Six North Carolinians will be receiving the state's highest civilian honor. The North Carolina Award is being given to a group of people who have made impacts in various fields.

The award was created in 1961 to recognize residents who've contributed to fine arts, literature, public service, and science.

Among this year's recipients is author Philip Gerard. His book Cape Fear Rising documents the 1898 Wilmington Massacre.

"Many of the dead were left on the street deliberately as a warning to others," says Gerard, in reference to the violent coup. "And there were reports that wagonloads of bodies were later dumped into the Cape Fear River. All the dead were black. Nobody ever counted the bodies. And for over a hundred years there was not any investigation into any liability for the killings."

Other honorees include civil rights activist Reverend William Barber, and longtime North Carolina Museum of Art Director Larry Wheeler. Also being recognized is Dr. Catherine Wilfert, for her pioneering work on HIV and AIDS.

The North Carolina Department of Natural and Cultural Resources says the honorees have made the state better by their extraordinary involvement. 

Gov. Roy Cooper will present the award at a banquet and ceremony on November 16 in Raleigh.  

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