Return to George W. and Constance M. Hilton Book Awards

Theodore Kornweibel, Jr., San Diego, California, received the 2011 George M. and Constance W. Hilton Book Award for Railroads in the African American Experience: A Photographic Journey, Johns Hopkins University Press, 2010.

The history of American railroads, Kornweibel wrote, cannot be separated from African American history. For more than a century, railroading provided the most important industrial occupation for blacks. Brakemen, firemen, porters, chefs, mechanics, laborers–African American men and women have been essential to the daily operation and success of American railroads.

Kornweibel, professor emeritus at San Diego State University, has a Ph.D. in African American Studies from Yale and is a volunteer at Pacific Southwest Railway Museum in Campo, California. “The book of which we now speak is, therefore, a logical outcome of a sort of intellectual cross-fertilization, which in itself would not be so remarkable were it not for the stark reality of the fact that this is the only such book written to date,” Louis Marre, professor emeritus, University of Dayton, wrote in the citation.

“This is not a text on the subject–it is a ‘photographic journey’ in more ways than anyone thought possible before the present publication,” Marre said.

The announcement appeared in Railroad History, Fall-Winter 2012.