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Renaissance in the Black Metropolis: Chicago, 1930s-1950s

Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers

Postmark Deadline: March 1, 2012

“Renaissance in the Black Metropolis: Chicago, 1930s–1950s” consists of two one-week NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops held during summer 2012 for eighty school teachers on the Chicago Black  Renaissance of the 1930s to 1950s. The workshops explore the cultural, social, economic, and political experience of Chicago’s “Black Metropolis” and are led by Chicago Metro History Education Center’s Lisa Oppenheim. NEH Summer Scholars learn about Great Depression Chicago and significant figures such as Margaret Burroughs, Charles White, Langston Hughes, John Johnson, Claude Barnett, Vivian Harsh, and St. Clair Drake. Historian Darlene Clark Hine (Northwestern University) leads off the scholarly program by setting out the context for and significance of the Chicago Black Renaissance. In a session at the Chicago Bee’s former offices, Adam Green (University of Chicago) discusses the role of black journalism in the community.  The South Side Community Art Center provides both site and subject for a lecture by Andrea Barnwell Brownlee (Spelman College Museum of Fine Art), followed by a visit to the DuSable Museum. Co-director Erik Gellman (Roosevelt University) and Lionel Kimble (Chicago State University) address labor and politics, with sites including the former United Packinghouse Workers union office and the Pullman Porters Museum, where participants learn about the predominantly African-American Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters. The end of the week features Jacqueline Goldsby (New York University) on literature, including writers Richard Wright, Lorraine Hansberry, and Gwendolyn Brooks; Davarian Baldwin (Trinity College) on the meaning of Chicago’s music; and an extended afternoon of archival work at the Harsh Collection for AfroAmerican History and Culture.

Dates: Chicago, IL: July 8–14 or 22–28
Grantee Institutions: Erik Gellman, Roosevelt University, and Lisa Oppenheim, Chicago Metro History Education Center
Location: South Side Community Art Center, George Cleveland Hall and Chicago Bee branch libraries, Stockyards Gate, United Packinghouse Workers of America District 1, Supreme Life Insurance and Overton buildings, Victory Monument, Hansberry and Burroughs houses, Metropolitan Community Church, Blues Museum Heaven, DuSable Museum, Vivian Harsh Research Collection, Wabash YMCA, Abraham Lincoln School, Parkway Community House, Michigan Avenue Apartments, Bronzeville Walk of Fame, Eighth Regiment Armory

About NEH Landmarks of American History: Workshops for School Teachers

The National Endowment for the Humanities is an independent grant-making agency of the federal government. As part of the NEH’s We the People program, we offer the following Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops for School Teachers. NEH Landmarks of American History and Culture Workshops provide the opportunity for K-12 educators to engage in intensive study and discussion of important topics in American history and culture. These one-week programs will give participants direct experiences in the interpretation of significant historical and cultural sites and the use of archival and other primary evidence. Landmarks Workshops present the best scholarship on a specific landmark or related cluster of landmarks, enabling participants to gain a sense of the importance of historical places, to make connections between what they learn in the Workshop and what they teach, and to develop enhanced teaching or research materials.

Amount of Award

Teachers selected to participate will receive a stipend of $1,200 at the end of the residential Workshop session. Stipends are intended to help cover living expenses, books, and travel expenses to and from the Workshop location.


These projects are designed principally for classroom teachers and librarians in public, charter, independent, and religiously-affiliated schools, as well as home schooling parents. Other K-12 school personnel, including administrators, substitute teachers, and classroom professionals, are eligible to participate, subject to available space.

Teachers at schools in the United States or its territorial possessions or Americans teaching in foreign schools where at least 50 percent of the students are American nationals are eligible for this program. Applicants must be United States citizens, residents of U.S. jurisdictions, or foreign nationals who have been residing in the United States or its territories for at least the three years immediately preceding the application deadline. Foreign nationals teaching abroad at non-U.S. chartered institutions are not eligible to apply.

Applicants must complete the NEH application and provide all of the information requested to be considered eligible.

New this year: An individual may apply to up to two NEH Summer Programs in any one year (Landmarks Workshops, Summer Seminars, or Summer Institutes), but may participate in only one. Please note that eligibility criteria differ significantly between the Landmarks Workshops and the Seminars and Institutes Programs.

How to Apply

Please e-mail, telephone or send by U.S. Post a request for application information and expanded Workshop descriptions to the Landmarks directors listed here; in many cases, these materials will also be available on project Web sites. You may request information about as many Workshops as you like, and, as noted above, you may apply to up to two programs but participate in only one.