During a ceremony at the White House on February 25, President Barack Obama presented Visiting Professor Annette Gordon-Reed with a 2009 National Humanities Medal. The medal honors individuals whose “work has deepened the nation’s understanding of the humanities, broadened our citizens’ engagement with the humanities, or helped preserve and expand Americans’ access to important resources in the humanities.” Gordon-Reed was selected for her "important and innovative research about an American family, the Hemingses of Monticello. Her narrative story about Sally Hemings and her relatives, Thomas Jefferson’s slaves, brings to light a previously unrecognized chapter in the American story."

Gordon-Reed was also honored later the same night in New York City; she was awarded the 2009 Frederick Douglass Book Prize for The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family. The $25,000 award goes to the most outstanding nonfiction book published in English on the subject of slavery and/or abolition and antislavery movements. It is given by the Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition, which is part of Yale University's Whitney and Betty MacMillan Center for International and Area Studies.

On March 18, the New York Historical Society will host "An Evening with Annette Gordon-Reed," part of their three-lecture series "Great Historians and Their Influences" which "provides a singular look at the true giants of the field and how their passion for history began." Gordon-Reed's lecture will round out the series, which also featured Walter Isaacson and Simon Schama.

Gordon-Reed's current projects include a sequel to The Hemingses of Monticello, which also won a 2009 Pulitzer Prize, and a biography of Andrew Johnson, which is set to be published in the fall of 2010.

Watch full video of the event from the White House.

Posted on March 2, 2010