A complicated truth: Milwaukee History

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | May 18, 2017 | By:

Founder's Day Saturday Feb. 25, 2017 for America's Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) event program-Help Heal The Racial Divide In Our City- held at the Milwaukee Public Library Centennial Hall downtown Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Pat A. Robinson photo

America’s Black Holocaust Museum (ABHM) organized the “Help Heal The Racial Divide In Our City” event engaging Milwaukee community leaders in facilitated small-group conversations. Photo by Pat Robinson, courtesy of the Dr. James Cameron Legacy Foundation.

On this day in 1954, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously ruled that segregation of public schools “solely on the basis of race” denies black children “equal educational opportunity.” Thurgood Marshall argued the Brown v. Board of Education case before the Court. He went on to become the first African American appointed to the Supreme Court.

In Wisconsin, just two years later, Vel Phillips became the first African American and first woman elected to Milwaukee’s Common Council. Read More


Free Labor: Working & Living at an Asylum

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | May 4, 2017 | By:

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Emily Rock is curator at the History Museum at the Castle in Appleton, where she manages the artifact collection, coordinates educational programs, and curates exhibits. She is passionate about community building and works to make history come alive with creative approaches to storytelling.

Asylum: Out of the Shadows, open through May 20th at The History Museum at the Castle, is the result of Emily’s and others’ effort tell the story of the Outagamie County Asylum. With this exhibition, the museum ambitiously sought ‘truth and reconciliation’ for past abuses and aimed to personalize the stories of the residents and employees.  We are proud to be a funder of this community exploration as part of our Working Lives Project.
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When friends come together, this is what happens!

Voices from the Field | April 13, 2017 | By:

img_2564-croppedWe believe in the power of face-to-face conversation and we value community. This comes through in our programs, which forward our mission to use history, culture and conversation to strengthen community life. And so when we moved into our new office space last summer, we knew it was a good excuse for a party.

Last week, we welcomed friends new and old to our Regent Street office. Our cozy space was filled with music, food, conversation, and lots of good energy.  Now in our 45th year, WHC ties and friendships are deep and strong.  Thank you to all who were with us!

You may know that federal support for the humanities goes back to the founding of the National Endowment for the Humanities 1965.  You may not know this fun piece of American history that Dena Wortzel, WHC director, shared at our party.  Until the founding of the United States Postal Service in 1792 with the Post Office Act, postal service in countries around the world was created for and used by nations’ elites.  Our founding fathers believed a literate populace was the key to sustaining democratic institutions. They thought the way to achieve this was to circulate newspapers to every American.

After independence from England, the new government created a system of routes and established that all newspapers could be mailed at the same low rate. This set off an explosion of new newspapers from all sorts of political viewpoints. The post office was the main way, sometimes the only way, people got information. From this initial and fundamental structuring of a system to provide access to news and differing viewpoints, our democracy grew.

The WHC takes pride in its 45 year history of partnerships and friendships with people, communities, and organizations around the state. Federal support, and therefore our future, is uncertain.  We are grateful for your support, and all that you do to keep humanities conversations vibrant.

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Thank you for contacting your members of Congress to ask for his or her support for full funding of the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Federal/State Partnership, which funds the Wisconsin Humanities Council. To find your representative, click here.


 

$62,195 in WHC grants awarded in 2017 Listen to WI Life Radio Essays about Work Request for Proposals to the WHC

 


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Big Impact, Many Ripples

Humanities Programs in Focus | March 30, 2017 | By:

WHC programs have impacts that spread

The humanities are about who we are and how we fit together.

There couldn’t be a more important time to talk about why the humanities matter. As we’ve said here beforethe humanities are critical to civic discourse, community building, local identity, regional culture, and democracy.

What is the Wisconsin Humanities Council’s role in this?  If the National Endowment for the Humanities is cut from the Federal budget, as has been proposed, the WHC would longer exist.  If that happens, what will Wisconsin lose?

Or to put it another way, what is the real impact of the public humanities in Wisconsin?  What strikes us most is how, like pebbles skipped across a pond, the community projects we support have many ripples. 

