MHC 2021 Awards Gala
Published 12:59 pm Monday, December 6, 2021
Jackson, MS December 1, 2021—The Mississippi Humanities Council is delighted to announce
recipients for its 2022 Public Humanities Awards, which recognize outstanding work by
Mississippians in bringing the insights of the humanities to public audiences. These recipients
will be honored at a public ceremony and reception Friday evening, March 25, at the Old
Capitol Museum in Jackson.
Dr. William Reynolds Ferris, former chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities,
will receive the Cora Norman Award in recognition of his distinguished career as a scholar and
national leader in the humanities. A native of Vicksburg, Ferris is a writer, folklorist, and
documentarian who has written or edited 10 books about Mississippi culture and history. He
was a founding director of the Center for the Study of Southern Culture at the University of
Mississippi. In 2018 he produced the Grammy Award-winning box set Voices of Mississippi
containing his field recordings and documentary films. Ferris is currently the Joel R. Williamson
Eminent Professor of History Emeritus at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He
served as chairman of the NEH from 1997 to 2001. Jon Parrish Peede, one of Ferris’ former
students who also served as NEH chairman from 2017 to 2020, will present the Cora Norman
award to Ferris.
“In 2022 we will mark the 50th anniversary of the MHC with our year-long theme “Reflecting
Mississippi,” and we can think of no public scholar who has done more than Bill Ferris to reflect
the richness and complexity of our state’s culture, from its music, folklife, and history to its art
and literature,” said Stuart Rockoff executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council. “It
will be especially appropriate to honor his lifetime of leadership in the public humanities
during our 50th anniversary year. We are very excited to have both Mississippians who have
served as chairmen of the National Endowment for the Humanities participating in the
In addition to honoring Ferris, the MHC will also recognize:
Humanities Scholar Award: Dr. Daphne Chamberlain, associate professor of history at
Tougaloo College, for her commitment to bridging academic humanities and the public
through her expertise as a civil rights historian.
Humanities Partner Award: New Hope Baptist Church in Jackson for its outstanding Black History Month programs which
have received MHC grant support for several years.
Humanities Educator: Mississippi Delta Community College Prison Education Program for its work providing for-credit
courses to incarcerated students at the Mississippi State Penitentiary at Parchman amid the COVID pandemic.
Preserver of Mississippi Culture: Fannie Lou Hamer’s America Project, which produced a documentary film that will be
broadcast nationwide over public television, bringing the voice and story of an extraordinary Mississippian to a national
Reflecting Mississippi Award: W. Ralph Eubanks for his work as a memoirist and literary scholar that has helped revise our
state’s narratives to reflect Mississippi more honestly and accurately.
The MHC will also recognize 30 recipients of the 2022 Humanities Teacher Awards, which pay tribute to outstanding
faculty in traditional humanities fields at each of our state’s institutions of higher learning.
The Council invites everyone to join them at their 2022 Public Humanities Awards ceremony and reception March 25,
2022, at 5:30 p.m. at the Old Capitol Museum in Jackson.
Tickets for the Mississippi Humanities Council Public Humanities Awards ceremony and reception are $50 each and may be
purchased online at www.mshumanities.org or by sending a check to the Mississippi Humanities Council, 3825 Ridgewood
Road, Room 317, Jackson, MS 39211.
The Mississippi Humanities Council is funded by Congress through the National Endowment for the Humanities to provide
public programs in traditional liberal arts disciplines to serve nonprofit groups in Mississippi. The MHC creates
opportunities for Mississippians to learn about themselves and the larger world and enriches communities through civil
conversations about our history and culture.