Award CeremonyPennington Award for Two Outstanding Historians

3 June 2022

Double award ceremony: Manisha Sinha and Carol Anderson have been honoured

Two outstanding US historians – Prof. Dr Manisha Sinha and Prof. Dr Carol Anderson – have been awarded Heidelberg University’s James W.C. Pennington Award. Manisha Sinha, a researcher at the University of Connecticut and the 2021 awardee, is a leading expert in the history of the anti-slavery movement. A scholar at Emory University, Carol Anderson, winner of the 2022 award, engages with contemporary history, inequality and the socio-political situation in the United States. The Pennington Award is presented by the Heidelberg Center for American Studies and the Faculty of Theology in commemoration of American pastor and former slave James W.C. Pennington. He received an honorary doctorate from Ruperto Carola in 1849, making him the first African-American to have this academic honour bestowed upon him by a European university.

Pennington Award Ceremony

With the ninth and tenth editions of the James W.C. Pennington Award two distinguished scholars have been honoured who engage in research on subjects of special importance to Pennington. These include slavery and emancipation, peace, education, social reform, civil rights, religion, and intercultural understanding. Manisha Sinha’s publications include the award-winning “The Slave’s Cause: A History of Abolition” (2016), which explores the movement to abolish slavery. She holds a Chair in American History at the University of Connecticut in Storrs. Carol Anderson recently attracted attention with her publication, “The Second: Race and Guns in a Fatally Unequal America” (2021), which looks at racism and the right to bear arms in the United States. She is Professor of African American Studies at Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia. The Pennington Award, which is endowed by the Manfred Lautenschläger Foundation, encompasses a month-long research stay in Heidelberg.

Born in 1807, James W.C. Pennington escaped bondage at the age of 18, learned to read and write, and from 1834 was the first Black American to attend classes at Yale University. In 1838 he was ordained a pastor of the Presbyterian Church. At the World Peace Congress in Paris in 1849, Pennington made the acquaintance of the Heidelberg scholar Friedrich Carové, who was so impressed by the American that, the very same year, he persuaded his university to grant Pennington an honorary doctorate in theology. The prizes were presented in a double award ceremony on 1 June 2022 in the rooms of the Heidelberg Center for American Studies, after a break due to the Covid-19 pandemic.