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Annette Gordon-Reed

  • Radcliffe Fellows for 2015-2016 Announced

    May 15, 2015

    The Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study has announced its fellows for 2015-2016. The more than 50 men and women include creative artists, humanists, scientists, and social scientists, each pursuing “an ambitious individual project within the Institute’s multidisciplinary community.”...Twelve of the new fellows are Harvard faculty members; their names and the titles of their projects appear below....Christine A. Desan, professor of law, whose teaching covers the international monetary system, the constitutional law of money, constitutional history, political economy, and legal theory. She is the co-founder of Harvard’s Program on the Study of Capitalism...Annette Gordon-Reed, professor of law and of history, Pforzheimer professor at the Radcliffe Institute, whose 2008 book The Hemingses of Monticello won a Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award for nonfiction...Intisar A. Rabb, professor of law and director of Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program, who studies criminal law, legislation and theories of statutory interpretation, and Islamic law.

  • As Attorney General, Loretta Lynch Plans Striking New Tone for the Justice Dept.

    April 24, 2015

    Loretta E. Lynch, who was confirmed Thursday as attorney general, will meet with local police officers nationwide this summer as she tries to strike a new tone for the Justice Department amid a roiling controversy over the use of lethal force, aides said....But her friends and relatives say she has never viewed her job in government as one of a civil rights advocate. “She’s not an ideologue,” Annette Gordon-Reed, a Harvard law professor and longtime friend, said recently. “She’s not going to do things to please some wing. She’s not a caricature of anything. She is a prosecutor.”

  • After forging her path from N.C. to Brooklyn, Lynch is poised to become attorney general

    January 26, 2015

    The Rev. Lorenzo Lynch was in his living room here, surrounded by photographs of his daughter Loretta, when he first heard the news that Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. was stepping down and she was on the short list of candidates to replace him...When she graduated law school, Lynch and another Harvard student, Annette Gordon-Reed, both joined the Wall Street law firm Cahill Gordon & Reindel as litigation associates. They and another African American woman at the firm called themselves “the triplets” and worked brutal hours. “We often found ourselves sitting in a conference room at 3:00 in the morning eating Chinese food and working on a case,” said Gordon-Reed, now a Harvard law professor. “She’s a Southern steel-magnolia-type person — very, very strong,” Gordon-Reed said. “But she’s also one of the funniest people I know and a good mimic.

  • Belafonte, historians reflect on civil rights, Selma at Chancellor’s Lecture

    January 22, 2015

    Harry Belafonte, an icon of American stage and screen with a lifelong commitment to social activism, recalled his experiences during the civil rights movement at a Chancellor’s Lecture Series event Jan. 13 in Langford Auditorium. Vanderbilt Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos and award-winning historians Annette Gordon-Reed and Michael Beschloss joined Belafonte for a far-reaching conversation on the history, legality and politics surrounding the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which marks its 50th anniversary this year...Black legal scholars began assembling cases, including 1954’s Brown v. Board of Education, to chip away at segregationist laws and usher in the sweeping social legislation of the 1960s. “But law always has its limitations, so direct action comes in and helps,” Gordon-Reed said. “Law legitimizes things, but they both have to work together.”

  • 53 Historians Weigh In on Barack Obama’s Legacy

    January 14, 2015

    New York asked more than 50 historians to respond to a broad questionnaire about how Obama and his administration will be viewed 20 years from now..."The president’s blackness will matter a great deal, mainly because I think it shaped how many Americans viewed him and gave ammunition to his opposition. And on the other hand, I think Obama’s being black will influence the way that young people see the world. Having a black family living in the White House is important symbolically, as it suggests that the United States is not a “white” nation." – Annette Gordon-Reed

  • Are Blacks Full Citizens?: Q&A With Annette Gordon-Reed

    August 26, 2014

    Annette Gordon-Reed, a law professor at Harvard University and scholar on race, won the 2009 Pulitzer Prize in history for "The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family." ... Last week, I had an e-mail exchange with her about race relations in the U.S. after the unrest in Ferguson, Missouri.

  • US has yet to overcome its tortured racial past (registration required)

    August 18, 2014

    An op-ed by Annette Gordon-Reed. For a founding father who usually took a sunny view of his nation’s prospects, it was a darkly pessimistic prophesy. In his Notes on the State of Virginia, Thomas Jefferson argued that if – as he hoped – America’s black slaves were one day set free, the result would be conflict and an inevitable descent into racial war. And in the hours after Governor Jay Nixon imposed a night-time curfew on the Missouri town of Ferguson following the killing there of an unarmed teenager by a police officer earlier this month, it is indeed reasonable to wonder whether a form of war (sometimes hot, sometimes cold) has been waged against blacks in America from Jefferson’s time until our own.

  • History’s Double Standard

    August 5, 2014

    The Charles Warren Professor of American Legal History at Harvard Law School and the Carol Pforzheimer Professor of Advanced Studies at the Radcliffe Institute, Annette Gordon-Reed has become the authority not only on the Thomas Jefferson-Sally Hemings relationship but also on the legacy, sensibility, and politics of our brilliant yet hypocritical third president…who owned more than 100 slaves when he declared all men to be equal…My guest is now exploring the more up-to-date lineage of the Hemings family. She then plans a biography of Jefferson that will illuminate his life as a slaveholder. As cases of sexual scandal ensnaring our elected officials persist, Gordon-Reed’s investigative lens is ever relevant, as is her illumination of America’s moral complexity.

