Eye on the Struggle: Ethel Payne, the First Lady of the Black Press by James McGrath Morris (Amistad) has won the National Book Award of the Benjamin L. Hooks Institute for Social Change at the University of Memphis.
The judges commented: "In his highly accessible book, Morris traces the narrative of Payne's career and adds insight into her personal experiences as a pioneering black woman in the press. In so doing, the book shines a light on the crucial role of the black press during the civil rights movement and enlarges the field of movement icons to include a less obvious piece of the larger political struggle. At the same time, Morris has explicitly inserted the voice of a female figure within the movement and has helped ensure that a wider range of perspectives will be included in the collective memory of this period in American history. Payne's experiences span the life of the movement, and Morris effectively utilizes her story to craft a true civil rights biography."