Pat Summit book wins state history book award

Title IX, Pat Summitt, and Tennessee Trailblazers: 50 Years, 50 Stories
Mary Ellen Pethel (left) recently won a state book award for her non-fiction work that examines Title IX’s impact on women’s sports in the state. (Images Provided)

The Tennessee Historical Commission and the Tennessee Historical Society announced on Tennessee Statehood Day that the Tennessee History Book Award for 2022 goes to Title IX, Pat Summitt, and Tennessee Trailblazers, 50 Years, 50 Stories by Mary Ellen Pethel. The prize includes $2,000 to the winning author.

Published by the University of Tennessee Press, one prize panelist described the book as a fascinating study of the impact of Title IX on women’s sports in colleges and universities across Tennessee. Pethel’s focus on the individual coaches, players, and athletic programs allows the reader to see how Tennessee women have benefitted from and been influenced by this legislation over the past 50 years since its passage.

Judged by a panel of four historians from across Tennessee’s Grand Divisions, three other books were finalists for the prize: To Care for the Sick and Bury the Dead: African American Lodges and Cemeteries in Tennessee, James K. Polk and His Time: Essays at the Conclusion of the Polk Project, and Following the Drums: African American Fife and Drum Music in Tennessee.

THC Chair Derita Coleman Williams said, “June 1, Tennessee Statehood Day, is the perfect time to highlight this important new book. The Tennessee Historical Commission is delighted with its new partnership with the THS to bring increased attention to Tennessee history.”

The award program received a record number of submissions for the 2022 publication year. THS Executive Director Jennifer C. Core said “We’re happy to join with THC in congratulating Dr. Pethel on this well-deserved honor. Dr. Pethel’s skill in combining oral histories with archival research presents the story of Title IX, using Tennessee as the focus.”

The winning author, Mary Ellen Pethel, PhD, serves as Assistant Professor of Global Leadership Studies and Honors at Belmont University. She is also the author of other books, including Athens of the New South: College Life and the Making of Modern Nashville. She is currently working on a history of the life of Sarah Cannon, better known as Minnie Pearl. Nominations of the 2023 Tennessee History Book Award will be accepted in November 2023. Additional information about the Award and nomination forms can be found on the Tennessee Historical Society website. For more information about the Tennessee Historical Commission, please visit the website.•