Ethnic Studies Professor Dr. Christopher Lehman is the winner of the 2020 Minnesota Book Award for Minnesota Nonfiction for “Slavery’s Reach”.
“Slavery’s Reach: Southern Slaveholders in the North Star State” brings light to the hidden history of Minnesota’s complicity in building slaveholder wealth.
The book takes a look at how Minnesotans invited slaveholders to bring their wealth into the new state from before statehood until the Civil War. Dozens of southern slaveholders, or those raised in slave-holding families, purchased land in the state and invested in Minnesota businesses, institutions and communities. It details how their investments in Minnesota in turn supported their plantations in the South.
The Minnesota Book Awards recognize the best works by Minnesota authors and is organized by the Friends of the St. Paul Public Library. The winners were chosen by a group of 27 judges from around the state that includes teachers, librarians, booksellers and others from the literary community.
Other finalists in the category include:
- “Closing Time: Saloons, Taverns, Dives, and Watering Holes in the Twin Cities” by Bill Lindeke and Andy Sturdevant
- “Tulips, Chocolate & Silk: Celebrating 65 Years of the James Ford Bell Library” by Marguerite Ragnow and Natasha D’Schommer
- “Walking the Old Road: A People’s History of Chippewa City and the Grand Marais Anishinaabe” by Staci Lola Drouillard
Winners were announced live virtually at 32nd annual Minnesota Book Awards Ceremony April 28 on YouTube.
The awards also honor publications in:
- Children’s literature
- General nonfiction
- Middle grade literature
- Genre fiction
- Memoir and creative nonfiction
- Novel and short story
- Young adult literature
A professor of ethnic studies, Lehman coordinates the African American Studies minor at St. Cloud State and is the former faculty adviser for the Council of African American Students on campus. He is the author of five other books. His book “The Colored Cartoon: Black Representation in American Animated Short Films” was honored by the Association of College and Research Libraries as an outstanding academic title in 2008.
See the Minnesota Book Awards ceremony with Dr. Christopher Lehman’s Minnesota Nonfiction Category announcement beginning at 32:45.