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Between 2008 and 2012, institutions and individuals in Tennessee received $8.8 million from the National Endowment for the Humanities and Humanities Tennessee for projects that explore the human endeavor and preserve our cultural heritage.

Below are some examples.

  • With two grants totaling more than $554,000, the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, worked on two volumes of a projected 17-volume scholarly edition of the Papers of Andrew Jackson. Current scholarship covers Old Hickory’s years in the White House beginning in 1829.
  • A 21-year-old exhibit in Memphis at the National Civil Rights Museum and the Lorraine Motel, where Martin Luther King Jr. was assassinated, will give way to a renovation and a new exhibit with the help of a $352,000 grant.
  • Humanities Tennessee has developed a web-based guide to the Unicoi Turnpike Trail, a section of what has been called the Native American “Interstate Highway,” in use for more than a thousand years before Europeans arrived in North America. This and related projects were supported with a $111,000 grant.
  • Two hundred forty schoolteachers have attended one-week workshops on the Age of Jackson at the Hermitage, the seventh president’s home, studying the Southern economy, Indian relations, and domestic culture from 1800 to 1861. Workshops were run by faculty from Middle Tennessee State and supported by grants totaling more than $440,000.
  • Katherine Osburn received a fellowship to support her research on the history of Choctaw Indians in Mississippi and their surprising resilience as they survived Indian removal to become sharecroppers and eventually rebuild their tribe. 
  • The Hunter Museum of American Art in Chattanooga specializes in art depicting social themes and daily life. With a $39,000 grant, it is using digital technology to interpret a series of key paintings in light of their historical and cultural contexts.
  • The American philosopher John Rawls died in 2002, most noted for his 1971 book A Theory of Justice. David Reidy of the University of Tennessee at Knoxville is writing a biography of Rawls with the help of a $50,400 grant.
  • The Center for Southern Folklore in Memphis received a $210,000 Save America’s Treasures grant to preserve and archive the Rev. L. O. Taylor Collection of 7,500 photographs, 30,000 feet of film, and 100 vinyl records documenting the music and church life of the African-American community in Memphis from the 1920s to the 1950s.
  • One hundred thousand pages of historic newspapers such as the Knoxville Whig and the Memphis Daily Appeal from 1836 to 1922 are being digitized by the University of Tennessee with the support of a $325,000 grant. This work is part of Chronicling America, which NEH is conducting through a partnership with the Library of Congress.
  • Libraries in Memphis, Clarksville, Chatanooga, and Morrristown, through Humanities Tennessee, are hosting “Making Sense of the Civil War,” a five-part, scholar-led reading and discussion series developed by NEH.