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.
Posts Tagged ‘Wisconsin history’
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
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
Tuesday, April 22 is Earth Day. Wisconsin’s own Gaylord Nelson came up with the idea for Earth Day in 1970, when he was a US Senator. He was born in Clear Lake, a town of about 1,000 people (today) in Polk County.
Clear Lake is a lovely place. On the western border of the state, its regional identity is strongly shaped by the Upper St. Croix Valley. This association honors the geography of the place and ignores map lines. I think it’s good to be reminded that we live on an Earth, not on a map. Read More
A committee of WHC board members reviews mini-grant applications four times every year. Awards are for a maximum of $2,000. The grant process is designed to be accessible for first-time applicants and organizations with few staff. Some of the organizations that receive WHC grants are driven entirely by volunteers. Small grants can have big impacts, thanks to the hard work and imagination of people around the state.
The following four projects exemplify the power of small grants. A total of $6,546 was awarded in the February 2014 round.
We have seven grant rounds every year and when applications come in, we are impressed with the public humanities projects going on around the state. We are proud to be able to support these home-grown ideas with funds from the National Endowment for the Humanities, the State of Wisconsin, and individual donors.
The projects are often innovative, always interesting, and potentially transformational for the communities involved. In February, a total of $43,877 was awarded to five applicants.
The grant program is competitive and applicants put a lot of time and energy into their applications. So we say a big “Congratulations!” to the following organizations:
There are moments when it seems obvious that history is being made. This will go down in history, as they say. Sometimes it’s only in retrospect that we see that particular moments, people, and events were critical.
The humanities help us study the stories, the cultures, the movers and shakers and the ordinary people of our world, and remind us that we are all part of history. History books, however, can never tell the whole story. For most of recorded history, in fact, a whole lot has been missing. Women’s stories, in particular, are still shockingly absent from textbooks currently used in schools.