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.
Archive for the ‘Voices from the Field’ Category
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.
We 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.
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.
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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
The 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
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
Here on Humanities Booyah, we curate a mix of voices and ideas. Our interests are eclectic. We are just as interested in hearing from museum directors with tips for reaching out to new audiences as we are in learning about nearly-forgotten Wisconsin authors and their once-famous books.
Our all-time most popular article, however, stands out for being different. “In My Experience: The Work of a Medical Transcriptionist” is a personal story shared with us by a woman named Sue in Menomonee Falls. We had just launched our Working Lives Project when Sue contacted us in response to hearing our director, Dena Wortzel, challenge us to reflect on the unseen work — and workers — all around us. Sue knew too well what being unseen can mean. Read More
Contemplating the fate of forgotten Pulitzer winners got us thinking about the power of cultural institutions to determine what continues to have currency. And what sinks from view. They say our attention spans are getting even shorter. Who among today’s writers and thinkers will be remembered? And what role do we have in building or maintaining their legacy?
We’re glad that this year, thanks to the respect still accorded Pulitzer and its prize winners, we are being prodded to read some authors whose reputations have lasted. We are also challenged to consider some who have been set aside. Do these works stand up to modern standards? If we take the time to read their descriptions of eras past, what might we learn about the world we live in? Read More
What does it all mean?
Wisconsin can claim many Pulitzer Prize-winning writers and artists. While not all of their names are well-known, Thornton Wilder’s certainly is. He was born in Madison and is probably best known for the play Our Town. But before he wrote Our Town, he won a Pulitzer Prize for the novel The Bridge of San Luis Rey in 1928. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Or even read it?
The Bridge of San Luis Rey has been called a moral fable. Someone who narrowly escapes a tragedy asks the ultimate questions of existence: Why them? Why not me? Was this an accident? Or are we all actors in a divine play?
These enduring questions are for us each to ponder as our lives unfold. Exploring them is the essence of the humanities. As ambassadors for this type of reflection, and because we love to talk books, we asked a friend and former board member if he’d like to review The Bridge of San Luis Rey. We bet he’ll make you want to read and enjoy the book, as he did! Read More
What are you reading?
That is a common question around the WHC office, and one that leads to fascinating conversation. We all have different tastes, which means we get a glimpse into other worlds by hearing what others are reading.
As is now tradition, we are sharing our Staff Summer Reading Picks. We would love to hear from you! What are you reading? Read More