N.C. A&T’s “Mens et Manus” Awarded Willie Parker Peace Prize

N.C. A&T’s “Mens et Manus” Awarded Willie Parker Peace Prize

In 2015, North Carolina A&T State University celebrated its 125th anniversary in grand fashion. Included among the celebration was the production of a compilation of the university’s history through pictures and prose. That extraordinary and daunting task was not only lauded by the university and campus community, but was recently honored with a local award. “Mens et Manus: A Pictorial History of North Carolina Agricultural and Technical State University,” received the Willie Parker Peace Prize in the History Book Category from the North Carolina Society of Historians (NCSH). The award was presented at the society’s Diamond Jubilee celebration, Nov. 5 at the Stone Center in North Wilkesboro, North Carolina.

Co-authors of the pictorial history book, Valerie Nieman, professor of English and creative writing, and Dr. Teresa Styles, retired associate professor of journalism and former chairwoman of the Department of Journalism and Mass Communication, were honored with certificates and membership into the NCSH.

Judges for the coveted award were clearly enamored by the book and collectively commented as such, stating, “This has got to be one of the finest publications we have ever been privileged to judge.”

After citing the quality and diversity of featured photographs, the judges continued, “The rich, accompanying text begins at the moment this source of higher education was but a dream in the minds of many black Americans, and through their sheer determination and desire for an equal education for all, they forged ahead until their dreams came to fruition…This book is a record, a testament, proof that the sky is the limit for anybody wanting to work hard, study earnestly, and graduate proudly…This volume is a feast for the eyes and food for the soul.”

The creation of “Mens et Manus” was a team effort. Along with the authors, Vicki Coleman, dean of libraries at N.C. A&T directed the compilation project, and attended the ceremony along with Nieman, Styles and key members of the library staff: Arneice Bowen, Gloria Pitts, and John Teleha.

The Willie Parker Peace History Book award was established on Dec. 6, 1958, in honor of the late Mrs. Willie Parker Peace, a highly-respected historian and philanthropist in the Henderson, North Carolina community and left behind a historical legacy.

The NCSH was formed in 1941 for the purpose of collecting and preserving statewide and local North Carolina history, traditions, artifacts, genealogies and folklore.