Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize Awarded to Kerri K. Greenidge

The Massachusetts Historical Society (MHS) has awarded the 2020 Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize to Kerri K. Greenidge for her book Black Radical: The Life and Times of William Monroe Trotter, published in 2019 by Liveright. The Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize is given to the best nonfiction work on the history of Massachusetts published during the preceding year. Greenidge will receive the award at an online event on Tuesday, February 9, 2021.

After reviewing 14 submissions that interpret the history of Massachusetts through a wide range of subjects and time periods, the Peter J. Gomes Book Prize selection committee chose Black Radical as the winner this year. The committee notes that the book is “much more than a straight biography” because Greenidge “examines the subtle variation in ideology, beliefs, and tactics among numerous activists and traces both political and personal relationships.” She not only brings Trotter’s contributions to a modern audience but also “reveals the multilayered world of Black Boston and the roots of modern racism in a city that still struggles with the convenient forgetting of this past and the denial of its racist present.” The committee members praised Black Radical for being “a very readable corrective to idealized and simplified descriptions of this time in Massachusetts history” and for “highlighting both the local and national story of race relations from Reconstruction to the Great Depression.”

Greenidge is the director of the American Studies Program at Tufts University and the co-director of the African American Trail Project at the Center for the Study of Race and Democracy. Greenidge earned her Ph.D. in American Studies from Boston University and previously worked as an historian for the Boston African American National Historical Site.

About the Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize
The Peter J. Gomes Memorial Book Prize, for the best nonfiction work on the history of Massachusetts published during the preceding year, honors the memory of a respected Harvard scholar and beloved Fellow of the MHS. Peter J. Gomes (1942-2011) was elected to the MHS in 1976 and joined the Board of Overseers in 2010. He was Plummer Professor of Christian Morals and Pusey Minister in the Memorial Church at Harvard University.