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 - 2011 awards ceremonies may be viewed through by clicking on the images on this page or on the Video Bar. The 2015 awards ceremony will be held at the DeKalb County Public Library in Decatur, Georgia on Sunday, September 6th.
This year’s Lillian Smith jury is again chaired by Mary A. Twining, Emeritus Professor of English and Folklore at Clark Atlanta University. Noted for her study of the Sea Island Communities of Georgia and South Carolina, and their cultural ties to West African culture, her published work has included Sea Island Roots: African Presence in the Carolinas and Georgia, which she edited with Keith E. Baird (Trenton, NJ: Africa World Press 1991); Names and Naming in the Sea Islands, a contribution to the Crucible of Carolina: Essays in the Development of Gullah Language and Culture, edited by Michael Montgomery and Louise Ferrell, University of Georgia Press, 1994; The New Nomads, Art, Life, and Lure of Migrant workers in New York State, published in The Journal of the New York Folklore Society 1987; and numerous contributions to the Journal of Black Studies.
Returning juror James Taylor manages the Returning juror Atlanta Fulton Public Library’s Buckhead Branch and also hosts the System’s Writers in Focus, “a meet-the-author” television show produced by Fulton County Television (FGTV) and broadcast throughout metro Atlanta and Fulton County. He previously managed the Library Express Department, the Circulation Department, and the Ivan Allen Reference Department
The jury for this year's awards again includes Dr. Marcy D. Johnson. A native of Savannah Georgia, Dr. Johnson served as the Chief Information Officer and Dean of the Center for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at Bennett College for Women.
Dr. Johnson received an undergraduate degree in mathematics from the University of Colorado and earned a Master of Science in Education from Indiana University. She received a Ph.D. in Curriculum and Instruction with an emphasis in Instructional Technology from Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University.
Joining the jury this again year is Dr. Vicki Crawford. Dr. Crawford received her Ph.D. degree from Emory University in the field of American Studies with a concentration in twentieth century African American history.Dr. Crawford has spent ten years as an academic administrator and has sought to enhance her administrative skills through participation in the American Council on Education’s National Leadership Forum for Women Administrators. Currently, she is Director of the Morehouse College Martin Luther King, Jr. Collection where she is developing campus-based programming in support of the Collection and creating opportunities for teaching, research and scholarship that promote the legacy of Dr. King.
Also joining the jury again this year is Merryl Penson, Executive Director of Library Services for the Georgia Board of Regents.