Publication Date

February 26, 2021

Perspectives Section

AHA Activities

Thanks to a generous donation from the Agentives Fund, the AHA is introducing two awards 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.”

Photo of John Lewis

US House of Representatives/public domain

The John Lewis Award for Public Service to the Discipline of History will be offered annually to recognize individuals outside the ranks of professional historians who have made a significant contribution to the study, teaching, and public understanding of history, in the interest of social justice. The prize replaces the Association’s Roosevelt-Wilson Award for Public Service, which was presented to Congressman Lewis in 2006.

Nominees for the Lewis public service award may include persons who have made a significant contribution to the support and encouragement of history through their actions. Such noteworthy activity may include advocacy for historical work and the importance of history to public culture and social justice, philanthropy, support for organizations that promote history in public life, historic preservation, or other work that cultivates public awareness of history and its value to public culture.

The John Lewis Award for History and Social Justice will be offered annually to recognize a historian for leadership and sustained engagement at the intersection of historical work, public culture, and social justice. Nominees, including both individuals and groups, may include professional historians whose accomplishments exemplify the value of professional historical work to public culture and social justice.

The deadline for submitting nominations for the public service award is April 1, and the deadline for the history and social justice award is May 15. To learn more about the Lewis Prizes visit our Awards & Prizes page.

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