Image John Egerton received the 1995 Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for Speak Now Against the Day: The Generation Before the Civil Rights Movement in the South. History recalls Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr., John Lewis, and the other brave leaders of the American civil rights movement of the 1950s and ’60s. But a tide of civil rights proponents grew more vocal with Franklin D. Roosevelt’s election in 1932, and Egerton tells the story of these brave women and men who paved the way for the greatest advances in social justice in American history.

John Egerton was a journalist and author whose work focused on the history and culture of the American South. He died in 2013.

Distinguished Honors

Melba Patilla Beals won Distinguished Honors for Warriors Don’t Cry: A Searing Memoir of the Battle to Integrate Little Rock’s Central High. In 1957, Melba Patilla Beals and eight other brave students became the vanguard of the nascent Civil Rights movement as they integrated Little Rock's Central High School in the wake of the Supreme Court's landmark decision in Brown v. Board of Education. Against harassment, threats, and scorn, Beals and her fellows struck a historic blow for justice while they were still teenagers.