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A work about the creation of a radical state history textbook has won the Mississippi Historical Society’s award for the best Mississippi history book of 2017. Charles W. Eagles was awarded the McLemore Prize for his book Civil Rights, Culture Wars: The Fight over a Mississippi Textbook, published by the University of North Carolina Press.

“Eagles’s book helps the reader to see the much-needed changes that Tougaloo College professor James Loewen and Millsaps professor Charles Sallis addressed in their 1974 textbook,” said Elizabeth Payne, University of Mississippi history professor and chair of the McLemore Prize committee. “Until Eagles’s book, little to no attention had been paid to the pioneering work of Loewen and Sallis.”

Eagles retired as the William F. Winter professor of history at the University of Mississippi. He won the McLemore Prize in 2010 for his book The Price of Defiance: James Meredith and the Integration of Ole Miss. Other publications Eagles has written include Democracy Delayed: Congressional Reapportionment and Urban-Rural Conflict in the 1920s written in 1991, and Outside Agitator: Jon Daniels and the Civil Rights Movement in Alabama written in 1993.

The McLemore Prize goes to the best book on a subject related to Mississippi history or biography published during the previous year. The prize memorializes Richard A. McLemore, former president of the Mississippi Historical Society and director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and his wife, Nannie Pitts McLemore, who also served as MHS president and who jointly wrote numerous books and scholarly articles with her husband.

The McLemore Prize carries a $700 cash award.

The Mississippi Historical Society, founded in 1858, encourages outstanding work in interpreting, teaching, and preserving Mississippi History. It provides annual grants to support programs of the Junior Historical Society and publishes books, maps, and other materials aimed toward the education of the general public. Membership is open to anyone; benefits include receiving the quarterly Journal of Mississippi History, the monthly Mississippi History Newsletter, and discounts at the Mississippi History Store. For information on becoming a member, call 601-576-6849 or see the MHS Web site, www.mdah.state.ms.us/admin/mhistsoc.html.

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