Tuesday, January 28, 2014

A Perspective on the Humanities

Collections Management Intern, Maria Galiano Offers Her Perspective on the Importance of Preserving Historical Narratives

By Maria Galiano

A current philosophical debate in the history department raises the question of whether history should solely be taught through facts or through narratives. I say why not both? In stating facts, one must tell a story as a historical background for those facts, and in telling a story, one must state the facts in order to create the legitimacy of the historical narrative.

In order to keep history alive, we preserve it. Just like monuments and museums make tribute to certain people and events, preservation serves as an artifact that truly tells a story.

Many forget that history plays a big role in allowing us to tie the present with the past. The In the Shadow of the Capitol series documents a symposium that celebrates the memories of several intellectual minds of D.C., such as Sterling A. Brown, Owen Dodson, Gloria Oden, Harold Chinn, and Anne Cook Reid. These speakers discuss various topics including segregation in the arts and in education.
From documentary films to oral history collections, the DC Digital Museum celebrates the cultural history of the Washington, D.C. community.

Members of the community can learn a great deal about their society through local history. Being a part of history is impressive, but preserving and celebrating it is imperative.

White Footsteps

The soft, cold white blankets of snow are covering Washington again
As I walk through Logan Circle, I see the footsteps that have been left before me
Some are big. Some are small. Some have been wiped away
And I reminded that I am not alone
There is a community
It is what brings us all to a state of unity
I pause for a second and ask myself,
Why don’t I know more about this beautiful place?
Memorials and buildings are a constant reminder,
A reminder of the history that took place before and after

It’s one of the coldest winters yet,
And I realize that I am in debt…
I owe some time to the story of past and present Washingtonians
I owe some time to this town’s kaleidoscopical history
I owe some time to D.C.’s memory

And so I thank these white footsteps
For reminding me that I cannot be whole
Without including the story of my community,
Without learning much, much more

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Who Needs the Humanities Anyway?

Join us at The Coupe for an exciting Humantini conversation on the future of the Humanities

February 13, 2014

The Coupe
3415 11th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20010

Register for this FREE Program 

This panel discussion will demystify the recent rhetoric on the plight of the humanities. As a result, we hope the program will shift the tone of the conversation from "decline" and "crisis" to one of celebration. In doing so, we will highlight the impact and accomplishments of the Humanities inside and outside the academy.  

The program will feature a lively discussion that expresses varied perspectives on the Humanities disciplines' local and national impact. The panel will feature a Humanities Council grantee, Nafisa Isa, Project Manager for Marketing and Events at Busboys and Poets and Founder of Kahani a cultural salon series in Washington, DC, as well as Esther Mackintosh, a national advocate for the advancement of the public humanities and President of the Federation of State Humanities Councils. 

Join us to engage in this important conversation that is getting major attention from the halls of the Academy to the chambers of Capitol Hill. You may find out that you are already benefiting from the Humanities!

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The Dream That Was Heard

"Free at last! Free at Last!..." Fifty one years ago, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. delivered an empowering speech that echoed from the footsteps of the Lincoln Memorial to around the globe.

By Maria Galiano

The dream of which he spoke seemed to be an unattainable reality for society at the time, but was nevertheless an inspiration to the masses. This upcoming Monday, the country will celebrate Dr. King's life as it observes the Martin Luther King Day holiday.

A special piece that can be found in our DC Digital Museum documents the council's 2008 symposium, "Giving Freedom A World Voice", dedicated to the commemoration of the global legacy of Dr. King. Acquaintances and guest speakers delivered speeches on Dr. King's life. It is almost as if Dr. King's intensity had lingered on to the words of these speakers, as one can see and feel the passion that each speaker is filled with. The 2008 presidential election of President Barack Obama was discussed as being a symbol of the inspiration and influence that Dr. King left behind. Performers of various cultures from local choir members to Cambodian Buddhist dancers were invited to attend this event. What better way to represent Dr. King's global legacy than through the unity of different cultures? "Giving Freedom A World Voice" symbolized the idea of feeling a connection not only within our country, but with the rest of the world as well.

"Thank God almighty we are free at last!"  August 28th marks the day that Dr. King's words served as drop of caffeine that awoke a divided nation. The council's "Giving Freedom A World Voice" film documentary reminds us that Dr. King's life and accomplishments have remained an inspiration worldwide.

Friday, January 10, 2014

Humanities Council Now Accepting Board Member Nominations

An Invitation to Serve, An Opportunity to Connect

Board Chair Bradford Grant distributes grantee awards with
Executive Director, Joy Ford Austin (left).
The Humanities Council of Washington, DC seeks nominations to its Board of Directors. All nominees must be residents of the District of Columbia.  Nominations should be accompanied by: a resume and a letter explaining why the nominee would be a valuable addition to the Board.  Nominees can be recommended or self nominated.

Board Members are appointed for a three-year term, with re-nomination possible for a second term.  Commitments include
Stewardship of this 34 year old organization that provides humanities programs and grants to city residents 
Financial support
A passion for promoting the humanities

Benefits include outstanding opportunities to connect with people across the city who are civically engaged and enjoy participating in the city’s life.

In electing individuals to serve, the Council strives for geographical and ethnic representation, and for balance between academic and public spheres.  From the academic sector, the Board elects teachers, scholars, and educational executives. Public nominees represent a variety of professional backgrounds, including but not limited to business, labor, law, technology, public relations, and cultural and civic organizations.  Board Members serve without compensation.

Please e-mail your information by January 31st to:
Mr. Gregory Jefferson, Chair, Nominations Committee
Humanities Council of Washington, DC
The Humanities Council has a proven track record for sparking civic dialogue and reflection using the humanities disciplines. Centered in our Nation’s Capital, we reach over 250,000 citizens every year, including 17,000 children through our grants and programs,  The Council is an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities; however it is a private, non-profit organization and not a federal or District agency. 

The mission of the Humanities Council is to enrich the quality of life, foster intellectual stimulation, and promote cross-cultural understanding and appreciation of local history in all neighborhoods of the District through humanities programs and grants.  The Humanities Council of Washington, DC transforms lives through the power of the Humanities..