  • Man of the World

    July 22, 2014

    A book review by Annette Gordon-Reed. Few if any men were ever better qualified, at least on paper, to serve as president of the United States than John Quincy Adams. A diplomat several times over, lawyer, senator, and secretary of state, he had grown up in a household with parents who had been center stage at the creation of the American union. By example and exhortation, John and Abigail Adams instilled in their precocious and talented son a deep faith in, and enthusiasm for, the American experiment.

  • Panel discussion at Harvard University

    HLS scholars in the Harvard Gazette: America at a crossroads

    October 24, 2012

    At stake in the next election is nothing less than a redefinition of America’s priorities, according to Harvard scholars taking part in a panel discussion at Harvard's Barker Center. The panel which explored law, history, and the 2012 election, included moderator Jill Lepore and panelists Alex Keyssar, Elizabeth Hinton, and HLS Professors Annette Gordon-Reed, Kenneth Mack, and Jed Shugerman

  • Illustration

    The Long View

    October 1, 2012

    As two HLS graduates are vying to lead the United States, we asked six legal historians on the faculty to reflect on the connections between legal education and leadership.

  • Annette Gordon-Reed appointed to Charles Warren Professorship at HLS

    August 22, 2012

    Harvard Law School Professor Annette Gordon Reed ’84 -- a recipient of the National Book Award for Non-Fiction, the Pulitzer Prize in History, a MacArthur Fellowship, a Guggenheim Fellowship, The Dorothy And Lewis B. Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers Fellowship, and a National Humanities Medal -- has been appointed to the Charles Warren Professorship of American Legal History.

  • HLS Thinks Big

    Five ideas in 50 minutes: HLS Thinks Big (video)

    July 9, 2012

    “HLS Thinks Big,” inspired by the global TED (Technology, Entertainment and Design) talks and modeled after the college’s “Harvard Thinks Big” event, was held at Harvard Law School on May 23 in Austin North. During the event, five professors presented some of their favorite topics.

  • Recognizing Jefferson’s ‘Genius’

    December 6, 2011

    Annette Gordon-Reed wins a MacArthur and talks to the Bulletin about investigative history, redefining idols and inviting Jefferson to the Tea Party.

  • HLS Professor Annette Gordon-Reed '84

    Annette Gordon-Reed joins, speaks at American Academy of Arts and Sciences (video)

    November 1, 2011

    Harvard Law School Professor Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 was inducted as a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and served as the academy’s Class IV speaker at the 2011 induction ceremony, held Oct. 1.

  • Historic Failure

    July 1, 2011

    Part of the American Presidents Series, this volume, excerpted below, examines the life and political career of Andrew Johnson, possibly the nation’s worst president, according to Gordon-Reed.

  • HLS Professor Annette Gordon-Reed '84

    Annette Gordon-Reed elected member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences

    April 19, 2011

    Harvard Law School Professor Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 has been elected to membership in the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. One of 212 new members, Gordon-Reed joins leaders from academia, business, public affairs, the humanities and the arts among the ranks of the Academy.

  • HLS Professor Annette Gordon-Reed '84

    Gordon-Reed appointed to AAAS Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences

    March 4, 2011

    Harvard Law School Professor Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 was recently appointed to the American Academy of Arts and Sciences’ newly-established Commission on the Humanities and Social Sciences, a national commission charged with bolstering teaching and research in the humanities and social sciences. Harvard University President Drew Gilpin Faust will also take part in the initiative.

  • Professor Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 wins a MacArthur Fellowship (audio)

    September 21, 2010

    Annette Gordon-Reed ’84, an award-winning historian, is one of 23 recipients of the 2010 MacArthur Fellowship, more commonly known as the MacArthur “Genius Award.” Gordon-Reed—the recipient of the National Humanities Medal, the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award—was recognized for dramatically changing the course of Jeffersonian scholarship.

  • Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 to join the Harvard faculty

    April 30, 2010

    Award-winning historian Annette Gordon-Reed J.D. ’84 will join the Harvard faculty in July 2010 as a Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and a Professor of History in the Faculty of Arts and Sciences. Gordon-Reed will also be the Carol K. Pforzheimer Professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study.

  • Annette Gordon-Reed awarded National Humanities Medal

    March 31, 2010

    Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 was awarded the National Humanities Medal in February for her significant and innovative research on Thomas Jefferson’s slaves and the life of Sally Hemings, and for illuminating a chapter in American history that had previously been given little recognition.

  • The Green Bag honors HLS faculty and alumni for exemplary writing

    January 13, 2010

    The Green Bag, a quarterly journal devoted to readable, concise, and entertaining legal scholarship, has named a number of HLS faculty members and alumni to its “Exemplary Legal Writing 2009” list.

  • HLS Professor Annette Gordon-Reed '84

    Gordon-Reed in NYT: Histories Distorted

    October 8, 2009

    The family stories of black Americans and the findings of population geneticists make clear that Michelle Obama’s family history is far from unique. The vast majority of black Americans whose ancestors were enslaved in North America have some degree of mixed ancestry.

  • The Hemingses of Monticello bookcover

    Annette Gordon-Reed ’84 wins Pulitzer Prize in history

    April 26, 2009

    Annette Gordon-Reed has won a Pulitzer Prize in history for her book, “The Hemingses of Monticello: An American Family,” which examines four generations of a slave family owned by Thomas Jefferson. The prize includes a $10,000 award.

  • Law and Arts Initiative Panelists

    Law and the Arts Initiative Panel Advises, “Don’t Quit Your Day Job” (Webcast)

    April 9, 2009

    In an April 1 panel hosted by the Harvard Law School Law and Arts Initiative entitled “Don’t Quit Your Day Job,” several HLS alumni and practicing attorneys discussed how to balance a successful legal career while also working in the arts. Panelists included successful writers and television and film producers.