As the nation’s only juried prize given to books that confront racism, the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards (AWBA) are closely linked to Martin Luther King Jr.’s efforts to advance racial justice and civil rights. For more than 87 years, the distinguished books earning Anisfield-Wolf prizes have opened and challenged minds, making important cultural contributions to our understanding of racism and our appreciation of the rich diversity of human cultures.
Martin Luther King Jr. himself won an Anisfield-Wolf Book Award for nonfiction in 1959 for his first book “Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story.” The recognition came years before he was a nationally known figure in America’s Civil Rights Movement.
More than 250 titles have joined the Anisfield-Wolf canon since Edith Anisfield Wolf established the book prize in 1935 to reflect her family’s passion for issues of social justice. Past winners have presented the extraordinary art and culture of peoples around the world, explored human rights violations, exposed the effects of racism on children, reflected on growing up biracial, and illuminated the dignity of people as they search for justice.
2023 marks 60 years since the Cleveland Foundation began stewarding the prize, and the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards will observe its 90th anniversary in 2025.
Join us in celebrating the legacy of Martin Luther King Jr. this year by exploring the Ansifield-Wolf Book Awards. The documentary celebrating the 2022 winners Percival Everett, Donika Kelly, George Makari, Tiya Miles and Ishmael Reed, produced in partnership with Ideastream Public Media, is available for streaming on the Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards website. You can also catch up on seasons one and two of the Anisfield-Wolf podcast, The Asterisk*. Hosted by Karen R. Long, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards manager and former book editor of the Plain Dealer, each episode features an esteemed AWBA winner.
And watch for Anisfield-Wolf highlights on WKYC this February in honor of #BlackHistoryMonth.
Learn more about the awards here.