(The Mississippi Humanities Council )– 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 ten 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 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 chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities participating in the ceremony.”
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