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Join NEH in Celebrating Constitution Day on September 17

WASHINGTON (September 16, 2014) — This year the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) will join 25 other partners in celebrating Constitution Day on September 17 by taking part in a daylong program of events taking place around the country focusing on civics education and the role of civics in American life.

These events—which include students taking a “Preamble Challenge,” naturalization ceremonies at iconic sites, a panel in Washington, DC on American civic life, and the start-up of an online resource for civics education—mark the launch of the Civics Renewal Network (CRN), a partnership of 26 nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to raising awareness of civics education and providing free, high-quality classroom materials through civicsrewnewalnetwork.org.

At 12:30 p.m. on September 17, new NEH Chairman William Adams will deliver a keynote address on the subject of humanities and democracy to 49 students from around the country selected by Civics Renewal Network partners to come to Washington, DC, along with their teachers, for a day of civic engagement. Chairman Adams’ address will be livestreamed from the Newseum in Washington, DC at: www.amacad.org/constitutionday  and will follow a panel discussion on “Stewarding America: Institutions and Civic Life”, and a news conference announcing the Civics Renewal Network.

These events will coincide with the launch, on September 17, of the Civics Renewal Network website which draws lesson plans and other resources from the CRN partners, including NEH’s educational website EDSITEment, which provides rich historical background lessons on government and civics. EDSITEment, NEH’s website for K-12 educators, students, and life-long learners offers “the best of the web” through carefully-crafted and reviewed lesson plans, websites, features, and student interactives in major humanities subject areas. On the Civics Renewal Network site, teachers will find EDSITEment materials on the Constitution and Bill of Rights, the Declaration of Independence, the history of the Supreme Court, civil rights, presidential history, among many other subjects, searchable by subject, grade, resource type, standards, and teaching strategy.

Join the National Endowment for the Humanities, EDSITEment, and the Civics Renewal Network virtually on September 17 for the following Constitution Day events:

  • 8:30 a.m. -- “Preamble Challenge” – a social media civics event in which students and schools around the country will join in reading the Preamble to the Constitution. A live-stream of students participating in the Preamble Challenge at Philadelphia’s National Constitution Center will be available at: civicsrewnewalnetwork.org. Tweet and Instagram your “Preamble Challenge:” #ConstitutionDay2014

  • 10:30 a.m. -- News conference announcing the Civics Renewal Network, a partnership of 26 nonprofit, nonpartisan organizations dedicated to raising awareness of civics education and providing free, high-quality classroom materials through civicsrenewalnetwork.org. The news conference will be live-streamed from the Newseum at: www.amacad.org/constitutionday
  • 11:00 a.m. – American Academy of Arts & Sciences panel on “Stewarding America: Institution and Civic Life,” with Norman Ornstein of the American Enterprise Institute for Public Policy Research; Stephen Heintz, president, the Rockefeller Brothers Fund; Patricia Wald, former Chief Judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals, District of Columbia Circuit; former New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein, of News Corp.; and former Rep. Mickey Edwards (R-OK) of the Aspen Institute. The panel discussion will be live-streamed from the Newseum at: www.amacad.org/constitutionday

  • 12:30 p.m. – Keynote address by William Adams who was confirmed in July as the 10th chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities. Chairman Adams will address students and teachers from around the country on topic of humanities and democracy. His remarks will be live-streamed from the Newseum at: www.amacad.org/constitutionday

Created in 1965 with legislation that states “Democracy demands wisdom,” The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has since its founding supported the work of scholars, teachers, documentary makers, museum curators and others engaged in the study of the history and philosophy behind the Constitution and the great traditions of our democracy. In addition to Civics Renewal Network, we invite you to explore other NEH-supported projects on U.S. history, government, and civics this Constitution Day:

EDSITEment-- NEH’s educational website, EDSITEment, offers document-based lessons developed by scholars on American History and Government, as well as a dedicated section focused on teaching the Constitution.

Constitution USA—This NEH-supported four-hour television series introduces viewers to some of today’s major constitutional debates and the fascinating stories of the people they affect every day.

Created Equal – Part of NEH’s Bridging Cultures initiative, the Created Equal site brings together four outstanding NEH-funded documentary films about the history of civil rights in America, spanning the period from the 1830s to the 1960s and highlighting the continued importance of the 13th, 14th, and 15th amendments.

Papers of the Founders—NEH supports research and publication of The Papers of John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, Gouverneur Morris, John Jay, James Madison, John Marshall, Thomas Jefferson, and George Washington. The papers of six of these figures are freely available through Founders Online.

American Experience: The Presidents  -- NEH supported the award-winning web collection of 37 hours of streaming documentaries on nine 20th century American presidents.

Founders’ Constitution – Hailed as “the Oxford English Dictionary of American constitutional history” the five volume NEH-supported print edition is invaluable to all those seeking a deeper understanding of one of our nation’s most important legal documents. The documents included range from the early seventeenth century to the 1830s, from the reflections of philosophers to popular pamphlets, from public debates in ratifying conventions to the private correspondence of the leading political actors of the day.

The Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution & Bill of RightsNEH provides long term support for the Documentary History, considered the world’s foremost collection of primary source materials relating to the ratification process. This landmark work in historical and legal scholarship draws upon thousands of sources to trace the Constitution’s progress through each of the thirteen states’ conventions. A freely accessible version is available at the Center for the Study of the American Constitution.

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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