Buford Peace Award

Tony D. WalkerTony D. Walker of Montgomery, Alabama, has established The Lahoma Adams Buford Endowed Support Fund (Buford Peace Award) to recognize and encourage faculty members to become both professionally and personally active in causes that promote peace and justice. This award is to honor Ms. Lahoma Adams Buford who served her community without desire for recognition and dedicated her life to build a better, just and more peaceful world.

The Peace Award is granted annually to a University of Alabama faculty member, whose teaching, research, practice and professional life have demonstrated exceptional levels of involvement in mediating human disputes, helping overcome prejudice, promoting justice and establishing peace. The recipient will receive a $1,000 award and will be recognized at a ceremony in the spring semester. Highest priority will be given to faculty members from the School of Social Work, but faculty members in any division of UA are eligible provided they meet the selection criteria. Nominations may be made by faculty, students, or others.


UA’s Spears Named 2016 Recipient of Buford Peace Award

Ellen Spears.2TUSCALOOSA, Ala. — Dr. Ellen Griffith Spears, associate professor in New College and the department of American studies at The University of Alabama, is the 2016 winner of the Buford Peace Award.

Established in 2002 by UA School of Social Work alumnus Tony D. Walker to honor Lahoma Adams Buford, the award is given annually to a faculty member at UA who, in his or her teaching, research, professional practice and personal life, has demonstrated exceptional levels of involvement in mediating human disputes, helping overcome prejudice, promoting justice and establishing peace.

“The Buford Peace Award is especially meaningful to me as the award recognizes the value of connecting research and teaching with community work for justice and peace,” Spears said. “Having institutional support for bridging between higher education and community work for justice is so valuable.

“I am especially honored to be counted among the dedicated and accomplished colleagues who have received the Buford Peace Award, strong role models all.”

Spears’ research is broadly interdisciplinary, combining environmental and civil rights history with studies of science, technology and public health. Spears has spoken on the social costs of pollution around the U.S. and internationally and has authored numerous essays.

Her book, “Baptized in PCBs: Race, Pollution, and Justice in an All-American Town,” published in 2014 by the University of North Carolina Press, explores key questions faced by communities that seek to address systemic class and race inequalities and to tackle toxic pollution.

The book received the 2015 Francis B. Simkins Prize from the Southern Historical Association, the 2014 Arthur J. Viseltear Award for Outstanding Contribution to the History of Public Health from the Medical Care Section of the American Public Health Association, and the 2015 Reed Environmental Writing Award, from the Southern Environmental Law Center.

UA’s New College and the department of American studies are part of the College of Arts and Sciences, the University’s largest division and the largest liberal arts college in the state. Students from the College have won numerous national awards including Rhodes Scholarships and Goldwater Scholarships.


Testimonials from Past Award Winners:

Dr. Cassandra Simon.Dr. Cassandra Simon, assistant professor of social work, was selected as the first honoree of The Lahoma Adams Buford Peace Award. Dr. Simon described what winning the award meant to her in 2004.

“Receiving the Lahoma Adams Buford Peace Award has been one of the highlights of my life. Having only been here 4 years and to be the first recipient is especially meaningful to me. I am humbled to be honored in such a way. To have my peers, co-workers and students recognize the importance of justice and peace in my life and the way I try to live it greatly adds to the significance of the award and inspires me. I am grateful to Mrs. Buford for living such an inspiring life, to Mr. Tony Walker for recognizing the importance of these values in the world in which we live, and to my mother and grandmother, Bertha Johnwell and Bessie Pipion, for molding me and giving me the strength to be who I am today.”


Dr. J. Norman Baldwin.Dr. J. Norman Baldwin, associate professor and director of the master of public administration program in the Political Science Department, College of Arts and Sciences, was named the 2010 recipient of the Lahoma Adams Buford Peace Award.

Dr. J. Norman Baldwin needed pause to gather his emotions and find the right words to describe what winning the Lahoma Adams Buford Peace Award meant to him in 2010. As he sat in his office in Ten Hoor Hall, the political science professor, eyes watery and voice cracking, described why the Buford Peace Award is equipollent to other campus-wide awards he’s received in his 20-plus years at The University of Alabama. “I hold social workers in such high esteem because they’re truly wonderful people,” Baldwin said. “I put them on a pedestal. To be recognized by social workers, in light of what they’ve committed themselves to professionally, I can’t think of any higher honor.” Baldwin has served as Faculty Senate president, where he spearheaded an effort to achieve domestic partner benefits for faculty in same-sex relationships, as well as led an effort to help facilitate the racial integration of UA’s Greek system. “Eleven years ago, I pushed for integration of the Greek system,” Baldwin said, “it didn’t happen. I experienced some intimidation because of it; there were uncooperative people. But for the Buford Award to recognize me in part for that effort makes me feel it wasn’t in vain. “Sometimes you’re lonely out there championing social causes.”


Past Award Winners:
2004 – Dr. Cassandra Simon, associate professor, School of Social Work; 2005 – Dr. Amilcar Shabazz, assistant professor and director of the African-American Studies program, College of Arts and Sciences; 2006 – Dr. John O’Neal, professor of political science, College of Arts and Sciences; 2007 – Dr. Bryan Fair, Thomas E. Skinner Professor of Law, School of Law; 2008 – Dr. Patricia Bauch, professor of educational leadership, policy and technology studies, College of Education; 2009 – Dr. Rhonda Johnson, professor of Women’s Studies, College of Arts and Sciences; 2010 – Dr. J. Norman Baldwin, associate professor and director of the master of public administration program, Department of Political Science, College of Arts and Sciences; 2011 – Joanne Terrell, instructor, School of Social Work; 2012 – Dr. Bronwen Lichtenstein, associate professor and graduate director, Department of Criminal Justice, College of Arts and Sciences; 2013 – Dr. Stephen F. Black, director of The University of Alabama Center for Ethics and Social Responsibility and a faculty member in the Honors College; 2014 – Dr. Josephine Pryce, associate professor, School of Social Work; 2015 – Dr. Mary Meares, associate professor of communication studies and graduate program director in the College of Communication and Information Studies.

Past recipients of the Buford Peace Award poising for a photograph.Picture includes some past recipients of the Buford Peace Award: L to R: Dr. John O’Neal, Dr. Bronwen Lichtenstein, Dr. Stephen Black, Dr. Cassandra Simon, Professor Joanne Terrell, and Dr. Norman Baldwin.