Professor Susan D. Carle Receives 2014 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award from the Organization of American Historians

Susan D. Carle, professor at American University Washington College of Law, was presented with the 2014 Liberty Legacy Foundation Award in April by the Organization of American Historians (OAH) for her book Defining the Struggle: National Organizing for Racial Justice, 1880-1915 (Oxford University Press).

The award, inaugurated in 2003 and presented at the OAH Annual Meeting, recognizes the best book by a historian on the civil rights struggle from the beginnings of the nation to the present.

"Through a deft, accessibly-written reconceptualization of the organizational foundations of the civil rights movement, Susan Carle makes an invaluable contribution to the historiography of the long civil rights movement in Defining the Struggle," said a statement from OAH Executive Director Katherine M. Finley. "Carle beautifully recovers the history of the nineteenth-century visionaries who powerfully shaped struggles for racial reform decades later. Thanks to Professor Carle, we now know that leaders of the Second Reconstruction owe these visionaries a great intellectual debt."

“On behalf of the AUWCL community, I congratulate Professor Susan Carle on this distinguished accomplishment,” said Claudio Grossman, dean of American University Washington College of Law. “Professor Carle’s compelling book and this honor on behalf of OAH are a testament to our high-caliber faculty – who are among the most respected scholars and excellent teachers in legal education.”

Professor Susan D. Carle’s teaching and research interests lie primarily in the areas of civil rights legal history, employment discrimination, labor and employment law, legal ethics, and the history and sociology of the legal profession. She has published numerous articles examining lawyers’ conceptions of their professional obligations to further the public interest. Carle is editor of Lawyers’ Ethics and the Pursuit of Social Justice (NYU Press Critical America Series 2005), which collects work in the emerging field of critical legal ethics scholarship. She has served as this law school’s first Associate Dean for Scholarship and as chair of the American Association of Law Schools Section on Professional Responsibility and its Professional Development Committee, and is a member of the legal ethics advisory committee of the National Disability Rights Network.


Founded in 1907, the Organization of American Historians is the largest learned society and professional organization dedicated to the teaching and study of the American past. The OAH promotes excellence in the scholarship, teaching, and presentation of American history, and encourages wide discussion of historical questions and equitable treatment of all practitioners of history. Members in the United States and abroad include college and university professors, students, precollegiate teachers, archivists, museum curators, and other public historians employed in government and the private sector.