History Professor Wins Historical Society Book Award

May 12, 2003

The Virginia Historical Society has awarded Ann Field Alexander, professor of history at Mary Baldwin University and director of its regional center in Roanoke, the Richard Slatten Prize for Excellence in Virginia Biography.

Alexander won for Race Man: The Rise and Fall of the ‘Fighting Editor,’ John Mitchell Jr., published by the University of Virginia Press. Alexander is the society’s first two-time winner. In 1992, she received the William M. E. Rachal Award for the best article to appear in the Virginia Magazine of History and Biography.

Race Man is about an African American who edited and published the Richmond Planet newspaper in Richmond for nearly half a century. He also crusaded against lynching, protested segregation, campaigned for new schools, held public office, and founded a bank. Mitchell, born to slave parents in 1863, died in 1929. In the preface of the biography, Alexander writes that she found Mitchell “oddly contemporary” when she started learning about him while doing graduate work at Duke University in the late 1960s. She wrote her doctoral dissertation about him.