Award Winners

The Lillian Smith Book Awards are sponsored by the Southern Regional Council, University of Georgia Libraries, DeKalb County Public Library/Georgia Center for the Book and Piedmont University

2023 Winners

  • Linda Villarosa, Under the Skin: The Hidden Toll of Racism on American Lives and on the Health of Our Nation, Penguin Random House
  • Tomiko Brown-Nagin, Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality, Pantheon Books

2022 Winners

  • Mia Bay, Traveling Black: A Story of Race and Resistance, Harvard University Press
  • Jocelyn Nicole Johnson, My Monticello, Henry Holt & Co.

2021 Winners

  • William A. Darity, Jr. and A. Kirsten Mullen, From Here to Equality: Reparations for Black Americans in the Twenty-first Century, University of North Carolina Press
  • Lawrence Goldstone, On Account of Race: The Supreme Court, White Supremacy, and the Ravaging of American Voting Rights, Counterpoint Press

2020 Winners

  • Jelani M. Favors, Shelter in a Time of Storm: How Black Colleges Fostered Generations of Leadership and Activism, University of North Carolina Press
  • Brandon K. Winford, John Hervey Wheeler, Black Banking, and the Economic Struggle for Civil Rights, University Press of Kentucky

2019 Winners

  • Rachel Devlin, A Girl Stands at the Door: The Generation of Young Women Who Desegregated America's Schools, Hachette Book Group
  • Vanessa Siddle Walker, The Lost Education of Horace Tate: Uncovering the Hidden Heroes Who Fought for Justice in Schools, The New Press
  • Virginia Eubanks, Automating Inequality: How High-Tech Tools Profile, Police, and Punish the Poor, St. Martin's Press

2018 Winners

  • James Forman Jr, Locking Up Our Own: Crime and Punishment in Black America, Farrar, Strauss and Giroux
  • Nancy MacLean, Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right's Stealth Plan for America, Viking/Penguin Books


2016-2017 Winners

Presented by Southern Regional Council, University of Georgia Libraries, DeKalb County Public Library/Georgia Center for the Book and Piedmont College


  • Bell-Scott, Patricia, The Firebrand and the First Lady, Alfred A. Knopf
  • Goluboff, Risa, Vagrant Nation, Oxford University Press


  • Knott, Cheryl, Not Free, Not For All: Public Libraries in the Age of Jim Crow, University of Massachusetts Press
  • Morrison, Minion K. C., Aaron Henry of Mississippi: Inside Agitator, University of Arkansas Press


2007-2015 Winners

Presented by Southern Regional Council, University of Georgia Libraries, DeKalb County Public Library/Georgia Center for the Book


  • Formwalt, Lee W.Looking Back, Moving Forward: The Southwest Georgia Freedom Struggle, 1814-2014, Albany Civil Rights Institute and Georgia Humanities Council
  • Maraniss, AndrewStrong Inside: Perry Wallace and the Collision of Race and Sports in the South, Vanderbilt University Press


  • Lafayette, Bernard, Jr., In Peace and Freedom, My Journey in Selma, University Press of Kentucky
  • O'Brien, M.J.We Shall Not Be Moved: The Jackson Woolworth's Sit-In and the Movement It Inspired, University Press of Mississippi


  • Jelks, Randal Maurice, Benjamin Elijah Mays, Schoolmaster of the Movement: a Biography, University of North Carolina Press
  • Hamlin, Francoise N.Crossroads at Clarkdale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after World War II, University of North Carolina Press


  • Brown-Nagin, TomikoCourage to Dissent: Atlanta and the Long History of the Civil Right Movement, Oxford University Press
  • Inscoe, John C.Writing the South Through the Self: Explorations in Southern Autobiography, University of Georgia Press


  • Lerner, SteveSacrifice Zones: The Front Lines of Toxic Chemical Exposure in the United States, The MIT Press
  • McGuire, Danielle L.At the Dark End of the Street: Black Women, Rape, and Resistance-A New History of the Civil Rights Movement From Rosa Parks to the Rise of Black Power, Alfred A. Knopf


  • Wood, Amy Louise, Lynching and Spectacle: Witnessing Racial Violence in America, 1890-1940, University of North Carolina Press
  • Eagles, Charles W., The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss, University of North Carolina Press


  • Gross, Areila J., What Blood Won't Tell: A History of Race on Trial in America, Harvard University Press
  • Bob Zellner with Constance CurryThe Wrong Side of Murder Creek: A White Southerner in the Freedom Movement, NewSouth Books, Inc.


