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White House Announces the 2000 National Humanities Medalists

Ceremony to be held December 20 at D.A.R. Constitution Hall

WASHINGTON, December 15, 2000--President William J. Clinton and First Lady Hillary Rodham Clinton today announced the 2000 National Humanities Medalists, an award administered by the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH). An award ceremony will be held December 20 at D.A.R. Constitution Hall. The National Humanities Medalists will be honored that evening at a White House dinner.

"The 2000 National Humanities Medalists are distinguished individuals who have made extraordinary contributions to American cultural life and thought," said NEH Chairman William R. Ferris. "Through their powers of creativity and vision, the National Humanities Medalists are helping to preserve, interpret and expand the nation's cultural heritage. Their work represents an invaluable public service."

The 2000 National Humanities Medal recipients are:

  • Robert N. Bellah (Berkeley, Calif.), sociologist of religion and best-selling author
  • Will D. Campbell (Mt. Juliet, Tenn.), civil rights activist and author
  • Judy Crichton (New York, N.Y.), PBS documentary writer, producer and director
  • David C. Driskell (Hyattsville, Md.), curator and scholar of African American art
  • Ernest J. Gaines (Lafayette, La.), writer exploring issues in the American South
  • Herman T. Guerrero (Northern Mariana Islands, U.S. territory), preservationist
  • Quincy Jones (Los Angeles, Calif.), musician, composer, preservationist
  • Barbara Kingsolver (Tucson, Ariz.), writer exploring issues of social responsibility
  • Edmund S. Morgan (New Haven, Conn.), historian of Puritan and American colonial history
  • Toni Morrison (Princeton, N.J.), writer exploring the African American experience
  • Earl Shorris (New York, N.Y.), promoter of humanities education for disadvantaged students
  • Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve (Rapid City, S.D.), writer exploring the Native American experience

Detailed biographies are available as an Adobe Acrobat file in the above box.

The National Humanities Medal honors individuals or groups whose work has deepened the nation's understanding of the humanities, broadened citizens' engagement with the humanities or helped preserve and expand Americans' access to important resources in the humanities. The humanities carry the voices of one generation to the next through history, literature, philosophy, religion, languages, archaeology and related subjects that make up the record of human civilization.

Recipients of the National Humanities Medal are selected by the President of the United States. Annually the National Endowment for the Humanities assists in the selection process by soliciting nominations for the medal from the humanities community. These nominations are first reviewed by the National Council on the Humanities, NEH's presidentially appointed board of advisors. The NEH chairman then selects a list of the most highly qualified candidates, whose names are then forwarded to the White House for final consideration by the President.

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About the National Endowment for the Humanities

Created in 1965 as an independent federal agency, the National Endowment for the Humanities supports research and learning in history, literature, philosophy, and other areas of the humanities by funding selected, peer-reviewed proposals from around the nation. Additional information about the National Endowment for the Humanities and its grant programs is available at: www.neh.gov.

Media Contacts: Office of Communications at (202) 606-8446 or info@neh.gov