Del Mar author wins Lillian Smith Book Award


Author, constitutional law historian and Del Mar resident Lawrence Goldstone recently received a Lillian Smith Book Award for “On Account of Race,” a book he released last year about White supremacy and its impact on voting rights.

Launched in 1968, the award recognizes books that address race, civil rights and related issues.

Lawrence Goldstone

“One thing that is a throughline of all my work is that I’m always looking for the stories that weren’t told, or the stories that were only told partially,” said Goldstone, who has written more than 12 works of nonfiction and fiction, including six with his wife Nancy, who is also an author.

“The other thing I’m always looking for in history,” Goldstone continued, “is history that illuminates the present, and ‘On Account of Race’ couldn’t be more timely.”

He added that history should be a mirror to the present.

“What this country went through, which resulted in the horrors of Jim Crow for decades and decades and decades, are precisely the same aims that the conservative minority, and represented now by the majority of Supreme Court justices, is trying to pull off yet again,” Goldstone said.

The cover of "On Account of Race"

The book also highlights some of the earliest elections in America, and how many Black Americans who had been freed from slavery were legally denied the right to vote, even though there were Constitutional amendments that ostensibly gave them that right.

“One thing people really don’t recognize is that this country, the Constitution, was founded to ensure White minority rule,” Goldstone said. “Voting rights were never supposed to be for the majority.”

The book evaluates the Supreme Court’s role in restricting voting rights in the late 18th and early 19th centuries.

“What I wanted to do is to take a step back and look at the court as a political body, and not simply do case analysis, and say this was the story as it played out to the people who were affected,” Goldstone said. “That is government officials, that is the court justices themselves, but mostly the people who had been guaranteed the right to vote by two constitutional amendments that were effectively rewritten by the Supreme Court.”

He added that “On Account of Race” was written not for academics, but for people who want to learn more on these topics.

“You could do half of these stories as a novel and make it a page-turner,” Goldstone said. “For me, history is not only important and necessary, but fun.”

For more information, visit “On Account of Race” is available on, and more.