  • Joseph Crespino, In Search of Another Country: Mississippi and the Conservative Counterrevolution, Princeton University Press
  • Wesley C. Hogan, Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC's Dream for a New America, University of North Carolina Press


  • Natasha TretheweyNative Guard, Houghton Mifflin Co.
  • Matthew D. Lassiter, The Silent Majority: Suburban Politics In the Sunbelt South, Princeton University Press


2004-2006 Winners

Presented by the Southern Regional Council and the University of Georgia Libraries


  • Heather Andrea WilliamsSelf-Taught: African American Education in Slavery and Freedom, University of North Carolina Press
  • W. Fitzhugh BrundageThe Southern Past: A Clash of Race and Memory, Belknap Press of Harvard University Press


  • Stepanie M. H. CampCloser to Freedom: Enslaved Women and Everyday Resistance in the Plantation South, University of North Carolina Press
  • Frye Gaillard, Cradle of Freedom: Alabama and the Movement that Changed America, University of Alabama Press
  • Tayari JonesThe Untelling: A Novel, Time Warner Book Group


  • Barbara RansbyElla Baker and the Black Freedom Movement: A Radical Democratic Vision, University of North Carolina Press
  • Elizabeth R. VaronSouthern Lady, Yankee Spy: The True Story of Elizabeth Van Lew, A Union Agent in the Heart of the Confederacy, Oxford University Press
  • Frank X. Walker, Buffalo Dance, The Journey of York, The University Press of Kentucky


1968-2002 Winners

Presented by Southern Regional Council


  • Anthony GroomsBombingham , Free Press
  • Mark NewmanGetting Right with God: Southern Baptists and Desegregation, 1945-1995 , University of Alabama Press
  • Keith WailooDying in the City of the Blues: Sickle Cell Anemia and the Politics of Race and Health, University of North Carolina Press
  • William H. ChafeRaymond Gavins , and Robert Korstad editors, with Paul OrtizRobert ParrishJennifer RitterhouseKeisha RobertsRemembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South, The New Press


  • Hal Crowther, Cathedrals of Kudzu: A Personal Landscape of the South, Louisiana State University Press
  • Pam Durban, So Far Back, Picador USA
  • Robert P. “Bob” Moses, Charles E. Cobb, Jr., Radical Equations , Beacon Press
  • Natasha Trethewey, Domestic Work, Graywolf Press


  • Lawrence N. Powell, Troubled Memory: Anne Levy, The Holocaust, and David Duke's Louisiana, University of North Carolina Press
  • Andrew M. Manis, A Fire You Can't Put Out: The Civil Rights Life of Birmingham's Reverend Fred Shuttlesworth , University of Alabama Press
  • Michael Keith HoneyBlack Workers Remember: An Oral History of Segregation, Unionism and the Freedom Struggle, University of California Press


  • J. Morgan KousserColorblind Injustice: Minority Voting Rights and the Undoing of the Second Reconstruction , University of North Carolina Press
  • Leroy DavisA Clashing of the Soul: John Hope and the Dilemma of African-American Leadership and Black Higher Education in the Early Twentieth Century , University of Georgia Press


  • John LewisWalking with the Wind: A Memoir of the Movement , with Michael D'Orso, Simon & Schuster
  • Elizabeth CoxNight Talk , Graywolf Press, 1997 (Paperback Edition, St. Martin's Press, 1998)


  • John M. BarryThe Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How It Changed America, Simon & Schuster
  • Charles FrazierCold Mountain , Atlantic Monthly Press


  • Michael D'OrsoLike Judgment Day: The Ruin and Redemption of a Town Called Rosewood , Grosset/Putnam
  • Constance CurrySilver Rights , Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Anthony GroomsTrouble No More , La Questa


  • Charles M. PayneI've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition and the Mississippi Freedom Struggle, University of California Press
  • Adam FaircloughRace & Democracy: The Civil Rights Struggle in Louisana, 1915-1972, University of Georgia Press
  • Mary Lee SettleChoices, Nan A. Talese/Doubleday


  • John Gregory Brown Decorations in a Ruined Cemetery , Houghton Mifflin Company
  • Henry Louis Gates, Jr.Colored People , Alfred A. Knopf
  • John DittmerLocal People: The Struggle for Civil Rights in Mississippi , University of Illinois Press


