Monday, January 3, 2011

Ethelbert on the Power of the Humanities

The Poet Offers Advice to The Mayor in the Washington Post

Image Courtesy Howard University
The beginning of a new year is a great time to reevaluate priorities, and the Humanities Council is glad to see that that poet E. Ethelbert Miller, in a Washington Post article last Thursday (page 3), has encouraged Mayor Vincent Gray to put the arts and humanities at the top of the administration's list of remedies for a fractured city. The humanities disciplines have the power to bring people together around shared historical narratives, common appreciation for works of literature, and philosophies that encourage understanding and cooperation.

Miller's three word imperative for the incoming mayor? - “Read a book.” It's advice that all District residents should take to heart. “People can come together around song and dance and celebrate our city's diversity,” Miller says. “As mayor, you should be seen walking around not just with budget reports but with a book of poems or a novel as well.”

Tell us what you think. Can the city government do more to encourage enriching arts and humanities programming in all wards? What role to the humanities play in bringing a culturally and socioeconomically diverse city together?

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