NEH Awards We the People Project Grants to 21 State Councils

WASHINGTON, (August 31, 2004)

More than $1.2 million to support projects in NEH initiative on American history and culture

The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) today announced that 21 state and territorial humanities councils will receive more than $1.2 million in grants and matching funds for local projects designed to improve the teaching, learning, and understanding of American history and culture as part of the Endowment's We the People initiative. (A complete list of these grants is available in the box.)

"These We the People projects will offer insights to people from all walks of life into subjects that include the Bill of Rights, the Harlem Renaissance, Alaska's quest for statehood, and the history of democracy from Greece to America," said NEH Chairman Bruce Cole. "Our state humanities councils have assembled talented humanities scholars and other experts to encourage program participants and others to deepen their knowledge and understanding of our nation's history and culture."

In September 2002, President George W. Bush announced a new NEH initiative called We the People, which included a call for grant applications to explore significant events and themes in our nation's history. These We the People awards supplement NEH funding distributed each year to support the work of 56 state and territorial humanities councils.

Projects conducted by the state humanities councils include teacher seminars and institutes, public lectures, Chautauqua programs, speakers' bureaus, student essay contests, reading and discussion groups, and media projects for radio and television. For example:

  • In preparation for the 50th anniversary of Alaska's statehood in 2009, the Alaska Humanities Forum will examine "Alaska's March to Statehood" by conducting a teacher's institute to develop a curriculum unit on the history of the state's Constitution and by offering a public lecture series and thematic radio broadcasts on the topic;
  • The Florida Humanities Council will offer teacher institutes, Chautauqua public programs, and an issue of Forum magazine on the Harlem Renaissance and its impact on Florida, American, and African-American culture;
  • The Rhode Island Council for the Humanities will offer a series of activities that explore the principles of "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness," including a grant program, a radio and public television series, and a student poster/essay contest; and
  • The Wyoming Council for the Humanities will hold a teacher institution on "Democracy in Greece and After: From Athens to America," and it will offer a statewide discussion project, "A Wyoming Conversation," in partnership with Wyoming Public Radio.

Earlier this year NEH awarded We the People grants for projects in 35 other state humanities councils (see the above box for the complete list). With the 21 grants announced today, all 56 state humanities councils (including those representing the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories) have received supplemental support for We the People projects. Additional information about the Endowment and its We the People initiative is available on the Internet at

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