Former Visiting Fellow Danielle Terrazas Williams (2022-23) has won the 2023 Murdo J. Macleod Book Prize from the Latin American and Caribbean Section of the Southern Historical Society (LACS-SHA) for her book The Capital of Free Women: Race, Legitimacy, and Liberty in Colonial Mexico (Yale University Press, 2022). The book also won a Silver Medal for Best History Book from the International Latino Book Awards.
The Murdo J. Macleod Book Prize is awarded to the best book in Latin American and Caribbean, American Borderlands and Frontiers History, or Atlantic World history published in the previous year and is given at the annual meeting of the LACS-SHA. It is named in honor of Professor Murdo J. MacLeod, a historian of colonial Latin America and the Caribbean. Criteria for the prize's selection include the quality and originality of research, new and stimulating interpretations, and writing quality.
The International Latino Book Awards are presented on behalf of Empowering Latino Futures (ELF), a nonprofit organization founded in 1997 that recognizes excellence in literature. The Best History Book prizes were awarded at the 24th International Latino Book Awards Ceremony on Oct. 21 at Los Angeles City College.
The Capital of Free Women examines how African-descended women strove for dignity in seventeenth-century Mexico. Free women in central Veracruz, sometimes just one generation removed from slavery, purchased land, ran businesses, managed intergenerational wealth, and owned slaves of African descent. Drawing from archives in Mexico, Spain, and Italy, Terrazas Williams explores the lives of African-descended women across the economic spectrum, evaluates their elite sensibilities, and challenges notions of race and class in the colonial period.
Terrazas Williams is associate professor of history of the Global South at the University of Leeds. She is a historian of colonial Latin America with expertise in slavery and freedom in colonial Latin America; the history of Mexico; gender and legal history; the Catholic Church; the Society of Jesus (Jesuits); and global commodities.