"Winners of Lillian Smith Award"

By Staff

Vol. 6, No. 2, 1984, p. 21

1968 George B. Tindall, The Emergence of the New South

1968 Dan T. Carter, Scottsboro

1970 Paul M. Gaston, The New South Creed

1971 Tony Dunbar, Our Land, Too

1972 Robert Coles, Children of Crisis, Vols. II and III

1973 Harold Martin, Ralph McGill, Reporter Alice Walker, Revolutionary Petunias and other Poems

1974 C. Vann Woodward, The Strange Career of Jim Crow, 3d rev'd ed.
Albert Murray, Train Whistle Guitar

1976 James Loewen and Charles Sallis, Mississippi: Conflict and Change
Reynolds Price, The Surface of Earth

1977 Richard Kluger, Simple Justice
Alex Haley, Roots

1978 Will Campbell, Brother to a Dragonfly
Garrett Epps, The Shad Treatment

1979 Marion Wright, Human Rights Odyssey
Ernest J. Gaines, In My Father's House

1980 Jacquelyn Dowd Hall, Revolt Against Chivalry
Cormac McCarthy, Suttree

1981 John Gaventa, Power and Powerlessness; Quiescence and Rebellion in an Appalachian Valley
Pat Conroy, The Lords of Discipline

1982 Harry Ashmore, Hearts and Minds: A History of Racism from Roosevelt to Reagan

1983 John Ehle, The Winter People
Fred Hobson, South-Watching: Selected Essays by Gerald W. Johnson
Roy Hoffman, Almost Family

Critical Attitudes

If the work of building the new South is to go forward to best advantage, the South must develop its own critics. They can criticize most effectively, in the first place because they have the Southern viewpoint, and can therefore be understood, and in the second place because they have the most reliable information, and therefore can most frequently spot the joints in Southern armor. For the same reasons they can best interpret the South to the rest of the nation.

But if they are to affect either the South or the outside world, they must be critics, not press-agents Too much has been said of the South's need for "sympathetic" criticism. This demand has resulted in some so-called criticism that is sympathetic, not with the South, but with the South's least admirable traits, with bigotry, intolerance, superstition and prejudice. What the South needs is criticism that is ruthless toward those things--bitter towards them, furiously against them--and sympathetic only with its idealism, with its loyalty, with its courage and its inflexible determination. Such criticism will not be popular, for it is not in human nature to hold in warm affection the stern idealist who relentlessly exposes one's follies and frailties and continually appeals to one's better nature. But it will be respected and in the end admired. And above all, it will be effective.
Gerald W. Johnson, 1924.