The Bernhardt Prize is an award of $500 given to an article that furthers the understanding of the history of working people. Articles focused on historical events AND articles about current issues (work, housing, organizing, health, education) that include historical context are both welcome. The work should be published — in print or online — between August 1, 2018 and August 25, 2019. The deadline for the 2018-2019 contest is August 25, 2019.
The prize will be given to insightful work that contributes to the understanding of labor history; shows creativity; demonstrates excellence in writing; and adheres to the highest journalistic standards of accuracy. Only one entry per person; publications and subject matter should target the United States and Canada; neither books nor plays are eligible.
TO ENTER send an e-mail before midnight on Sunday August 25, 2019 to firstname.lastname@example.org with the following information: author name; title of article; name of publication; date and place of publication; url link for article (if available); if no link is available attach a pdf of the article and of the front page of the publication.
The New York Labor History Association sponsors this award in order to inspire more great writing for a general audience about the history of work, workers, and their organizations. The award is co-sponsored by LaborArts; Metro New York Labor Communications Council; the NYC Central Labor Council, AFL-CIO; and the Robert F. Wagner Labor Archives at NYU’s Tamiment Library. The contest committee is: Irwin Yellowitz, NYLHA; Rachel Bernstein, LaborArts; Gary Schoichet, Metro; Kate Whalen, NYC CLC; and Michael Koncewicz, Tamiment.
We are guided by the vision of the late Debra E. Bernhardt, who worked in so many different realms to share the hidden histories of working people. As head of the Wagner Labor Archives she reached out to an astonishing number of people and organizations, to document undocumented stories and unrecognized contributions, and to make links between past and present. The LaborArts project is dedicated to Bernhardt, and the online exhibit “Making History Personal” explores her work.
Toni GIlpin received the 2017-18 Award for “A Louisville Union Built Its Strength as Blacks, Whites Took on International Harvester,” in Louisville Weekly,August 30, 2017. She received the prize at the Bernhardt Labor Journalism Forum on October 16, 2018 – “2018 – The Year of the Teachers Strikes” with investigative journalists Micah Uetricht (Jacobin, In These Times) and Tom Robbins (CUNY).
Garret Keizer was the 2016-17 Award winner for his article “Labor’s Schoolhouse – Lessons from the Paterson SIlk Strike of 1913,” in Harper’s Magazine, July 2017. The prize was awarded at the Third Annual Bernhardt Labor Journalism Forum on Thursday October 12, 2017 at Tamiment Library, with investigative journalists and labor activists Ginger Adams Otis(NY Daily News); Michelle Chen (The Nation); and Ed Ott (CUNY) participating.
The 2015-2016 winner was Chloe Kent, for her article “The Women of New York’s Bravest” in Enchantress magazine, May 2016. The award was announced at a forum at NYU’s Tamiment Library on October 13, 2016. Columnist and broadcast journalist Juan Gonzalez joined historian Kimberly Phillips-Fein for a discussion about using history to improve reporting on current labor issues, with Tom Robbins returning as moderator; Jon Bloom spoke about Bernhardt.
The 2014-2015 prize was awarded on October 15, 2015 to David Kameras and Emily Harris for their May, 2014 article in the United Mine Workers Journal: “From Tragedy to Triumph – 100 Years Later, Workers Benefit from Ludlow’s Legacy.” The presentation was held at NYU’s Tamiment Library, following a program moderated by Tom Robbins, Investigative Journalist in Residence, Graduate School of Journalism, CUNY; with panelists Esther Kaplan, Editor, The Investigative Fund at The Nation Institute; and Richard Steier, Editor, The Chief-Leader; Alex Bloom spoke about Bernhardt.