Historian Victoria Wolcott Wins New Deal Book Award

Dr. Victoria Wolcott, winner of the 2022 New Deal Book Award.

Dr. Victoria Wolcott
Photo by Yves-Richard Blanc

Victoria W. Wolcott, professor of History at the University at Buffalo College of Arts and Sciences, has been named the winner of the Living New Deal’s annual New Deal Book Award for 2022. Her book, Living in the Future: Utopianism and the Long Civil Rights Movement, (University of Chicago Press, 2022), explores the New Deal’s influence on the Civil Rights Movement.

Dr. Wolcott has published on a wide range of topics related to civil rights and social and racial justice. Her award-winning book examines how the emergence of experimental interracial communities in mid-20th-century America helped shape the views of civil rights leaders.

Living in the Future: Utopianism and the Long Civil Rights Movement, was unanimously chosen among eleven works nominated for this year’s award.  A review committee of New Deal historians, chaired by Eric Rauchway, distinguished professor of History at the University of California, Davis, and author of Why the New Deal Matters, praised Wolcott’s book as “a profound and engaging study of interracial cooperative communities that experimented with new ways of life in the years of the Depression and New Deal. Their vision of new and better ways to live laid the foundations for the postwar Civil Rights movement.”

The Living New Deal launched the annual New Deal Book Award in 2021 to recognize and encourage nonfiction authorship about the New Deal, (1933-1942), an era defined by FDR’s presidency, the Great Depression and the nation’s entry into World War II.  The $1,000 award will be presented to Dr. Wolcott on June 24, 2023 at the Annual Roosevelt Reading Festival, held at the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library and Museum in Hyde Park, New York.

Richard Walker, director of the Living New Deal, expressed appreciation to all the nominees and the review committee. “It is immensely satisfying to see the high-quality scholarship being done on the New Deal, the significance of which still calls out to us ninety years later.”

Susan Ives is communications director for the Living New Deal and editor of the Living New Deal newsletter.