Ira Berlin has written broadly on the history of slavery and emancipation in the United States and the larger Atlantic world. His first book, Slaves Without Masters: The Free Negro in the Antebellum South (1975) won the Best First Book Prize awarded by the National Historical Society. Berlin is the founder of the Freedmen and Southern Society Project, which he directed until 1991. The project's multi-volume Freedom: A Documentary history of Emancipation (1982, 1985, 1990, 1993) has twice been awarded the Thomas Jefferson Prize of the Society for History in the Federal Government as well as the J. Franklin Jameson Prize of the American Historical Association for outstanding editorial achievement, and the Abraham Lincoln Prize for excellence in Civil-War studies os the Lincoln and Soldiers Institute of Gettysburg College.
In 1999, his study of African-American life between 1619 and 1819 entitled Many Thousands Gone: The First Two Centuries of Slavery in Mainland North America was published by Harvard University Press was awarded the Bancroft Prize for the best book in American history by Columbia University; Frederick Douglass Prize by the Gilder-Lehrman Institute; Owsley Prize by the Southern Historical Association, and the Rudwick Prize by the Organization of American Historians. That same year, the Humanities Council of Washington named Ira Berlin Outstanding Public Humanities Scholar of the Year. He is was president of the Organization of American Historians in 2002-2003.
US History, African-American History, Slavery; Reparations