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January 2012

the latest from
Suite 603

 


January 27, 2012

Robert and Mildred Loving. Photo by Grey Villet, Courtesy of HBO
THE LOVING STORY (Feb. 14 on HBO) is about Robert and Mildred Loving, the couple at the center of the Supreme Court's overturn of laws banning interracial marriage. SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME (Feb. 13 on PBS) challenges the idea that slavery in America ended with the Emancipation Proclamation.
Cleaning up after Irene and Lee
Mass Humanities sponsors "Civility and American Democracy: A National Forum"
Tweeted and Facebooked: council videos
Widening circles

In 2009 the Kentucky Humanities Council presented "Our Lincoln" in the Concert Hall of Washington, DC's Kennedy Center. This year, to honor Lincoln's birthday, Washington's New York Avenue Presbyterian Church, the Lincoln family's church, will perform Alan Gershwin's anthem tribute to Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address, from "Our Lincoln."

Cleaning up after Irene and Lee

Danby/Mr. Tabor Historical Society in Vermont before (top) and after Irene. The day-after shot shows that all that remains is the small bit of decking outside the front door seen in the -before- picture. The rest of the building was sucked under the bridge in the background.
Danby/Mr. Tabor Historical Society in Vermont before (top) and after Irene. The day-after shot shows that all that remains is the small bit of decking outside the front door seen in the “before” picture. The rest of the building was sucked under the bridge in the background.

The New York Council for the Humanities and the Vermont Humanities Council received NEH Chairman's Grants to assist cultural organizations in their states recover from the damage caused by Hurricane Irene and Tropical Storm Lee in August and September 2011.

NYCH made grants of up to $1,000 to help defray salary costs for professional staff members of small cultural institutions for work associated with storm clean-up and recovery.The Council chose this focus for its grants because it recognized that "dedicated staff members of our state’s cultural groups will be working many additional hours in the coming months to oversee the clean-up and in many cases re-opening of their organizations." One of these grants went to the Slate Valley Museum. In December The Post-Star of Glen Falls, NY, published an update on the museum's recovery.

The grants made by the Vermont Humanities Council ranged from $15,000 to $1,749 and were awarded to four institutions. The largest grant was made to the American Precision Museum in Windsor. It sustained extensive damage to the exterior of the building and to a major new landscaping job completed just two weeks before the storm. The grant to the Danby/Mt. Tabor Historical Society was for restoration of a collection of rare books and other property.

Mass Humanities sponsors "Civility and American Democracy: A National Forum"

Moderated by Tom Ashbrook of NPR's "On Point," a group of leading scholars and journalists including Diana Eck, Ellen Goodman, Randall Kennedy, Joe Klein, Jill Lepore, Mark Lilla, Austin Sarat, David L. Smith, John Stauffer, Ilán Stavans and Alan Wolfe will gather at UMass Boston on February 17th for an all day forum to discuss the role civility plays in American democracy and other key issues.

Can't attend in person? "Civility and American Democracy" will be live-streamed at www.centerforcivildiscourse.com. David Tebaldi, Mass Humanities executive director, encourages participation by email, Twitter, and Facebook. Downloads will be available after the event.

 

Tweeted and Facebooked: council videos

Check out these videos: Arizona Humanities Council board member Bruce Meyerson gave a great interview on civil discourse (with a nod to the AHC) and the North Carolina Humanities Council has a video of a road scholar performance called “Fannin’ the Heat Away.” The Kansas Humanities Council funded an oral history project whose participants were in a CBS interview. You'll enjoy watching other KHC-funded short videos. They are part of the KHC's multi-year "Kansans Tell Their Stories" initiative, funded in part by NEH's We the People program.

Widening circles

Circles in council logos. The current Florida Humanities Council logo has stylized the circles from its earlier photo of a drop of water.
Circles in council logos. The current Florida Humanities Council logo has stylized the circles from its earlier photo of a drop of water.
 

On a recent walk around my neighborhood, I met a neighbor for the first time. This college-educated woman, probably in her early thirties, was walking her infant daughter on what was her last day of maternity leave before returning to work in real estate investment.

Washingtonians are notorious for always asking about each other's work. When I told her about mine at the National Endowment for the Humanities and my connection with the 56 state humanities councils, she looked polite but I suspected that she didn't really know what I was talking about. I asked if she knew what the humanities are. She wasn't sure. While that, sadly, didn't surprise me, I was surprised to learn that she also didn't know what nonprofits are.

My new acquaintance did know that the Lymphoma Society accepts contributions, but didn't know that when one makes a contribution that is tax-deductible it is because that gift is made to a specially designated kind of organization. When I told this story to a friend, her response was that, like me, she had never met anyone who didn't know what nonprofits are, "but then maybe it's because of the circles I move in."

We are always concerned that we know how to explain the humanities. Might we also need to be able to place our work in the context of our sectors of the economy and society?

Perhaps a state humanities council's legal organizational designation doesn't matter. Perhaps, though, being engaging about the broad nonprofit world and the richness that it provides to our communities and the investments it makes in our communities is part of the job of enhancing our own visibility, increasing our audiences, and widening our circles. —Kathleen Mitchell


FEDERAL/STATE PARTNERSHIP
National Endowment for the Humanities
1100 Pennsylvania Avenue, NW, Suite 603
Washington, DC 20506
202.606.8254, main number
202.606.8365, fax

Edie Manza, director [ about ]
202.606.8257
Kathleen Mitchell, senior program officer [ about ]
202.606.8302
Meg Ferris, program analyst [ about ]
202.208.7100
Shirley Newman, program assistant [ about ]
202.606.8254

directions to the Federal/State Partnership office

visit www.neh.gov to keep up with the
National Endowment for the Humanities

Federal/State Partnership is the liaison between the National Endowment for the Humanities and the nonprofit network of 56 state and jurisdictional humanities councils