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NEH and ALA award "Let's Talk About It: Making Sense of the Civil War" grants to 65 public, academic, and community college libraries

WASHINGTON (June 7, 2011) — Sixty-five libraries throughout the United States have been awarded grants by The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and the American Library Association (ALA) to host public reading and discussion programs around the Civil War.

In commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” series will engage participants in discussion of a set of common texts that probe the meanings of the Civil War. The selected titles for the series are: March by Geraldine Brooks; Crossroads of Freedom: Antietam by James McPherson; and America’s War: Talking About the Civil War and Emancipation on their 150th Anniversaries, a new Civil War anthology of historical fiction, speeches, diaries, memoirs, biography and short stories, edited by historian Edward L. Ayers and co-published by NEH and ALA.

Each library will receive twenty-five copies of Geraldine Brooks’ and James McPherson’s books and fifty copies of the Civil War anthology, a $3,000 grant from the NEH to support program-related expenses, promotional materials, and training for the library project director at a national workshop.

Participating libraries will plan a five-part series of reading and discussion programs around the chosen texts, to take place between October 2011 and May 2012. A full list of the libraries selected to host the “Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” reading and discussion series is available here (3-page PDF).

“Let’s Talk About It: Making Sense of the American Civil War” is supported by NEH’s We the People initiative, which aims to stimulate and enhance the teaching, study and understanding of American history and culture.

Additional information on the project is available at: www.ala.org/civilwarprograms.

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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: Paula Wasley at (202) 606-8424 or pwasley@neh.gov