Harriet Tubman Prize Winning Essays

BrANCH’s Harriet Tubman essay prize seeks to reward the best undergraduate essay or research project by black, Asian, or other minority ethnic students based in the UK. The prize is generously co-sponsored by the Royal Historical Society.

Named for the escaped slave, abolitionist and activist, the prize has been initiated to encourage more BAME students to consider postgraduate work in 19th century American history (not necessarily into slavery and abolition, however).

In this section of our website, we are delighted to share the winning essays for previous years of the Harriet Tubman prize. For further details on the prize, please see our main Tubman prize page.



Henna Randhawa (UCL), ‘“A land of gold and opportunity.” Is this an accurate description of Gold Rush California?’

Worthy of Commendation:

Meera Chauhan (Leicester), ‘To what extent did women’s anti-slavery activism represent a departure from antebellum ideals of womanhood?’

Philip Prata (Kent), ‘To what extent did the Fugitive Slave Act of 1850 impact the slave experience?’



Saanika Dhillon (UCL), Why Did the United States go to War with Mexico in 1846?

Worthy of Commendation:

Kush Thakrar (UCL) How Did Enslaved and Free Black People Assert Their Own Conceptions of Freedom in the Antebellum US South?

Rebecca Barrow (UEA) Resistance Through Existence: Identity and the Enslaved in the Nineteenth-Century South.



Tayyiba Nasir (Queen Mary, University of London), Why Nat Turner’s Life Mattered: The Origins of Black Protest in the US

Worthy of Commendation:

Caine Tayo Lewin-Turner (Bristol University), Masculine Memories: Gender and Slaveholding in the Black Power Movement’s Memory of US Slavery