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UT News

Pulitzer Prize Awarded to History Professor Emerita

Jones-Jacqueline-Courtney-Meador copy

AUSTIN, Texas —Jacqueline Jones, professor emerita in the College of Liberal Arts at The University of Texas at Austin, has been awarded the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for history for her book “No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era,” published by Basic Books.

The Pulitzer committee praised Jones’ “breathtakingly original reconstruction of free Black life in Boston that profoundly reshapes our understanding of the city’s abolitionist legacy and the challenging reality for its Black residents.”

Jones is the Ellen C. Temple Professor of Women’s History Emerita in the Department of History, where she served as chair from 2014 to 2020. Throughout her career at UT, she authored numerous books within her area of specialization at the intersection of labor, gender, race and politics.

Among many grants, awards and recognitions, Jones is the recipient of a MacArthur Fellowship (1999-2004), a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and a Distinguished Lecturer in the Organization of American Historians. She won the Taft Prize in Labor History, the Spruill Prize in Southern Women’s History, and the Brown Publication Prize in Black Women’s History. She also earned research grants from the American Council of Learned Societies, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the Social Science Research Council.

“We are extremely proud of Professor Jones and this tremendous achievement,” said Ann Huff Stevens, dean of UT’s College of Liberal Arts. “Her pathbreaking work in American labor history and the African American experience has left an indelible mark on the field, and there is no greater recognition than a Pulitzer to cement her place in the canon of historians leading this scholarship.”

Jones is a two-time finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for “A Dreadful Deceit: The Myth of Race from the Colonial Era to Obama’s America” and “Labor of Love, Labor of Sorrow: Black Women, Work, and the Family, from Slavery to the Present,” which also won the Bancroft Prize. Her most recent book, “No Right to an Honest Living,” is an extensively researched, searing portrait of Black workers and white hypocrisy in 19th-century Boston. By chronicling the struggles of Boston’s Black workers during the Civil War era, as this population was denied access to the skilled trades, factory work, and public works projects, Jones highlights “the everyday struggles of ordinary Black workers, [showing] how injustice in the workplace prevented Boston — and the United States — from securing true equality for all.”

“I’m honored to win this award, and I’m honored to be able to tell a story that I believe helps us better understand a key part of not only Boston history, but all of American history,” Jones said. “I’m grateful for the support I received for my research at UT over the years from my colleagues in the History Department and from Dean Ann Stevens and former Dean Randy Diehl.”