Former Organization of American Historians presidents receive National Humanities Medal

Three former presidents of the Indiana University-affiliated Organization of American Historians were among the National Humanities Medal recipients honored Monday by President Barack Obama.

oahlogor-black-gray-transp-box-1024pxIn a White House ceremony, the president awarded the 2013 National Arts Medal to 12 individuals and the 2013 National Humanities Medal to nine people and one organization. The humanities medal, inaugurated in 1997, recognizes contributions to the nation’s understanding of the humanities and citizens’ engagement with history, literature, languages and philosophy.

Former OAH presidents recognized Monday include:

  • David Brion Davis, the Sterling Professor of American History Emeritus at Yale University, and founder and director emeritus of Yale’s Gilder Lehrman Center for the Study of Slavery, Resistance and Abolition. An OAH member since 1956, Davis was president in 1988-89. He was cited for “shedding light on the contradiction of a free nation built by forced labor, and his examinations of slavery and abolitionism.”
  • Darlene Clark Hine, professor of African American studies and history at Northwestern University. An OAH member since 1974, she was president in 2001-02 and has served on numerous OAH committees. Her medal citation said she “has examined race, class, and gender and shown how the struggles and successes of African American women shaped the nation we share today.”
  • Anne Firor Scott, the W.K. Boyd Professor of History Emerita at Duke University. Scott, a member of OAH since 1970, was president in 1983-84 and was awarded the organization’s Distinguished Service Award in 2002. “Through groundbreaking research spanning ideology, race, and class, Dr. Scott’s uncharted exploration into the lives of southern women has established women’s history as vital to our understanding of the American South,” her humanities medal citation says.

The Organization of American Historians is an external agency of Indiana University, with offices in the historic Millen House in Bloomington. Founded in 1907, it represents more than 7,800 historians, including professors, high school teachers, archivists, curators, public historians, students and others.

More information is available at the Organization of American Historians website.

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