De Grummond Marks 50th Anniversary of Coretta Scott King Award and Pays Tribute to Author Richard Peck in New Exhibit

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Coretta Scott King Award, and the de Grummond Children’s Literature Collection is celebrating with a new exhibit in Cook Library. To commemorate this fifty-year legacy, the de Grummond Collection has many of the award-winning books on display, as well as original artwork and manuscripts of past winners that include Angela Johnson, Ashley Bryan, Nikki Grimes, E.B. Lewis, and John Steptoe.

Presented annually by the American Library Association (ALA), the Coretta Scott King Book Awards are given to “outstanding African American authors and illustrators of books for children and young adults that demonstrate an appreciation of African American culture and universal human values.” The award honors Coretta Scott King, wife of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for her “courage and determination to continue the work for peace and world brotherhood.”

Another section of the gallery features photographs, books, manuscripts, and other items from the papers of celebrated author Richard Peck. A close friend and supporter of the de Grummond Collection, Peck passed away in May of 2018. The display is a tribute to the author’s life and work and shows his strong connection with Southern Miss through the years. Highlights include photographs of Peck taken by his friend and fellow author, Sonya Sones, and a quilt made for him by schoolchildren.

Also exhibited are items from the Coleen Salley papers to commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Salley Storytelling Award, presented at the Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival in 2019. Additionally, original art from Goggles!, by Ezra Jack Keats, is on display to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

The de Grummond gallery is located on the second floor of Cook Library, adjacent to the administrative office. The exhibit can be viewed 8 a.m. - 12 p.m. and 1 – 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. Please contact Ellen Ruffin, curator of the de Grummond Collection, for more information at 601-266-4349 or ellen.ruffin@usm.edu.