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May 2011

the latest from
Suite 603

 


May 24, 2011

Chairman Jim Leach completed his Civility Tour in Hawai'i, speaking at the centennial graduation of the University of Hawai'i at Manoa and at the Hawai'i Book and Music Festival, sponsored by the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities.
Thoughts and concern for those who suffer from this spring's storms
Annual compliance plans are due on June 1
The Mississippi Civil Rights Trail began with the Mississippi Humanities Council
"The Dakota language is written on the landscape of the Twin Cities":The Bdote Memory Map
"… we owe to war so much of our history and our literature. And our history and literature have done so much to enable war": Drew Gilpin Faust's Jefferson Lecture
Public Programs' Tom Phelps, who retires July 30, writes about his work with state humanities councils


♦ Jim Leach has completed his 50-state Civility Tour with a visit to Hawaii, the 50th state, May 14-15

2011-2012 general liability insurance policies

Everything you need is there: Federal/State Partnership website (login fedstate password partnership)
 

Thoughts and concern for those who suffer from this spring's storms

The southeast and east, especially Alabama, the states along the swollen Mississippi, and now Joplin, Missouri.

To those who have lost so much, how can we who have not offer consolation and empathy? There are so many pictures of lives and property uprooted. One cheers when a pet is found, and mourns to see lives and towns and homes devolved to twigs and rubble and when the flood waters seem endless.

State humanities councils know these people. They know the libraries demolished, the museums washed away, and the history uprooted. They also know how to collect and save the stories of the brave and bold people who will be able to tell them.

Those of us in Federal/State Partnership and at the NEH send you our hopes, encouragement, and very deep sorrow.

Annual compliance plans are due on June 1

The compliance plans that each council submits to Federal/State Partnership every June 1 are part of the legislatively required plans that councils provide the NEH Chairman to justify their receipt of federal funds. The completed compliance plans form the basis for the motion voted on by the National Council on the Humanities to grant councils general operating support grants for the upcoming fiscal year 2012.

Submit your compliance plan through the compliance plan website. This website includes instructions for completing the compliance plan and frequently asked questions. Your council's password does not change from year to year. If, by chance, you do not have a record of your password, call or email Federal/State Partnership. The contact information is listed below.

The Mississippi Civil Rights Trail began with the Mississippi Humanities Council



Photo by Daniel Etheridge, Mississippi Development Authority; used with his permission

Photo by Daniel Etheridge, Mississippi Development Authority; used with his permission

This just in from Barbara Carpenter, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council: Just last week, an historical marker was placed in Money, MS, next to the store where Emmett Till's kidnapping and murder began. It was dedicated in conjunction with the 50th anniversary of the Freedom Riders. Emmett Till's cousin, the Rev. Wheeler Parker, gave the benediction and blessed the new Mississppi Civil Rights Trail, of which this marker is part. Parker was with Till when he was abducted.

Till was 14 in 1955 when he was abducted and killed for supposedly flirting with a white woman. From Chicago, he was visiting family in the Mississippi delta.

The Emmett Till project began with an MHC mini grant some years ago to Delta State University, with Luther Brown, MHC's current vice chair, Dr. Henry Outlaw, and Emily Weaver doing an oral history series with local people who were around at the time of the Till kidnapping and murder. This project resulted in an exhibition that has travelled the country. Barbara writes that Luther Brown and Henry Outlaw "'really believe that it was the MHC grant that started the whole thing. Who knows where we would be today if MHC had not supported Henry’s original oral history project. Your support planted the seed … '"

Five more markers will be unveiled this week on the Freedom Trail, the Mississippi Civil Right Trail, but the organizers wanted the marker honoring Emmett Till to be the first because his murder "is widely seen as the 'spark that lit the fuse' of the modern civil rights movement."

You may have heard Luther Brown, the vice chair of MHC, interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered about the 1927 Mississippi River flood (listen).

"The Dakota language is written on the landscape of the Twin Cities":The Bdote Memory Map

If you're in Minnesota's Twin Cities, you are in the bdote "where Haha Tanka (river of the waterfall) or Wakpa Tanka (big river), called the Mississippi River in English, and the Mnisota Wakpa (Minnesota River) come together." This area is central to Dakota spirituality and history. The point where the two rivers come together is the center of the earth.

On June 16, the Minnesota Humanities Center is sponsoring a presentation by Mona M. Smith who is Sisseton-Wahpeton Dakota, a media artist and educator, and the owner of Allies: media/art.Smith has created the Bdote Memory Map, a website that places key sites of Dakota history on the map of the Twin Cities, includes stories and experiences of Dakota people with these sites, and provides teacher materials.

The Minnesota Humanities Center is committed to work with Native American peoples through its partnership with the Minnesota Indian Affairs Council.

 

"… we owe to war so much of our history and our literature. And our history and literature have done so much to enable war": Drew Gilpin Faust's Jefferson Lecture

"War assumes a trajectory towards victory and thus the possibility of its own cessation and conclusion. Like any good story, it offers the promise and gratification that accompany a resolution of the plot."

In her May 2nd Jefferson Lecture, Harvard's president and Civil War historian, Drew Gilpin Faust, discussed the connections between literature and war and explored the ways that commemorations of the Civil War and interpretations of its significance change with the passage of time and experience.

The current issue of Humanities magazine features a conversation between Faust and Jim Leach as well as an appreciation of her written by David W. Blight, "A Historian's Historian."

A video of her lecture, "Telling War Stories: Reflections of a Civil War Historian," can be seen on NEH's new YouTube channel. The text of her lecture is also available for reading.

Public Programs' Tom Phelps, who retires July 30, writes about his work with state humanities councils

Tom Phelps
Tom Phelps
This is not a note of good bye, but a note of farewell to so many state council executives, staff members, and board members with whom I have worked over the last thirty-one years and more. I came to NEH in July 1980 from being deputy director at the Salt Lake City Public Library. My job at NEH was the create Humanities Projects in Libraries and I knew who to turn to for advice: Delmont Oswald and the Utah Endowment who had just supported a series of programs with me at the public library.

My circle of advisors also included the director of the Division of State Programs, Don Gibson, and the directors of several of the state programs and their staff members, because they were already doing humanities programs in libraries. I worked closely with Victor Swenson, Jim Quay, Bruce Fraser, Lorraine Frank, Rob Vaughan, Randy Akers, Anita May—names we all know. They and others gave me the great ideas and sound advice that became the foundation of the national program.

“Let’s Talk About It: Reading and Discussion Programs in Our Nation’s Libraries” was launched from 1982 to 1984 and became the trademark project. State librarians and state council representatives from every state, district, and territory participated. By 1990, reading and discussion programs had reached public audiences at more than 600 libraries in urban, rural and suburban settings throughout the U.S. It would not have been possible without the help of many dedicated state council staff.

The “Let’s Talk About It” project became a model for developing other national projects like film discussion programs, traveling exhibitions, family and youth projects, literacy programs, and civic dialogue. The national launch of all of these projects counted on the advice, counsel, and involvement of those working at the state humanities councils.

We have all heard it said that “all programs are local.” It’s true. To have a national program, there must be local sites. My job, I think, was to listen to those who conducted local programs and to take the best ideas and try to make them national. During my career at the NEH, I have always relied on those who conducted those first successful programs at local sites.

So, this is farewell to those who have given me my career here at NEH, and my hope that I have given something back.

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