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NEH in the News

Selected articles on NEH-supported projects.
Posted: May 23, 2017 Remembering John F. Kennedy And His Legacy
Huff Post

In addition to remembering Kennedy’s accomplishments and legacy in these areas and others, we both have our own more personal memories of JFK. Frank Islam’s are recent. Ed Crego’s date back much earlier.

Frank has been a board member of the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts since 2013. He remembers walking into the Center for his first board meeting: and reading the following words of President Kennedy etched there:

I look forward to an America which will reward achievement in the arts as we reward achievement in business or statecraft. I look forward to an America which will steadily raise the standards of artistic accomplishment and which will steadily enlarge cultural opportunities for all of our citizens. And I look forward to an America which commands respect throughout the world not only for its strength but for its civilization as well.

Frank vowed then to help continue to move America forward through the arts. He renewed that commitment in 2017 when the role of the Kennedy Center as a protector and promoter of the arts and artists became even more important with the potential elimination of funding for those organizations such as the National Endowment for the Arts and the National Endowment for the Humanities from the federal budget.

As millions of youth in the ‘60’s, Ed Crego was inspired by JFK and his call to “… ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.”

Posted: May 23, 2017 Documentary creating archive of West Virginians in Vietnam War
Charleston Gazette-Mail

WVPB has told the story of West Virginians in wartime in a previous documentary, “West Virginians at War,” which included Vietnam.

But the occasion of the new Burns’ series and the companion WVPB documentary offered a chance to dig deeper into West Virginians’ role in the war, Higgins said.

“This was an opportune time, when the entire nation was going to be watching a Vietnam series, that we tell our own story,” she said. “Not only do we tell it and share it, but that we archive it.”

Higgins’ fellow documentarian Barbour noted past WVPB documentaries have featured material from the state archives. But the Vietnam series offered a chance to gather a fuller picture in the archives of the war’s impact on West Virginians.

“We realized between the two organizations we just don’t have that much that really shows West Virginians specifically in Vietnam in that theater of war,” he said. “This is a good opportunity to ask for help.”

The documentary, partly funded with a grant from the West Virginia Humanities Council through the National Endowment for the Humanities, focuses on five West Virginia soldiers from Chesapeake, Buckhannon, Kaiser, Bunker Hill and Morgantown.

Posted: May 23, 2017 Adams Out at NEH - Humanities leaders had hoped to see William D. Adams, an Obama appointee, finish his term. The agency is among several targeted for elimination by the White House.
Inside Higher Ed

The National Endowment for the Humanities announced Monday the resignation of Chairman William D. Adams, effective today.  Adams was an Obama appointee, but the position is among those in the executive branch in which terms can go past a change in administration. His four-year term wouldn't have been up until 2018.

Advocates for the humanities said they were sorry to see him go no matter the timing. His departure, though, comes at a time when federal support for the arts and humanities is subject to renewed threat from the Trump administration and some Republicans in Congress. The White House is expected to release a 2018 budget proposal today that will call for eliminating funding for the NEH as well as the National Endowment for the Arts.

Posted: May 22, 2017 NEH Chairman William D. Adams Announces Resignation
National Endowment for the Humanities

William D. Adams, the tenth chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, announced today his resignation from the agency, effective Tuesday, May 23, 2017.

Adams was nominated by President Barack Obama in April 2014 and was confirmed by the United States Senate three months later. His service to NEH followed 14 years as president of Colby College in Waterville, Maine.

In a brief statement to staff, Adams expressed his gratitude for the opportunity to serve as the chairman of NEH and his admiration for the work of the agency. “Leading this important organization has been one of the most exciting and gratifying experiences of my life,” he said. “I’m especially appreciative of the excellent and dedicated staff of the agency, who taught me so much about the importance of the humanities and the innovative and meaningful work that is going on at NEH and across the country.”

Posted: May 22, 2017 Confederate flag to be featured at Louisiana museum opening
Hannibal Courier-Post

A highly anticipated exhibit will help the Louisiana Area Historical Museum kick off its silver anniversary season May 27.

A preserved Confederate battle flag, once owned by a Civil War soldier from Pike County, will go on permanent display along the south wall of the museum’s main room. The “First Flag of the Confederacy” will be featured with a 33-star U.S. flag from the same era.

Museum Board President Judy Schmidt, who took the reins from Martha Sue Smith after Smith’s quarter-century of service, spent three years researching the flag’s history and taking steps to keep it intact for further generations.

“The museum is dedicated to preserving and displaying all artifacts, especially those with a local connection, so that historically significant relics can be studied and enjoyed by our visitors,” she said. “The flag and its accompanying exhibits tell the story of a young man’s four years of service, and how the conflict affected his life and life in Northeast Missouri.”

The Confederacy used the first flag until 1863, when the more commonly recognized St. Andrew’s Cross pattern featuring stars and bars was adopted. In battle, the original sometimes caused confusion because it looked too much like a Union pennon.

Minor brought the cotton flag home with him to Pike County after the war. It was taken off its staff and hung upside down, a sign of distress or surrender.

Minor passed along his own recollections of military service in a Louisiana newspaper article on Aug. 4, 1931, three years before he died.

