Silver Gavel Awards honor works on 19th Amendment, untested rape kits and bad cops

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A book that tells the story of a vote in Tennessee in 1920 to ratify the 19th Amendment and guarantee women the national right to vote. A documentary that shines a light on the backlog of untested rape kits in Detroit, Cleveland and Los Angeles and what can be done to help survivors of sexual assault. A newspaper series that documents how “bad” cops are consistently able to stay on the job in New Jersey.

These were just a few of the winners of the ABA 2019 Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts, which were announced Tuesday to recognize outstanding work that fosters the public’s understanding of law and the legal system.

The 18-member Standing Committee on Gavel Awards selected five media pieces for Silver Gavels and three others for honorable mentions from the 19 finalists announced in March.

“The American Bar Association undertakes a rigorous judging process each year to select winners of the Silver Gavel Awards for Media and the Arts,” said Stephen C. Edds, chair of the Standing Committee on Gavel Awards. “Each of the awardees is truly deserving. We congratulate all of the 2019 awardees for their extraordinary efforts to further the American public’s understanding of law.”

A press release is here.

Silver Gavels are available in nine categories—books, commentary, documentaries, drama & literature, magazines, multimedia, newspapers, radio and television—but not every category receives an award every year.

The ABA has awarded Silver Gavels since 1958. ABA President Bob Carlson will present the winners and honorable mentions at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C., on July 16.

Here is the complete list of winners:


Silver Gavel: The Woman’s Hour: The Great Fight to Win the Vote, by Elaine Weiss.

Honorable Mention: The Schoolhouse Gate: Public Education, the Supreme Court, and the Battle for the American Mind, by Justin Driver.


Silver Gavel: I Am Evidence, by Shelved LLC for HBO Documentary Films.

Honorable Mention: RBG, by Magnolia Pictures, Participant Media and CNN Films.


Silver Gavel:Sign Here to Lose Everything,” featured in Bloomberg.


Silver Gavel:Protecting the Shield,” featured in Asbury Park Press.

Honorable Mention:Denied Justice,” featured in Star Tribune (Minneapolis).


Silver Gavel: Dark Money, by American Documentary/POV and PBS Distribution, Big Sky Film Productions with Big Mouth Productions and Meerkat Media Collaborative.

See also:

ABAJournal.com: “ABA announces winners of the 2017 Silver Gavel Awards”

ABAJournal.com: “ABA announces winners of the 2018 Silver Gavel Awards”

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