(WASHINGTON, DC – October 26, 2023) — Dr. Charles L. Chavis, Jr., Director of the John Mitchell, Jr. Program for History, Justice, and Race at the Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution (Carter) at George Mason University has received the International AAHGS Book Award for Non-Fiction-Social Justice from the Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) for “The Silent Shore: The Lynching of Matthew Williams and the Politics of Lynching in the Free State” (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2022).
The award was announced during its Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society (AAHGS) 44th National Genealogy Conference on October 19th, 2023. Other honorees included Dr. Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Harvard University, who received the prestigious James Dent Walker Award.
“The Silent Shore” takes readers on a historical journey, bearing witness to the racially charged injustices and realities that pertained to African Americans during the great depression. The story of the lynching of Matthew Williams and the subsequent destruction of the Georgetown Neighborhood of Salisbury, MD is rife with lessons of our racial past. The story’s truth offers the potential for restoring and repairing the country to ensure a healthy and vibrant future for Black people.
“The Silent Shore” has also been featured in the Atlantic, PBS News Hour, Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, and Vox and was praised by acclaimed civil rights attorney Sherrilyn Ifill, President and Director-Counsel Emeritus, NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., as a story that “resonates with power and caution for our contemporary efforts to address racial violence and discrimination.”
As a result of the book’s success, “The Silent Shore” is currently being adapted into a documentary series Hidden in Full View, written and co-produced by Chavis and award-winning filmmaker Keith Beachamp, co-writer and producer behind the critically acclaimed film Till, which tells the story of the murder of Emmett Till and the activism of his mother, Mamie Till-Mobley. Hidden in Full View—the first in a series of documentary shorts that will uncover lesser-known episodes of racial injustices in Black communities throughout the United States. Trailers and on-demand screenings of the film are available at hiddeninfullviewseries.com.
The Afro-American Historical and Genealogical Society, Inc. (AAHGS) founded in 1977, is a non-profit 501(c)3, which strives to preserve African-ancestored family history, genealogy, and cultural diversity by teaching research techniques and disseminating information throughout the community. Our primary goals are to promote scholarly research, provide resources for historical and genealogical studies, create a network of persons with similar interests, and assist members in documenting their histories.