Black Scholar Wins 2008 National Book Award

Annette Gordon-Reed, a professor of law at New York University and a professor of history at Rutgers University, won the 2008 National Book Award for her nonfiction work, The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. Gordon-Reed’s book traces the origins of the Hemings family of slaves from seventeenth-century Virginia to their sale after the death of Thomas Jefferson.

Professor Gordon-Reed’s earlier book, Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemings: An American Controversy, speculated that the nation’s third president had fathered at least one child with his slave Sally Hemings. A year after the publication of her book, DNA evidence came forth that confirmed a genetic link between Jefferson and Hemings’ youngest child.

Gordon-Reed is a graduate of Dartmouth College and Harvard Law School.