MHC receives $145,000 grant

from the National Endowment for the Humanities

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For More Information:
Hayden Anderson, Maine Humanities Council, 207-773-5051
December 15, 2015

PORTLAND, Maine – The Maine Humanities Council has been awarded a highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities grant for $145,000 in the new “Humanities in the Public Square” category. The project, A Broad and Sure Foundation: The 14th Amendment in American Life and Imagination, will provide Mainers opportunities to explore ideas and issues connected with the 14th Amendment, in particular three key provisions of citizenship, due process, and equal protection of the law.

The constitutional amendments adopted in the immediate aftermath of the Civil War have been called the basis of America’s second founding, a “broad and sure foundation” providing equality for all before the law. Through the Reconstruction period and beyond, these amendments have fundamentally shaped our ideas of citizenship, equality, and liberty. Taking as its inspiration the 150th anniversary of the passage by Congress of the 14th Amendment–a process led in part by Maine’s William Pitt Fessenden, Chairman of the Joint Committee on Reconstruction–this project will engage audiences across the state with a public forum, speaker series, panel discussions, facilitated reading and discussion groups, curricular materials, and a grants program supporting community organizations such as libraries, historical societies, cultural nonprofits, and schools. Programming will be offered throughout 2016.

“The pressing challenges facing our nation call for dialogue and understanding,” said NEH Chairman William D. Adams. “There is ample evidence that communities across the nation are eager to come together to discuss the critical issues that face them as citizens and neighbors. Using the unique insights of the humanities, these projects address a diverse range of subjects in order to bring new audiences and organizations together.”

“We are incredibly grateful for this grant, and we can’t wait to invite Mainers into the conversation throughout 2016,” said MHC Executive Director Hayden Anderson. “The 14th Amendment expresses ideals that are at the very heart of our democracy, and our understanding of it reflects what we value most highly as Americans. This program will provide terrific opportunities for Mainers to talk with one another about some of the contemporary and historical topics that shape who we are and who we aspire to be.”

About Maine Humanities Council
The Maine Humanities Council is an independent, statewide, nonprofit organization dedicated to helping the people of Maine deepen their understanding of themselves, their communities, and the world. The Council works with volunteer literacy programs, educators, school systems and libraries to promote the power and pleasure of ideas through its programming; the Council also provides grants supporting projects in community history, exhibits, workshops and other areas of study.

Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this press release do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.