoming book, “The Demands of Justice: Enslaved Women, Capital Crime, and Clemency in Early Virginia, 1662-1865” (University of North Carolina Press), Nunley examines clemency for enslaved women in Virginia through the end of the Civil War, illuminating a system that upheld the rule of law via legal paternalism. 

Nunley serves on the editorial boards of the Civil War History journal and the Journal of Southern History. Her work has been supported by the Andrew Mellon and Woodrow Wilson foundations as well as the American Association of University Women and the Bright Institute Fellowship.

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		Tamika Nunley