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Published on May 08, 2024
UT Austin's Jacqueline Jones Wins Pulitzer Prize for History with Insightful Look into Boston's Black WorkersSource: Larry D. Moore, CC BY 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Big win for a Texas history buff! Jacqueline Jones, professor emerita at The University of Texas at Austin, snagged the 2024 Pulitzer Prize for her latest deep-dive into the nation's past. Her book, "No Right to an Honest Living: The Struggles of Boston’s Black Workers in the Civil War Era," takes the top honors for history this year. Pulitzers don’t come easy, and Jones' meticulous research into the lives of free Black Bostonians has paid off, reshaping views on abolitionist legacy and the tough realities faced by Black residents.

Acclaimed for her fusion of labor, gender, race, and politics, Jones has been rocking the academic world from her tenure at UT, filling up the shelves with her notable works. Her latest book is no exception, unraveling tales of racial injustice in the workplace and sticking it to the white hypocrisy of yesteryear. The Pulitzer board threw their praise Jones' way for her "breathtakingly original reconstruction" of Boston’s free Black community. It's her vivid storytelling and rigorous scholarship that's catching eyes, highlighting "the everyday struggles of ordinary Black workers," according to UT news.

And let's face it, Jones is no stranger to the limelight. She's racked up her fair share of accolades, including the MacArthur Fellowship and memberships in fancy circles like the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She's one of those high-flyers who also snagged the Taft Prize in Labor History and the Spruill Prize in Southern Women’s History for keeps. Let’s not forget the time she was a hair’s breadth away from Pulitzers past, being a finalist not once, but twice. It seems the third time’s a charm for Jones, as her latest piece finally clinched the Pulitzer victory.

Over at UT, they're popping the champagne corks for Jones. "We are extremely proud of Professor Jones and this tremendous achievement," Dean Ann Huff Stevens tooted in her horn during the celebrations. It's no wonder why — Jones has etched her name in the history books, with work that Stevens claims has left "an indelible mark on the field." Jones herself is humbled by the win, grateful for her peers and the support that UT has provided over the years. She's "honored to win this award," says the history-making professor. It's a win for those forgotten stories of America’s past, but just as much a win for UT's College of Liberal Arts.

With the ink now dry on her Pulitzer Prize cert, Jones joins an elite group of historians who have had their efforts stamped with one of journalism and literature's highest seals of approval. It’s a big day for history geeks everywhere, not just in Texas. When we look back, these are the books and authors we'll remember — especially those who told it like it was, just like Jones in her groundbreaking "No Right to an Honest Living." This is one history tale that sure made its mark.