The Southern Regional Council (SRC), founded in 1919 to combat racial injustice, established the Lillian Smith Book Awards in 1966 to recognize writing which extends the legacy of the outspoken writer who challenged all Americans on issues of social and racial justice.
Since 2004 the awards have been presented by SRC in a partnership with the University of Georgia Libraries, whose Hargrett Rare Book and Manuscript Library houses a historic collection of Lillian Smith's letters and manuscripts. Since 2007 this partnership has also included Georgia Center for the Book, and the awards ceremony is now presented on the Sunday of the Labor Day Weekend as part of the Decatur Book Festival in Decatur, Georgia. Excerpts from the 2008 and 2009 awards ceremonies may be viewed through the links on this page and through the Video Bar.
The 2013 awards ceremony will be held at the DeKalb County Public Library on Sunday, September 1st.
Joining the jury for the first time this year is Constance W. Curry. Ms. Curry grew up in Greensboro, North Carolina and graduated from Greensboro High School in 1951. She is a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Agnes Scott College (1955) and held a Fulbright Scholarship to the University of Bordeaux, France, during 1955-1956. She studied political science at Columbia University and received the J.D. degree from Woodrow Wilson College of Law in 1984. For two years she served as National Field Representative of the Collegiate Council for the United Nations. From 1960-1964 she was Director of the Southern Student Human Relations Project of the National Student Association and became the first white female on the executive committee of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC). From 1964-1975, she was Southern Field Representative of the American Friends Service Committee. In 1975, she became Director of the Office of Human Services for the City of Atlanta.
Her book, Silver Rights, won the 1996 Lillian Smith Award for non-fiction and recounts the story of one rural Mississippi family's struggle for education and for civil rights during the 1960's. She also co-authored Mississippi Harmony with Ms. Winson Hudson, published fall 2002, which told the story of Mrs. Winson a civil rights leader from Leake County, Miss.,who also challenged segregation in the 1960s. Curry also collaborated in and edited Deep in Our Hearts: Nine White Women in the Freedom Movement (University of Georgia Press, 2000) and the book Aaron Henry: the Fire Ever Burning (University Press of Mississippi, 2000). More recently, she collaborated with Bob Zellner on The Wrong Side of Murder Creek, which received a Lillian Smith Book Award in 2009.