Each WHC grant and every event we hold sets into motion untold numbers of creative ideas and personal connections, crossing through local and regional networks and touching every Wisconsinite. Read More


#SavetheNEH

Voices from the Field | March 15, 2017 | By:

Flag displayed in a museumAn Argument for Maintaining Federal Funding for the Arts & Humanities

This Opinion piece was published on March 8, 2017 in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

by Anne Pryor

It would be a short-sighted mistake by Congress to eliminate or defund the National Endowment for the Arts or the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Communities across Wisconsin are better informed, more cohesive and creatively positioned to market their assets thanks to investments made through grants from the endowments. Both founded in 1965 by Congress, the two endowments support local endeavors generated by community members who want to connect with others on vital issues. They do this by creating exhibits, conducting research, performing, conversing or preserving heritage, and the endowments provide seed money to make this happen. Read More


$62,000 in Grants Awarded in February!

Humanities Programs in Focus | March 2, 2017 | By:

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We’re pleased to award $62,195 in Mini and Major Grants to twelve incredible projects that tackle everything from the Holocaust to Shakespeare. The Wisconsin Humanities Council couldn’t fund these projects without support from the National Endowment of the Humanities. The NEH provides 90% of the funding that enables us to bring great programming, support and services to the state of Wisconsin. Project sponsors match grants in their community with an average of $3 for every $1 we award.

Congratulations to these twelve organizations! These incredible projects tell meaningful stories about Wisconsin and bring communities together to explore important themes. We welcome you to be a part of the story and see these projects and events.

Inspiration starts here!

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Living History: I played a black Civil War veteran

Humanities Programs in Focus, Voices from the Field | February 22, 2017 | By:

Reggie Kellum plays Howard Brooks at Talking Spirits Cemetery Tour 2017The annual “Talking Spirit’s” walking tour produced by the Wisconsin Veterans Museum highlights the local and state history buried in the picturesque Forest Hill Cemetery in Madison. Every year, about 2,000 school children arrive by the busload to walk the grounds with a knowledgeable tour guide. Along the paths, they stop to hear from four people, all actors in period clothing portraying real people. The scripts for these characters are researched by the museum staff and written by a playwright.  They are chosen to reveal often lesser-known  experiences of the Civil War. History comes to life through these real stories and theatrical vignettes.

Howard Brooks was of these characters for the fall 2016 Talking Spirits tour. Read More


Rochelle’s Story: Piecing together family history

Voices from the Field | February 8, 2017 | By:

Photo of Rochelle's mother with her sisters in Missouri.

by Rochelle Fritsch

Stories passed down from grandparent to grandchild often tell stories of identity – who we were – and who we are.

In my case, my grandparents died before I was born. Their absence left a space where identity should have been. Later, my own parents died before my daughter was born.

I realized what had been a space for me was a chasm for my daughter.

With memories being the only source to fill the chasm, I brushed away my brain’s cobwebs and tried to remember bits and clues from decades-old conversations. Soon, the most basic clue emerged: my grandmother’s name. Read More


From the Director: Looking for Leadership

Humanities Programs in Focus | January 25, 2017 | By:

American flag in a fieldIn 2010, Jim Leach, chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities, finished his first year on the job and a 50-state “civility tour.”  Today, when aggressively hyper-partisan politics leave the nation feeling more deeply divided than ever, the idea of a federal agency leader preaching civility can seem weirdly idealistic.  But Leach had spent 30 years in Congress prior to the NEH, which might damage a person’s idealism, but should hopefully add to their realism – at least about what we should ask of the federal government. Read More


Healthy Living in the New Year

Our Working Lives Project | January 12, 2017 | By:

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by Katherine Sanders, PhD

The New Year is a season of promises.  Many of us pledge to make improvements in our lives.  And, of course, many of our promises are about health.  (I’m procrastinating even as I write this – I should be on my way to the gym!)

Your health promises might be like mine, focused on something you know directly impacts your well-being, such as what you eat and how often you move. 

But there is another area of life that also has a direct impact on health – work.  Most of us spend the majority of our waking lives working.  That work experience shapes our mental and physical health.  It either supports or erodes our self-esteem and sense of belonging.  If you’ve worked in an unhealthy work system, you’ve lived this.  It can be a visceral experience.

What most people don’t realize is that we can design work to promote health.  There are decades of research on work’s impact on health.  We know how. So when the WHC invited me to refresh this article from last year, I jumped at the chance.  I’m eager to reach as many people as I can with this message: Work can be healthy for you.  And you deserve healthy work.

It’s been a pleasure to be part of the Shop Talk speaker series.  I’ve enjoyed talking with people from diverse professions and career stages.  What unites us is our interest in creating healthier working lives for ourselves and our colleagues. 

What would 2017 be like for you if one of your resolutions was to increase the health of your working life? Read More