Author Thomas Healy receives 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for The Great Dissent: How Oliver Wendell Holmes Changed His Mind-and Changed the History of Free Speech in America
(Washington, D.C. - May 15, 2014) The RFK Center for Justice and Human Rights announced the winners of its annual Book and Journalism Awards winners.
Thomas Healy will receive the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for The Great Dissent, in which Healy presents Oliver Wendell Holmes' path from free speech skeptic to champion of the First Amendment. The gripping account brings readers inside the mind of Holmes as he served on the Supreme Court of the United States. During his tenure, the court heard cases that challenged Holmes and fellow justices to establish historic protections for freedom of expression in America.
"In The Great Dissent, Thomas Healy gives us an impeccably researched portrait of Oliver Wendell Holmes as he grappled with the defining question of his time dealing with freedom of expression. It's the story of one of our nation's great legal minds reconciling his personal politics with his duties to jurisprudence," said John Seigenthaler, Sr., Chair of the Book Award. "It is an incredibly readable take on the evolution of freedom of expression as interpreted by the nation's highest court. The judges agreed that at this time of conflict between freedom of speech and privacy, The Great Dissent was a fitting selection for 2014 RFK Book Award."
This year's Book Award winner was chosen from 14 semi-finalists out of nearly 90 submissions. Also this year, the judges announced a special recognition honor for Congressman John Lewis, Andrew Aydin, and Nate Powell for the graphic novel March, which takes readers on a trip back in time to the sights and stories that defined the civil rights movement.
The 34th annual RFK Book Award will be presented by Mrs. Robert F. Kennedy at a ceremony emceed by Michael Beschloss with remarks by Kerry Kennedy on Thursday, May 22, 2014, at 6:15pm at the Newseum in Washington DC.
The ceremony will feature the presentation of the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards. All honorees will receive a bust of Robert F. Kennedy in recognition of their award.
This year's winning journalists, in nine professional and three student categories, are:
About The Robert F. Kennedy Book Award
The Robert F. Kennedy Center presents an annual prize to the book that, in the words of Award Founder Arthur Schlesinger, most faithfully and forcefully reflects Robert F. Kennedy, his concern for the poor and powerless, his struggle for honest and even-handed justice, his conviction that a decent society must assure all young people a fair chance, and his faith that a free democracy can act to remedy disparities of power and opportunity. Past winners of the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award include Vice President Al Gore, Taylor Branch, Toni Morrison, Jonathon Kozol, and Michael Lewis.
The distinguished panel of judges for the 2014 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award included John Seigenthaler, Sr., acclaimed journalist, editor, publisher, and former aide to Robert Kennedy; Michael Beschloss, author and historian; David Maraniss, journalist, author, and associate-editor for The Washington Post; and Michele Norris, radio journalist and host of National Public Radio's All Things Considered.
About The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards
The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards, founded by the reporters who covered the 1968 presidential campaign, recognize outstanding reporting on issues that reflect Robert Kennedy's dedication to human rights and social justice, and his belief in the power of individual action. Winning entries provide insights into the causes, conditions, and remedies of human rights violations and injustice, and critical analyses of the movements that foster positive global change.
The Robert F. Kennedy Journalism Awards were judged by sixty media professionals who volunteer their time in the peer review. The Grand Prize, which will be announced at the ceremony, is chosen from the winners in each category by the Awards Committee, which is chaired by Margaret Engel, author, reporter, and Director of the Alicia Patterson Foundation.
Director of Communications, RFK Center