Kevin Duffus to Receive the 2013 Harlan Joel Gradin Award for Excellence in the Public Humanities

Kevin Duffus

The North Carolina Humanities Council, a statewide nonprofit and affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, has chosen Kevin Duffus of Raleigh to receive the 2013 Harlan Joel Gradin Award for Excellence in the Public Humanities. The award  will be presented as part of the 2013 John Tyler Caldwell Award for the Humanities celebration in Charlotte in October at the UNC Charlotte Center City.

The Harlan Joel Gradin Award for Excellence in the Public Humanities is presented annually to organizations or individuals in recognition of outstanding, imaginative, and significant work in the state sponsored by the North Carolina Humanities Council that reflects, affirms, and promotes the mission and vision of the Humanities Council.

Since 2004, Duffus has represented the Humanities Council as a member of its Road Scholars Speakers Program. He has presented programs at more than 80 nonprofit organizations across the state spanning 600 miles from Corolla to Andrews and has addressed an estimated 8,000 people.

Duffus is a noted North Carolina author, writer, filmmaker, journalist, and historical researcher. Over the past 15 years he has published four books and produced four award-winning television documentaries on North Carolina maritime history. His research accomplishments and discoveries have garnered national publicity and have contributed new facts and significant knowledge to traditional accounts of North Carolina’s maritime history featuring colonial-era pirates, Outer Banks shipwrecks, southern lighthouses during the Civil War, and the devastating German U-boat attacks off the North Carolina coast in 1942.

With a unique entrepreneurial approach to history, Duffus solved in 2002 what was called “the greatest unsolved mystery of American lighthouse history” and located and identified the 6,000-pound Cape Hatteras Lighthouse Fresnel lens missing since the Civil War, now a featured exhibit at the Graveyard of the Atlantic Museum at Hatteras, NC.

Duffus’s five Road Scholar program topics on North Carolina’s maritime history feature highly-produced multimedia slides, including rare interviews. Following his presentation on World War II off the North Carolina Coast at the Federal Point History Center at Carolina Beach in 2012, Valerie Boggs of Southport wrote, “I never expected it to be so intriguing. I was literally on the edge of my seat for the entire presentation. I laughed, I cried, and I had so many questions to ask. It was like watching a captivating documentary but live.”

Many of the organizations that host Humanities Council programs presented by Duffus book him for return visits. He has presented four consecutive programs for the annual Richard K. Lore Lecture Series for the New Bern Historical Society, and four consecutive programs at the Weymouth Center for the Arts and Humanities at Southern Pines.