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African-American Political History

Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“African American Political History” is a four-week school teacher institute for twenty-five participants, held in Chicago and exploring African-American political history from the nineteenth century to the present. Project director Julieanna Richardson leads an institute that addresses African-American political development through the Civil War era; early twentieth-century black political strategies including civil rights and unionism; World War II and Cold War racial politics; the civil rights movement of the 1950s and 1960s; and the rise of a new generation of black political leaders since. The participants study primary materials, including writings by African-American leaders, documents from Chicago-area archives, and, most centrally, oral histories and contextual materials from The HistoryMakers digital archive and Web site. They also read secondary works by leading scholars and commentators, including Manning Marable, Eric Arnesen, Christopher Benson, Charles Payne, Michael Dawson, Adam Fairclough, Peniel Joseph, and Adolph Reed. Visiting faculty include Bruce Laurie (University of Massachusetts, Amherst), Jacqueline Goldsby (New York University), Cheryl Greenberg (Trinity College), Eric Arnesen (George Washington University), Charles Payne (University of Chicago), Rhonda Williams (Case Western University), Josh Radinsky (University of Illinois, Chicago), Michael Dawson (University of Chicago), Adolph Reed (University of Pennsylvania), Christopher Reed (Roosevelt University), and Christopher Benson (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign). Participants pursue research projects, chosen six weeks before the institute, devise related curricular materials, and present these materials to the institute and to teachers in their home districts. They also receive training in oral history, a “useful [method] for engaging students,” under the direction of the project director and Leon Dash (University of Illinois, Urbana Champaign). The institute is held at the nearby Glessner House in Chicago. 

Dates: July 10–August 5 (4 weeks)
Grantee Institutions: The HistoryMakers
Location: Chicago, IL

About NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes for School Teachers

Each year the NEH’s Division of Education Programs offers teachers opportunities to study a variety of humanities topics in NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. An NEH Summer Seminar for school teachers enables sixteen participants to explore a topic or set of readings with an expert scholar. The core material of the seminar need not relate directly to the school curriculum; the principal goal of the seminar is to engage teachers in the scholarly enterprise and to expand and deepen their understanding of the humanities through reading, discussion, writing, and reflection.

Amount of Award

NEH Summer Scholars are awarded fixed stipends to help cover travel costs, books and other research expenses, and living expenses. Stipend amounts are based on the length of the NEH Summer Seminar or Institute: $2,100 (2 weeks), $2,700 (3 weeks), $3,300 (4 weeks), $3,900 (5 weeks), or $4,500 (6 weeks).


Full-time teachers in American K-12 schools, whether public, charter, independent, or religiously affiliated, as well as home-schooling parents, are eligible to apply to NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes. Americans teaching abroad are also eligible if a majority of the students they teach are American citizens. Librarians and school administrators may also be eligible.

You may request information about as many projects as you like, but you may apply to no more than two NEH Summer Programs (seminars, institutes, or Landmarks workshops) and you may attend only one. Eligibility criteria differ significantly between NEH Summer Seminars and Institutes and NEH Landmarks Workshops.

Please note: Up to two seminar spaces and three institute spaces are available for current graduate students, who intend to pursue careers in K-12 teaching.

How to Apply

For more information and application instructions, please visit the program website listed above.