Dr. Steven Hahn, a UR graduate and professor at the University of Pennsylvania, won the 2004 Pulitzer prize for history for his work, “A Nation Under Our Feet: Black Political Struggles in the Rural South from Slavery to the Great Migration,” and he did not even know it.”I found out when I got a call from an AP reporter who asked me if I was Steve Hahn and if I had written this book, I said ‘yes,’ and then she asked me how I felt about the Pulitzer,” Hahn said. Hahn recalls being stunned when he found out.The book traces the struggles and triumphs of black political mobilization in the South after the Civil War, showing how ex-slaves worked from the grass roots to achieve political success in the face of extraordinary pressures. His book beat out two other finalists for the award and $10,000 dollar prize – “They Marched Into Sunlight: War and Peace, Vietnam and America, October 1967” by David Maraniss and “Great Fortune: The Epic of Rockefeller Center” by Daniel Okrent.Hahn talked about what inspired him to write the book. “I’m a student of southern history and I’m also interested in popular politics, and I was incredibly moved by people practicing politics and doing so in the face of tremendous threats – when I read about people at grass roots doing this I was inspired,” Hahn said. He began research for the book 15 years ago. Hahn is currently teaching history at the University of Pennsylvania, focusing on the social and political history of 19th-century America, the history of the American South and the comparative history of slavery and emancipation.He plans to participate in the Huggins series of lectures at Harvard, as well as write a book in See HAHN, Page 5the Penguin history of the United States series from 1840-1900. “A colleague of mine recently told me that now that I’ve won, I don’t have to do anything.” Hahn said.Hahn remembers the U of R fondly, “It was a wonderful place to learn about history, when I was there the department was very interesting.” Hahn said. “They were attracting very interesting students.”Hahn’s other book, The Roots of Southern Populism: Yeoman Farmers and the Transformation of the Georgia Upcountry, 1850-1890, received acclaim as well, garnering both the Allan Nevins Prize of the Society of American Historians and the Frederick Jackson Turner Award of the Organization of American HistoriansHahn is currently working on the Huggins lectures in African American history at Harvard, to be delivered in 2007. He is also writing a book in the Penguin History of the United States series from 1840-1900. “A colleague of mine recently told me that now that I’ve won, I don’t have to do anything.” Hahn said.Farrell can be reached at nfarrell@campustimes.org.



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