Public Humanities Advocate Marsha White Warren to Receive Top Honor
On Friday, Oct. 16, at 7 p.m. at the William and Ida Friday Center for Continuing Education in Chapel Hill, Marsha White Warren will accept the North Carolina Humanities Council's highest honor, the John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities.
Warren receives the award for lifelong achievements as an advocate for the public humanities across North Carolina.
Dr. Reginald F. Hildebrand, associate professor of African American Studies and History at UNC Chapel Hill, will deliver the annual Caldwell Lecture in the Humanities. Hildebrand is the author of "The Times Were Strange and Stirring: Methodist Preachers and the Crisis of Emancipation," co-chair of the North Carolina Freedom Monument, and a North Carolina Humanities Council board member.
Dr. Laurence Avery, longtime president and current trustee of The Paul Green Foundation, states, "Just like John Caldwell, Marsha with boundless energy gets things done in the world in the service of humanistic ideals. It seems like the Caldwell Award was created just for her. It will be a happy day in North Carolina when she receives it."
A charter member of the North Carolina Writers' Network in 1985, Warren was the executive director from 1987 to 1996. She served as executive director of The Paul Green Foundation from 1991 to 2005 and is currently its literary executor.
Warren sits on the boards of the North Carolina Freedom Monument and the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities. With Sam Ragan, Warren developed the North Carolina Literary Hall of Fame and currently serves on its administrative team.
Past board service includes the National Coalition of Writers Organizations; North Carolina Cultural Alliance; North Carolina Cultural Resources Task Force; Arts Advocates of North Carolina; North Carolina Poetry Society; North Carolina Writers Conference; and the St. Andrews Press Editorial Board.
In 1999, Warren received a Doctor of Humane Letters from St. Andrews Presbyterian College. With Emily Herring Wilson, Warren co-organized the North Carolina Women Writers' Conference in 1992.
Warren is the recipient of numerous awards for her contributions to the arts and humanities. They include the Sam Ragan Award for Contributions to the Fine Arts in North Carolina and the R. Hunt Parker Memorial Award for Lifetime Contributions to Literature from the North Carolina Literary and Historical Association.
The North Carolina Poetry Society honored Warren for her many contributions to the literary community. In 2006, the Society dedicated its annual anthology, Pinesong, to Warren, saying that "No one else we know of has achieved so much for so many with such grace and genuine love of people."
The News & Observer named Warren "Tar Heel of the Week" in 1991, and under her leadership, the North Carolina Writers' Network received the Governor's Business Award in the Arts and Humanities in 1992 from the North Carolina Department of Cultural Resources and the Indies Arts Award in 1995 from the Independent Weekly.
Warren was associate editor of North Carolina's "400 Years: Signs Along the Way"; consulting editor of "Weymouth: An Anthology of Poetry"; and editor of the "Collected Poems of Sam Ragan: Poet Laureate of North Carolina." She was assistant editor of Carolina Spring and directed the project "Word & Witness: 100 Years of North Carolina Poetry."
Author and 1992 Caldwell Laureate Doris Betts writes that "In a South which has always valued history and past leaders, Marsha's work on many levels has been to bring the past forward, cast a light on it, make it speak to the present and the future."
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