The Society of Civil War Historians and the Watson-Brown Foundation are proud to announce that Amy Murrell Taylor is the recipient of the Tom Watson Brown Book Award. Dr. Taylor, Associate Professor at the University of Kentucky, earned the award for Embattled Freedom: Journeys Through the Civil War’s Slave Refugee Camps which was published in 2018 by the University of North Carolina Press. The $50,000 award is funded by the Watson-Brown Foundation in honor of the broadcaster, philanthropist, and Civil War enthusiast Tom Watson Brown. In making its selection, the prize committee praised Taylor for her “original, nuanced view of slave refugee camps and the relationship of the US Army to the process of emancipation.” Offering a “detailed spatial analysis of the camps” along with compelling stories “about the fate of so-called contraband slaves”, Embattled Freedom, the prize committee explains, “is one of the very best books written in the field of Civil War studies in the last decade and perhaps longer than that.”
The Watson Brown Book Award jury consisted of Carole Emberton, Associate Professor, University at Buffalo; Ari Kelman, Chancellor’s Leadership Professor of History at the University of California at Davis; Joshua Rothman, Professor, University of Alabama; and Tad Brown, President of the Watson-Brown Foundation, Inc. Tad Brown will present the award to Dr. Taylor at the Tom Watson Brown Book Award dinner, which will be held on November 8 at the Southern Historical Association’s annual meeting in Louisville, Kentucky.