  • Charles W. EaglesOutside Agitator: Jon Daniels and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama , University of North Carolina Press
  • William BaldwinThe Hard To Catch Mercy , Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Margaret Rose GladneyHow Am I To Be Heard? Letters of Lillian Smith, University of North Carolina Press


  • Marian Wright Edelman, The Measure of Our Success: A Letter to My Children and Yours , Beacon Press
  • Melissa Fay GreenePraying for Sheetrock , Addison-Wesley
  • Denise GiardinaThe Unquiet Earth , W.W. Norton & Company


  • J.L. Chestnut, Jr., and Julia CassBlack in Selma : The Uncommon Life of J.L. Chestnut, Jr., Politics and Power in a Small American Town , Farrar, Straus & Giroux
  • Mary Ward BrownTongues of Flame, E.P. Dutton


  • Wayne FlyntPoor But Proud: Alabama's Poor Whites , University of Alabama Press
  • Dori SandersClover: A Novel , Algonquin Books


  • Melany NielsonEven Mississippi, University of Alabama Press
  • Madison Smartt BellSoldier's Joy , Ticknor & Fields
  • Gloria NaylorMama Day , Ticknor & Fields


  • Melton A. McLaurin, Separate Pasts: Growing Up White in the Segregated South , University of Georgia Press
  • C. Eric LincolnThe Avenue: Clayton City , Morrow


  • Thomas L. Johnson, and Phillip C. Dunn (ed.)A True Likeness: The Black South of Richard Samuel Roberts, 1920-1936 , Algonquin Books
  • Pauli MurraySong in a Weary Throat: An American Pilgrimage , Harper & Row
  • Mary HoodAnd Venus is Blue: Stories , Ticknor & Fields


  • A.J. MojtabaiBlessed Assurance: At Home with the Bomb in Amarillo , Texas , Houghton Mifflin


  • James FarmerLay Bare the Heart: An Autobiography of the Civil Rights Movement , Arbor House
  • Peter TaylorThe Old Forest and Other Stories , Dial Press


  • John EgertonGenerations: An American Family , University of Kentucky Press
  • Alice WalkerIn Search of Our Mother's Gardens: Womanist Prose , Harcourt Brace
  • Eudora Welty, Special Lifetime Award


  • Fred HobsonSouth-Watching: Selected Essays by Gerald W. Johnson, University of North Carolina>Press
  • Roy HoffmanAlmost Family , Dial Press


  • Harry S. AshmoreHearts and Minds: The Anatomy of Racism from Roosevelt to Reagan , McGraw-Hill
  • John EhleThe Winter People , Harper & Row


  • John GaventaPower and Powerlessness: Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley , University of Illinois Press
  • Pat ConroyThe Lords of Discipline , Houghton Mifflin


  • Jacquelyn Dowd HallRevolt Against Chivalry: Jessie Daniel Ames and the Women's Campaign Against Lynching , Columbia University Press
  • Cormac McCarthySuttree , Random House


  • Marion Wright and Arnold ShankmanHuman Rights Odyssey , Moore Publishing
  • Ernest J. GainesIn My Father's House, Alfred A. Knopf


  • Will D. Campbell, Brother to a Dragonfly , The Seabury Press
  • Garrett EppsThe Shad Treatment: A Novel , Putnam


  • Alex Haley, Roots , Doubleday
  • Richard KlugerSimple Justice: The History of Brown v. Board of Education and Black America 's Struggle for Equality, Alfred A. Knopf


  • James Loewen and Charles SallisMississippi : Conflict and Change, Pantheon Books
  • Reynolds PriceThe Surface of Earth, Atheneum


  • C. Vann WoodwardThe Strange Career of Jim Crow , Oxford University Press
  • Albert MurrayTrain Whistle Guitar, McGraw-Hill


  • Harold MartinRalph McGill, Reporter, Little Brown and Company
  • Alice WalkerRevolutionary Petunias and Other Poems , Harcourt Brace Jovanovich


  • Robert Coles Children of Crisis, Vol. II: Migrants Sharecroppers, and Mountaineers , and Vol. III: The South Goes North, Little Brown and Company


  • Anthony DunbarOur Land, Too, Pantheon Books


  • Paul M. GastonThe New South Creed: A Study in Southern Mythmaking , Alfred A. Knopf


  • Dan T. CarterScottsboro: A Tragedy of the American South, Louisiana State University Press


  • George B. TindallThe Emergence of the New South : 1913-1945, Louisiana State University Press