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Books on American South receive Bancroft Prize

NEW YORK (AP) _ Three books about race relations and the American South have been named winners of the Bancroft Prize, given each year by Columbia University to authors of American history, biography and diplomacy.

Melvin Patrick Ely, a professor of history and black studies at the College of William and Mary, won the award for his book, ``Israel on the Appomattox: A Southern Experiment in Black Freedom from the 1790s Through the Civil War.'' His book tells the story of Israel Hill, a free black community built in Virginia,

Other winners announced Wednesday night were Michael J. Klarman, a professor of history at the University of Virginia, for ``From Jim Crow to Civil Rights: The Supreme Court and the Struggle for Racial Equality''; and Michael O'Brien, a history professor at the University of Cambridge, in England, for ``Conjectures of Order: Intellectual Life and the American South, 1810-1860.''

Winners each receive $10,000.

Previous recipients of the Bancroft Prize, established by Columbia in 1948, include such influential books as Eric Foner's ``Reconstruction'' and Bernard Bailyn's ``The Ideological Origins of the American Revolution.''
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