Wednesday, November 18, 2020

Sutherland Prize to Newman for "Freedom-Seeking Slaves in England and Scotland, 1700-1780"

Here's another prize announcement from the recent meeting of the American Society for Legal History: the Sutherland Prize, for "the best article on the legal history of Britain and/or the British Empire published in the previous year," went to Simon P. Newman (University of Glasgow), for "Freedom-Seeking Slaves in England and Scotland, 1700–1780," English Historical Review 134 (2019) pp. 1136-1168. Here's the formal citation:

Simon P. Newman’s ‘Freedom-Seeking Slaves in England and Scotland, 1700–1780’ explores the experience of enslaved Africans who were brought to Britain in the eighteenth century from North America. It demonstrates that in a society where the legal status of slaves was unsettled - even after landmark cases such as Somerset v. Stewart - the lives of Africans brought to England remained precarious. Using newspaper accounts, legal records and visual sources, it shows how familiar the British were with the buying and selling of slaves or the use of the press to offer rewards for the return of those who had run away. In so doing, this
pathbreaking article sheds important new light on the experience of slave lives in England and Scotland, and how the very ambiguity of English law allowed owners to continue to treat as their enslaved servants as property.

An honorable mention went to Emily Kadens (Northwestern University) for "Cheating Pays," Columbia Law Review 119 (2019) pp. 527-589.

The members of this year's selection committee were Michael Lobban (chair), Paul Halliday, Allyson May, Paul McHugh, and Philip Stern.

-- Karen Tani