ALBANY — Lela M. Phillips will be among the 26th Governor’s Awards in the Humanities recipients being honored Oct. 6 at the Old Georgia Railroad Freight Depot in downtown Atlanta.
Phillips is being honored for building bridges between Southwest Georgia, the rest of the state, and the world through teaching, research, and program development.
A former Professor of Humanities at Andrew College, Phillips taught critical thinking, writing, and research skills to the students in her classroom, using local stories, places or art works as starting points. She also served as an advocate and mentor for the international students at Andrew as well as the campus chapter of Phi Theta Kappa.
While at the college, she co-authored two publications: “The History of Andrew College” and “Toward Literacy: Theory and Applications for Teaching Writing in the Content Areas.” In 2001, she published “The Lena Baker Story,” which chronicles the events surrounding the only woman to be executed in Georgia’s electric chair.
Phillips’ retelling of Baker’s story led the Georgia Board of Pardons and Parole to re-examine the case and to issue a posthumous pardon. Subsequently, the book was turned into a motion picture, which aired at the Cannes Film Festival.
“Dr. Lela Phillips’ work inspires, educates, and increases our collective appreciation of humanities and culture in Georgia,” Gov. Nathan Deal said.
The celebration of the humanities coincides with National Arts and Humanities Month in October.
Recipients of the Governor’s Award are nominated by the public, reviewed by a committee of the Georgia Humanities Council board, and approved ultimately by the governor.
“The work of these individuals and organizations serve as models for what can be accomplished through the humanities in communities across our state,” said Jamil S. Zainaldin, president of the Georgia Humanities Council.