Following is a small sample of programs offered by the state humanities councils on race, inequality, Black history, interracial communications, and more. These programs use the humanities to provide historical context, share personal experiences, and build understanding to better foster empathy.
This Land (Oregon Humanities)
Launched in 2017 and recipient of the 2018 Schwartz Prize for outstanding humanities programming, This Land is an online multimedia project that connects stories about land, home, belonging, and identity by Oregon’s communities of color. Using film, words, maps, photos, sounds, and graphics by artists and writers of color, this project sheds light on little-known stories about the fight for place, home, and belonging while building a “broader understanding of how policies and laws shape systems of power and land ownership in Oregon’s past and present.” Visit the site.
Wearing Down the Appalachian Trail – Jim Crow in the Great Outdoors (Virginia Humanities)
Listen to this episode of Virginia Humanities’ With Good Reason’s “Wearing Down the Appalachian Trail” series, which examines the overlooked history of the Appalachian Trail. In “Jim Crow in the Great Outdoors,” Erin Devlin from the University of Mary Washington discusses how long-held American past-times of hiking, camping, and gathering in public spaces has long been fraught. Listen here.
Pandemic & Inequality Conversation (Humanities New York)
In mid-May, as part of Humanities New York’s “Conversations on Your Couch” discussion series, the council hosted “Pandemic & Inequality” to explore how inequality and pandemics feed off each other and whether “the lessons we are learning about justice, fairness, and opportunity outlive the virus.” While the event has passed, the council has curated a selection of fiction that examines these issues. All are available to read or listen to online and are free of charge. Learn more.
Online Event: Angry Black Woman & Well-Intentioned White Girl (Minnesota Humanities Center)
On Tuesday, June 30, join the Minnesota Humanities Center in this live event featuring a performance excerpt of the stage play, “Angry Black Woman & Well-Intentioned White Girl.” The play is written by author and playwright Amoke Kubat and “explores the cultural impact surrounding ‘Minnesota Nice’ and the misunderstanding it can cause in interracial interactions.” Following the play excerpt, the artists will share their experiences from their recent tour and participants will break out into conversation groups to reflect on and grow their intercultural understanding and communications. Learn more.
Laureates Online with John Warner Smith (Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities)
Watch and listen to John Warner Smith read his poem, “Faith of Children, For Louisiana,” which encourages us all to “call upon our child-like faith” in our shared humanity to get us through crises. Smith is the current Louisiana Poet Laureate and first African American man appointed to the position. His poetry draws upon African American history and his personal experiences of growing up and living in the South. Check out Louisiana Endowment for the Humanities’ 64parishes.org to view the full Laureates Online series, which was launched this April during the COVID-19 pandemic. Listen to John Warner Smith here.