Submissions Are Closed

Deadline: May 15, 2024

Award Type

Award for Scholarly and Professional Distinction

Established in 2021, the prize is offered annually to recognize a historian for leadership and sustained engagement at the intersection of historical work, public culture, and social justice. The prize was established with an endowment gift from the Agentives Fund.

The current prize amount is $1,000.



Nominations will be accepted for individuals and collaborative groups. Nominees may include professional historians whose accomplishments exemplify the value of professional historical work to public culture and social justice.

Application Process

Log into your MY AHA account at and click “Available Application Forms” in the AHA Awards, Grants, and Jobs section. If you don’t have an account, create one for free at If nominating someone else, select the Nominate button and search for the nominee’s existing record or create a new record. (For a group nomination, select one person to be the main nominee and include other names later.)

  1. Fill in the application form, which includes the nominee’s contact information and the names of additional nominees (if group nomination).
  2. Upload an Application Packet as a single PDF. Include the following document:
    • Nomination letter describing the individual’s or group’s contribution to social justice and public culture through historical work
    • One additional letter of support
    • CV (up to 10 pages) or link to equivalent web-based documentation (in case of group, maximum of 5 pages for each nominee)

Nominations not selected in previous years may be resubmitted with updates.

Please Note: Entries must be received by May 15, 2024, to be eligible for the 2024 competition. Entries will not be returned. Recipients will be announced on the AHA website in October 2024 and recognized during a ceremony at the January 2025 AHA annual meeting in New York.

For questions, please contact the Prize Administrator.

Photo of John Lewis
John Lewis

The prize is named in memory of John Lewis (1940–2020), the civil rights leader who represented Georgia with grace and distinction in the United States House of Representatives for 34 years. All of us, insisted Lewis, must “study and learn the lessons of history because humanity has been involved in this soul-wrenching, existential struggle for a very long time.”