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May 2012

the latest from Suite 603

May 24, 2012

Elvis with fans in Hawaii. Photo by John Titchen, 1961
We Go Jam: Celebrating Our Music, Our Soundscape, Our Hawai'i, an anthology of writing on Hawai'i's musical heritage, will be published this spring by the Hawai'i Council for the Humanities. Click on the image to read the article on the NEH website.
A little history for the summer. Six weeks of patriotic holidays.
Compliance reports are due June 1
Tell your story on the NEH website
Humanities Tennessee reminds us that on June 5-6, the planet Venus will pass between the Earth and the Sun for the last time this century, visible to most people on Earth. Author Andrea Wulf is in Nashville this week to talk about her new book, Chasing Venus: The Race to Measure the Heavens.

A little history for the summer. Six weeks of patriotic holidays.

Riversdale Mansion in Riversdale Park, MD. Riversdale cared for those wounded during the Battle of Bladensburg, the opening engagement in the battle for Washington in August 1814. Photo from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.
Riversdale Mansion in Riversdale Park, MD. Riversdale cared for those wounded during the Battle of Bladensburg, the opening engagement in the battle for Washington in August 1814. Photo from the Maryland-National Capital Park and Planning Commission.

Memorial Day, celebrated May 28th this year, begins six weeks of patriotic celebrations that carry through to the Fourth of July festivities.

Memorial Day began three years after the Civil War ended as a time to decorate the graves of veterans. Also called Decoration Day, it was moved from the beginning of May to the end of May with the thought that, by that time, "flowers would be in bloom all over the country," according to the Veterans Administration website. After World War I, it was expanded to honor all those who have died in any American wars.

This year marks the 58th anniversary of D-Day, the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944, an intense battle that stretched across 50 miles of heavily fortified French beaches and was the beginning of the end of World War II.

June 14th is Flag Day, commemorating the day in 1777 when the Continental Congress authorized the national flag: "Resolved, that the Flag of the thirteen United States shall be thirteen stripes, alternate red and white; that the Union be thirteen stars, white on a blue field, representing a new constellation." The national Flag Day was presidentially proclaimed by Woodrow Wilson in 1916.

The War of 1812 began two hundred years ago when President James Madison sent what became known as his war message to both houses of Congress on June 1, 1812. NEH's EDSITEment website has the text of this message and three lesson plans for grades 9-12 about the context of the War of 1812, and NEH funded the film The War of 1812 which premiered on PBS last fall. The flag that inspired the writing of the poem, The Star Spangled Banner, by Francis Scott Key is displayed at the National Museum of American History.

As the bicentennial of the War of 1812 begins, three councils have thus far devoted support and programming to its commemoration. The New York Council for the Humanities has a wide range of funding and programming opportunities about the War of 1812. It is, in fact, the sole statewide organization supporting commemorations of this war, much of which took place in New York. The importance of the NYCH in the bicentennial commemorations was noted in the New York Times on March 29, 2012. The Maryland Humanities Council's summer Chautauqua season focuses on the War of 1812 and features the historical characters Rosalie Stier Calvert, the mistress of Riversdale and a member of a wealthy Maryland family whose extensive correspondence illuminated life on the Calvert plantation leading up to and during the War of 1812; Francis Scott Key, an American lawyer and amateur poet who wrote the lyrics of The Star Spangled Banner; President James Madison who led the nation into the War of 1812; Mary Pickersgill, who made the flag that flew over Ft. McHenry during the Battle of Baltimore and inspired Key to write The Star Spangled Banner; and British Major General Robert Ross, who routed American troops at the Battle of Bladensburg, burned Washington, and was mortally wounded at North Point on his way to the Battle of Baltimore. The Ohio Humanities Council is encouraging grant "proposals that increase knowledge about Ohio during the War of 1812 and the Civil War."

And then, there's the Fourth of July. Fireworks, hot dogs, the beach, watermelon—and the anniversary of the signing of the Declaration of Independence in 1776. This year marks the nation's 237th Fourth of July. The Star Spangled Banner is always sung on the Fourth of July. Popular for years, it did not become the official National Anthem until 1931.

The history of the establishment of federal and national holidays is a long one. Although Congress can proclaim holidays, those proclamations cover only federal employees and the District of Columbia. States must adopt the holidays individually. Each federal holiday has been selected to honor particular events or sentiments that have contributed to making the United States and its people a nation. The four holidays that first gained national and statewide acceptance were New Year's Day, Independence Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day. The initial federal holiday law was passed in 1870.

Compliance reports are due June 1

Are your council's board meetings open to the public? How many board members does the council have? When were its by-laws last updated? What programs does it provide? What kinds of audiences does it reach?

These are issues dealt with in the annual compliance report each state and jurisdictional humanities council submits. Once approved by the National Council on the Humanities at its July meeting and by the NEH Chairman, it is the compliance report that triggers the next year's general operating support grants.

Tell your story on the NEH website

The Backstory guys, Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, and Peter Onuf, are in one of NEH's featured website stories. Click on the image to read the article. Kerry P. Talbott/ Richmond Times-Dispatch.
The Backstory guys, Ed Ayers, Brian Balogh, and Peter Onuf, are in one of NEH's featured website stories. Click on the image to read the article. Kerry P. Talbott/ Richmond Times-Dispatch.

As we noted in the April 2012 issue of the Federal/State Partnership Working Together e-newsletter, "Councils truly shine on the Federal/State Partnership pages" of the new NEH website.

There are three sections of the FedState pages that couldn't exist without the stories from state humanities councils: the main page, the Featured Projects section, and the In the Field section. Take a look at the stories we have posted and then send us more, along with images*. We update the story on the main page each week.

We have recently added pdfs about this summer's chautauqua festivals, teacher professional development opportunities, and MoMS exhibits to the permanent In the Field lead story, 56 ways to do the Public Humanities.

This week's amazing thread on humanities work in prisons will soon be added to the website and today's conversation about rural programming will be as well. If you have specific stories and images that you would like to have included in these articles, please send them to Meg Ferris.

Check out the council contact page to make sure that we have posted correct information about your council and your board chair as well as the executive bios (send corrections and updates to Kathleen Mitchell), and enjoy reading about the exceptional people who serve and have served as council executives.

*Images must be between 620x370 pixels and 1000x1000

 

FEDERAL/STATE PARTNERSHIP
National Endowment for the Humanities
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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
 
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