Award winners: Blair Kelley, Amy Wood, Charles Eagles

We’re delighted to share lots of good news today. The 2010 Lillian Smith Book Award has been awarded to two UNC Press books this year: Amy Louise Wood’s Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America and Charles W. Eagles’s The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Old Miss. The prize, presented by the Southern Regional Council, the University of Georgia Libraries, and the DeKalb County Public Library/Georgia Center for the Book, “honors those authors who, through their writing, carry on Smith’s legacy of elucidating the condition of racial and social inequity and proposing a vision of justice and human understanding.” Wood and Eagles were honored at the Decatur Book Festival this past weekend. You can read more about this year’s awards at the Southern Regional Council’s blog, southernchanges.

In other great award news, Blair L. M. Kelley is the recipient of the 2010 Letitia Woods Brown Memorial Book Award from the Association of Black Women Historians for her book Right to Ride: Streetcar Boycotts and African American Citizenship in the Era of Plessy v. Ferguson.

A comment from a member of the prize committee:

This book offers a crucial corrective to the history of African American protest against discrimination on public transportation. With her thorough research, Kelley dramatically reframes what has been assumed to be the period of black protest in this area. I applaud her for the way in which she consciously wrote women into the history of what has been a predominately male narrative grounded by Plessy v. Ferguson. Not only is she successful in proving that women were often front and center in the larger fight against this site of discrimination but offers a compelling explanation as to why they had their own gendered rationale for their protest. I also appreciated her discussion of class and challenge to the dominant positions that streetcar protests reflected middle class concerns.

Kelley is admired for more than her book. Online magazine For Harriet included the professor in their list of “The Most Inspiring Black Women on Twitter,” and we couldn’t agree more. She’s truly committed to engaging with others in any setting, and even takes time to write guest blog posts for us!

A big congratulations to Kelley, Eagles, and Wood for being outstanding authors and scholars.