Annette Gordon-Reed

Pulitzer Prize-Winning Historian

Annette Gordon-Reed
  • Mon November 4, 2024 at 8:00 pm

Renowned for her groundbreaking work on the life of Thomas Jefferson, Annette Gordon-Reed is a professor of history at Harvard University, professor of law at Harvard Law School, and the award-winning author of six books. 

Gordon-Reed first rose to prominence when she pushed scholars and the public to take Black people’s versions of history seriously, changing the scholarship on Thomas Jefferson regarding his relationship with Sally Hemings and her children. She was the first Black person to be awarded the Pulitzer Prize for History, was honored with the National Book Award for Nonfiction, and 15 other prizes for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family.

In 2010, she received the National Humanities Medal and a MacArthur “Genius Award.” Her book, Most Blessed of the Patriarchs: Thomas Jefferson and the Empire of the Imagination, presents a provocative character study of Jefferson which challenges much of the scholarly status quo on his portrayal throughout history.

Gordon-Reed is one of the integral voices who who helped Juneteenth, a day of remembrance of the end of legalized slavery in her home state of Texas, to become a national holiday in 2021. Her New York Times bestselling book On Juneteenth is a powerful work of history that weaves together America’s past with personal memoir; it was named one of the best books of the year by The Washington Post, TIME, and NPR. The New York Times calls Gordon-Reed “one of the most important American historians of our time.” Since 2018, she has served as a trustee of the National Humanities Center in Research Triangle Park, NC. She was elected a Member of the American Philosophical Society in 2019. Gordon-Reed was honored in 2022 to have a new elementary school named after her in her hometown of Conroe, Texas.

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