Georgia Historical Society Presents Keith S. Hébert of Auburn University with 2022 Bell Award for the Best Book on Georgia History

Staff Report

Friday, March 31st, 2023

Dr. W. Todd Groce, President and CEO of the Georgia Historical Society, presented Dr. Keith S. Hébert with the 2022 Malcolm Bell, Jr., and Muriel Barrow Bell Award for best book on Georgia history published in 2021 during a ceremony at Auburn University on Wednesday, March 29. The award was presented to Dr. Hébert for his book, Cornerstone of the Confederacy: Alexander Stephens and the Speech that Defined the Lost Cause (University of Tennessee Press).

“Keith Hébert’s exhaustively researched and lucidly written book on the Cornerstone Speech is an extraordinary piece of scholarship, deftly connecting the past with the present,” said Dr. Groce. “Many people are familiar with the speech but have no idea about how it has been used over time. Professor Hébert has demonstrated that Alexander Stephen’s views on the role of Black people and slavery in the creation of the Confederacy was no aberration but served as the foundation for an emerging White supremacy movement that continues to this day.”

The Bell Award, established in 1992, is the highest publication award given by the Georgia Historical Society. It recognizes the best book on Georgia history published in the previous year. The award is named in honor of Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell in recognition of their contributions to the recording of Georgia’s history.

The GHS Publication Awards Committee noted that, “This book is much more than a history of the speech or a biography of the man who gave it. This impressive study of historical memory also shows how White Americans have continually used Stephens’s speech to contest emancipation and to justify White supremacy from the nineteenth century to the present. The many meanings of the Cornerstone Speech, fostered by Stephens himself, have endured as a battleground and building block within the ‘Lost Cause’ mythology. Throughout this fascinating and well-researched study, Hébert demonstrates how the history of the Cornerstone Speech extends far beyond its Confederate Georgia roots and how it has shaped White supremacy in America.”

Keith S. Hébert is the Draughon Associate Professor of Southern History at Auburn University. His research focuses on the Confederate home front during the American Civil War and the role that white supremacy played in the development of Civil War memory. His first book, The Long Civil War in the North Georgia Mountains: Confederate Nationalism, Sectionalism, and White Supremacy in Bartow County, Georgia, was published by the University of Tennessee Press in 2017. He also has published in the Georgia Historical Quarterly. His second book,The Administrative History of Horseshoe Bend National Military Park was published by the National Park Service in 2019.

For more information about the Malcolm Bell, Jr. and Muriel Barrow Bell Award please contact Keith Strigaro, Director of Communications, at 912.651.2125, ext. 153 or by email at [email protected]. For a list of past recipients of the Bell Award please visit our website at