Historian Robert V. Remini will deliver the first "Heroes of History" Lecture on May 1, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) announced today.
The new NEH lecture, originally scheduled for mid-February and postponed due to a major snowstorm, will be included in the morning session of "We the People," a White House Forum on American History, Civics, and Service co-sponsored by the U.S. Department of Education, Corporation for National and Community Service, and NEH, with the USA Freedom Corps, to be held at the Smithsonian's National Museum of American History in Washington.
Remini, prize-winning biographer of Andrew Jackson, will speak on "Ordinary Heroes: Founders of Our Republic." The Heroes of History Lecture is part of an NEH initiative called We the People, which is designed to strengthen the teaching, study, and understanding of American history and civics. The lecture will be held annually and carry a $10,000 honorarium. This nationally published lecture by a noted scholar will provide an opportunity for the public to learn about the lives and deeds of our nation's heroes.
"Heroes from all walks of life have shaped our nation throughout its history," says NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "We can keep alive the important principles of our democracy by listening to the compelling stories of Americans whose extraordinary deeds have distinguished themselves and inspired so many others." During the forum's afternoon session, Cole will chair a panel discussion on the role of cultural institutions in promoting history, civics, and service.
In addition to the lecture, the early session of the White House Forum will include the awarding of medals to grand prize winner Morghan Transue, 17, of Kendall Park, N.J., and five finalists in the first "Idea of America" essay contest, which is also part of the Endowment's We the People initiative. Also to be held annually, the essay contest drew more than 1,300 entries from 11th-grade students nationwide.
Under the NEH initiative, which was announced by President Bush in a White House Rose Garden ceremony last September, grant programs will support projects that help schools and universities improve their teaching of American history, government, and civics. The President has requested $25 million in new funding for NEH in FY 2004 to support the Endowment's We the People initiative.
Remini, professor emeritus of history and the humanities at the University of Illinois at Chicago, is currently at work on a narrative history of the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been teaching history for more than 50 years and writing books about American history for nearly as long. In addition to his three-volume biography of Jackson, he is the author of biographies of Henry Clay and Daniel Webster, as well as a dozen other books on Jacksonian America. He was educated at Fordham University (B.S., 1943) and Columbia University (M.A., 1947, Ph.D., 1951).
Among his many honors are the Lyndon Baines Johnson Foundation Award, the Carl Sandburg Award for Nonfiction, the University Scholar Award of the University of Illinois, the American Historical Association's Award for Scholarly Distinction, and the National Book Award. Active in the national history community, Remini has served as a review panel member for the National Endowment for the Humanities since 1974. In 1991, he delivered a Presidential Lecture at the White House.