A grant from the Missouri Humanities Council in cooperation with the National Endowment for the Humanities, as well as local donations, paid for the work.

Posted: May 22, 2017 National Endowment for the Humanities chairman announces resignation
The Hill

The chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) is resigning effective Tuesday — the same day the Trump administration will roll out a federal budget blueprint expected to make big cuts to domestic programs.

William Adams, who has chaired the NEH since 2014, announced his resignation in a statement on Monday. Deputy Chairwoman Margaret Plympton will take over as acting chairwoman after his departure.


“Leading this important organization has been one of the most exciting and gratifying experiences of my life,” Adams, the former president of Colby College, said. “I’m especially appreciative of the excellent and dedicated staff of the agency, who taught me so much about the importance of the humanities and the innovative and meaningful work that is going on at NEH and across the country.

Posted: May 19, 2017 Humanities Grant Boosts Integration of HUA and STEM

Humanities and STEM—two great areas of education that go great together. WPI has long championed the humanities and arts (HUA) as an integral part of WPI’s distinctive approach to undergraduate education. And the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) agrees: it’s a good idea.

The organization has selected WPI, along with 17 other schools across the U.S., for a Humanities Connections Grant. WPI will receive a $100,000 grant to establish an Urban Humanities Teaching Cluster to build upon the Institute’s strong foundation.

The award will allow WPI to offer an integrated set of courses that push students to think about urban challenges as more than simply technical problems. With half the world’s population now living in cities and with the population of 21 cities now exceeding 10 million, the study of cities is more important than ever.

Posted: May 19, 2017 Readfield student, educator seek friends, relatives of 2nd Lt. Carl Alexander
MaineToday Media

This Memorial Day, high school student Madison Taylor will be researching the life of 2nd Lt. Carl Alexander, an American service member who is memorialized at the Normandy American Cemetery, according to a news release from John Taylor, museum assistant, National History Day in Maine State Coordinator, Margaret Chase Smith Library.

Taylor, and educator Shane Gower, are charged with telling the untold story of Alexander as part of the Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute.

Those who knew Second Lieutenant Carl Alexander, or his family are asked to email Gower at

The Normandy: Sacrifice for Freedom Albert H. Small Student & Teacher Institute was created by Albert H. Small, a veteran himself, to help a new generation of young people understand the sacrifice made by Americans in WWII. The institute pays for students to undertake a rigorous study of the Normandy D-Day landings and takes teams to France where they walk in the footsteps of their Silent Heroes.

About National History Day: NHD is a nonprofit education organization in College Park, Md. Established in 1974, NHD offers year-long academic programs that engage over half a million middle- and high-school students around the world annually in conducting original research on historical topics of interest. These research-based projects are entered into contests at the local and affiliate levels, May 2, where the top student projects have the opportunity to advance to the National Contest at the University of Maryland at College Park. NHD also seeks to improve the quality of history education by providing professional development opportunities and curriculum materials for educators. NHD is sponsored in part by HISTORY®, Jostens, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the National Park Service, Southwest Airlines, the Joe Weider Foundation, and the WEM 2000 Foundation of the Dorsey & Whitney Foundation.

Posted: May 19, 2017 Who Is Tom Nugent On 'The Keepers'? The Investigative Journalist Is A Key Player

Netflix's latest true crime project The Keepers borrows a little from the success of Making a Murderer and a little from the success of 2016 Oscar-winner Spotlight to make a compelling series about a nun who was mysteriously murdered nearly 50 years ago. It promises a deep dive into the 1969 murder of Sister Cathy Ann Cesnik — who taught high school English and drama in Baltimore before her gruesome death — and the people close to the case. So who is Tom Nugent on The Keepers? He's a key player in the investigation.

Nugent is an investigative journalist who's been writing about Sister Cathy's murder since 1994, most notably in his sprawling Baltimore Sun City Paper investigative report "Who Killed Sister Cathy?" Since then, he's been writing updates on the case via his personal news blog, Inside Baltimore. Nugent has also written investigative features for Mother Jones, Chicago Tribune, and Washington Post, as well as other pieces for The New York Times, Boston Globe, The Nation, MIT Technology Review, and Stanford University Magazine. He published a nonfiction book in 1973 titled Death at Buffalo Creek about a coal mining disaster in West Virginia, which earned him a Pulitzer Prize nomination and a $12,000 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellowship. Needless to say, Nugent's journalism chops make him a perfect asset for a Netflix docuseries like this one.

Posted: May 19, 2017 José Andrés
PR Newswire

Named one of Time's "100 Most Influential People" and "Outstanding Chef" by the James Beard Foundation, José Andrés is an internationally-recognized culinary innovator, author, educator, television personality, humanitarian and chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup. His avant-garde minibar by José Andrés earned two Michelin stars in 2016 and with that, José is the only chef globally that has both a two-star Michelin restaurant and four Bib Gourmands. Andrés' work has earned numerous awards including the 2015 National Humanities Medal, one of 12 distinguished recipients of the award from the National Endowment for the Humanities. And during the next three years he will be working with Interaceituna and the European Union to be the "Have an Olive Day" ambassador to promote the values of the European Olives in his country of residence.