On Saturday, October 22, the North Carolina Society of Historians had its 71st annual meeting. At the awards banquet, Lees-McRae College Professor Dr. Allen Paul Speer's latest published book, From Banner Elk to Boonville, The Voices Trilogy: Part III, was chosen by three distinguished panels of judges to receive an award in each of the following categories: the Willie Parker Peace History Book Award, the Robert Bruce Cooke Family History Book Award, and the Ethel W. Twiford Religious History Book Award.
Judges noted that the book was 'extremely well-written, reader friendly, interesting, and surprisingly honest; worthy of receiving recognition in three categories by this Society." In addition, the panel said "This book is an outpouring of emotions from Mr. Speer with regard to his place in life and family. . . . This is a very special book, a book that delivers insight into Mr. Speer's soul."
Based on three volumes of his family history, Speer's personal memoir draws together his heritage and his life in a moving account of his growing up surrounded by physical and emotional monuments to the past in his family's home place in Boonville, NC. "Allen Speer's Voices from Cemetery Hill trilogy presents a unique look at our mountain valley culture from before the Civil War to the present, showing how the threads from the past form an important part of the cloth of today," said Dr. Michael Joslin, director of the Stephenson Center for Appalachia at Lees-McRae College.
Dr. Speer's trilogy has won a total of eleven awards, including the prestigious American Association for State and Local History Award. In From Banner Elk to Boonville, Speer recounts the story of his growth and development by vividly narrating his personal history as well as by retelling tales told by his forebears, whose voices continue to speak from Cemetery Hill. He shows how genetics, family and community mythology, and his own experiences have created the Allen Speer whose voice joins those of his ancestors to create a poignant portrait of a Southern family and their culture.
Dr. Allen Paul Speer is a Distinguished Professor of Humanities at Lees-McRae College and has been teaching at LMC for thirty-four years.
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